Weekend Reads: New Star Wars Trilogy, Tarantino’s Star Trek, Online Harassment & more

Also: Baby Driver’s success, London’s best restaurant(?), irrational math, 404 errors, and political disengagement and upheaval.
Star Wars Logo

Rian Johnson is planning a new Star Wars trilogy, so what’s he thinking? “For Johnson, Star Wars simply has a fundamental power to it. ‘[It] comes from being tied to myth and tied to the stuff that really matters inside all of us,’ he explained. This sounds cheesy when you say it out loud, but it’s really true. This is the stuff that really has punch, story-wise.’ ”

Quentin Tarantino’s come up with an R-rated Star Trek pitch. “That rating was crucially important to Tarantino, who hopes to direct this Star Trek and who has helmed R rated films his entire career. Imagine how this could open storytelling lanes, or even what the banter on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise might be, if you conjure up memories of the conversations between Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, or the banter at the diner between robbers before the heist gone wrong that triggered the action in Reservoir Dogs.” I’m intrigued but this could go wrong in so many ways.

Baby Driver - Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright talks about the massive success of Baby Driver. “ I had the first inkling of the idea in 1995 but I think the first time I actually said it aloud to Nira Park and Eric Fellner, my producers, was 10 years ago,’ says Wright. After Hot Fuzz came out, I was about to sign a two-picture deal with Working Title and they said, “What ideas have you got?” And I said, “I really want to do an action car chase movie that is completely powered by music, so it’s almost like an action-musical.“ ‘”

This guy turned the shed in his backyard into London’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor. “And then, one day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation, and society’s willingness to believe absolute bullshit, maybe a fake restaurant is possible? Maybe it’s exactly the kind of place that could be a hit? In that moment, it became my mission. With the help of fake reviews, mystique and nonsense, I was going to do it: turn my shed into London’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.”

(Roman MagerPublic Domain)

Even a perfectly rational field like mathematics can occasionally stop making sense. “Math has always been about the pursuit of understanding the world through logic and expressing it in a strictly defined, mathematical language. It is really indicative, educative, and fun, to observe mathematics when it stopped (momentarily) making sense.” Featured examples include the discovery of irrational numbers, Zeno’s paradoxes, and the Möbius strip.

A website’s 404 error is annoying, but it also says something about the web’s nature. “That the 404 should have crossover appeal seems fitting. It is near-universal and inherently emotional: pure disappointment, the announcement of an unanticipated problem. It’s also a reminder that technology, and the web in particular, is made by humans, and therefore fallible.”

iPhone User
(Priscilla Du Preez)

You may never want to post anything online ever again after reading this harrowing story of online harassment. “Courtney had come to see the internet as a danger to which the people around her were oblivious. Nobody’s safe,’ she says. If you’re on the internet, you’re pretty much a target.’ ” It’s a long read, but well worth it considering how much we post online, and how blasé we are about it.

In light of Roy Moore, Joe Carter has a suggestion for new political engagement moving forward. “Convictional inaction refuses to support any political candidate, organization, or party that advocates for or turns a blind eye to gross immorality and injustice. Every Christian in America would refuse to vote for any candidate — regardless of political party — who supports such gross injustices as abortion or who covers up immorality, including sexual assault.”

Women's March
(Jerry Kiesewetter)

Michael Wear argues that Democrats would do well to regain the trust of religious voters. “Democrats’ political vision for America needs to include a vision for how religious Americans with deep convictions can thrive in it. If it does not, Democrats will lose more often than we should, and even when we win, the social costs will be great. Democrats cannot be a functional governing party and either ignore religious conservatives (or any other significant community), or cast them as enemies who must be overcome.”

David Brooks speaks the harsh truth: the GOP is rotting and betraying everything it ever stood for. “The Republican Party is doing harm to every cause it purports to serve. If Republicans accept Roy Moore as a United States senator, they may, for a couple years, have one more vote for a justice or a tax cut, but they will have made their party loathsome for an entire generation.”

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