Also in the news: Irvine Welsh on the state of masculinity, and a look back at the historic precedent for prequels. It’s your Daily Blunt!
You’d think something as important as the skeleton of one of the most famous Romantic poets wouldn’t be so hard to keep track of, but here we are: a lead coffin containing the remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge has been “rediscovered” in a wine cellar in St. Michael’s church, almost directly below the area where commemorative plaques greet those paying homage to the great writer. Don’t expect to be able to visit Coleridge and his family (also interred) as the church scrambles to design a more suitable resting place – the vicar has stated that “From a safety point of view it would be quite impossible to bring members of the public down here.”
The term “toxic masculinity” was not in the popular lexicon back when Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting was released, but as Esquire points out, characters like Begbie completely encapsulate the idea. In their interview with Welsh, the author discusses the changes on the horizon for men as well as women, due to movements like #MeToo and what he sees as the decline of capitalist society. “The patriarchy’s been fucking shit for men, too,” he says with characteristic frankness. “They’ve been fucking blown to bits and shot at and they’ve worked in factories and mills and building sites and died young.”
Are prequels ruining all the stories we treasure? The magazine N+1 takes a closer look, tracing this phenomenon all the way back to Virgil and Homer. “The practice was not limited to the Greek mythical tradition,” they add. “In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Ruth represents a prequel to the stories of King David, which establishes that an ancestor of the greatest Israelite king came from a hated foreign nation.” So while the prequels we’ve been dealt in more recent times definitely stink of crass consumerism, there’s certainly nothing new about the phenomenon. In fact, they’re what you might call “canon.”
The AV Club’s recurring column When Romance Met Comedy traces the cultural roots of the rom-com to surprising places, revealing how these films comment on broader culture, and vice versa. In the crosshairs today is 2011’s “Something Borrowed,” adapted from Emily Giffin’s bestselling novel – though you’d be hard-pressed to say whether any of Giffin’s literary flourishes made it to the screen. Regardless of the story it means to tell, the film becomes “an unintentional tragedy about a bland man destroying a lifelong friendship,” teaching a lesson that rom-com producers would do well to remember: writing is everything.