I have a new essay of film criticism in the latest issue of Postscript Magazine. In it, I examine Spring Breakers as a film that does or doesn’t interrogate whiteness, and how that ambiguity is too costly in light of the white American inability to see whiteness onscreen. You can read it here.
I have a new blog on Lunch Ticket that I am very proud of. I talk about my experience with therapy and how I wish for every person, especially men, to seek help. You can read it here.
I have a new review in the latest issue of Newfound. In it, I look at Jason Diamond’s book The Sprawl: Reconsidering the Weird American Suburbs in conversation with the 2017 film Suburbicon. You can read the review here, and better yet, you can read the entire issue.
Diamond’s The Sprawl is available through Coffee House Press.
I had a number of things published in the past few days around the web:
For the Lunch Ticket blog, I wrote about what it means to sit alone in my room listening to music and how it connected me to the wider world. You can read it here.
For Issue IV of Variety Pack, I wrote a review essay about some books that have helped me learn how to grieve in a nation that does not grieve well. I considered Marion Winik’s The Big Book of the Dead, alongside Camus’ The Plague, Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped, and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.
For The Adroit Journal, I reviewed Melissa Valentine’s wonderful memoir The Names of All the Flowers, which has stayed with me since I read it last July.
Thanks to all of you who choose to read.
I have a new essay, “Once Again, the Western” published in New Critique. In it, I consider Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and how Quentin Tarantino, who once made a movie about Nazi-hunting, cannot face the Nazis of today because he shares in their anxiety.
This essay is the third in my series of what I refer to as Western Expansions, in which I consider the half-life of the Western film genre. The first, “No True West,” was published in Bridge Eight Press, and the second, “The Lone Star,” was published in No Contact Mag. Both can be found in Published Work.
I realized I forgot to post this here, and I wanted to include it for anyone out there who may be reading but does not follow me on social media. In 2013, I began to blog about my favorite albums of the year right here. I’ve done it every year since.
At the start of a new decade, I decided to take it offline, to resist the ease of technology and create more spaces to connect with people in real life. This year, the only way to read about my favorite albums is through a physical zine, with roughly 400 words per 15 albums. I Still Hear You: A Listener’s Guide to 2020 is the most intimate writing on music I’ve done to this point.
If you would like a copy, I have asked for a donation to Texas Jail Project, an organization committed to honoring the humanity of incarcerated persons. You can send me your donation through Venmo (@benjamintaylor) with your address as the comment. I will send 100% of your donation along to TJP and the zine to your home.
Here is my playlist of the songs that saw me through 2020.
I prioritize spooky reads in October for obvious reasons, although I never get through as many as I’d like. Still, the books in this list (with one non-spooky interruption) were worthy of reading during the most haunted month of the year.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about my experiences in education, and the emotional weight of trying to access the feelings of this year kept me from making the effort. But for the Lunch Ticket blog, I wrote about what the pandemic has been like for teachers and students in Texas. It was difficult to reflect on a moment when it feels like education is low on the priority list, but I feel some small relief in sharing it with others who have related. Hopefully our elected officials will start making calls that work against this crisis, and for the sake of each other. You can read it here.
For Issue 13 of No Contact Mag, I wrote about the Texan fear—and my sustained hope—of “turning into” California and how Westerns prove there’s less space between the two than Texas and John Wayne might like. I’m thrilled to be in this magazine, which you can read here.
“The Lone Star” was previously shortlisted for The Forge Literary Magazine‘s Flash Competition. Their encouragement gave me the final push I needed to find this essay a home.