This week: the stories behind two viral videos and the eternal joy of sneering at Ayn Rand.
- Nathan Rabin continues his series on notorious flops (I linked to his essay on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip a few weeks ago) with a look at Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, and he doesn’t mince words. It is awesome.
- Personally, I can’t get into Jenny Slate’s droll “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” videos (aren’t they just a series of absurd “short” jokes delivered in a wavering little voice?), but Sean—and seemingly everyone else I know in New York—loves them, so what the hell: The Awl provides a behind-the-scenes look that makes me wish I liked the whiny little thing more.
- I’m more enamored with the deadpan “sword dancing” video Max Read covers on Gawker. Seriously, the composition of the shot is mesmerizing. Plus, a corgi! Plus, the athletic, stoic blonde featured reminds me a bit of one of my cousins, and I’m particular susceptible to that kind of sappiness at this time of year. (I love you, Maggie! We need to get you a sword!)
- Linda Holmes has been one of favorite TV writers for years (she was one of the writers at Television Without Pity during its glory days), and her essay on the latest developments on How I Met Your Mother is lovely.
- I hadn’t thought about it before, but xkcd’s pithy take on Christmas pop songs is absolutely dead on.