All My Stars (20)

By: Joanne McNeil
May 19, 2016


One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.


I can’t count how many times I have listened to Mike Wallace interview Rod Serling. I watched this video a few times, then I saved it as a podcast. Serling was so much more political than he is now given credit for — listen to him here discuss how much the murder of Emmitt Till moved him, absurd network censorship and audience reactions, his disgust with stove manufacturers fighting to exclude mention of “gas” in the Playhouse 90 episode “Judgment at Nuremberg” because they “did not want that awful association made between what was the horror and the misery of Nazi Germany with the nice chrome wonderfully antiseptically clean beautiful kitchen appliances that they were selling. Now this is an example of sponsor interference which is so beyond logic and which is so beyond taste—this I rebel against.”


Here is the transcript if you prefer to read. But I love his voice — how well spoken and completely untroubled he sounds. I will never in my life speak with that confidence. I will never not sound ridiculous ending a sentence “this I rebel against.” And part of the reason I listen is I hope some of that skill speaking in complete, decisive sentences in an interview will rub off on me (instead, I can just barely communicate without a “like” or “um” every three minutes.)


Twilight Zone episodes sometimes had a labor analysis and progressive politics. An episode in the first season, “The Big Tall Wish,” had an all-black principal cast. In 1960. This interview reveals his vision and the ideals he was willing to fight for, and what an achievement. Five seasons, 156 episodes and he wrote most of them (a total of 92 scripts in five years.)


I don’t watch many comedy specials, but was intrigued when I saw a picture of Ali Wong at the top of my Netflix recommendations. She is hilarious and spirited with jokes about Texas Instruments graphing calculators and Lean In and she performed while seven months pregnant. Another favorite: Joanne the Scammer. I love sharing a name with this one. The “messy bitch who lives for drama.” (This is the face someone makes when they are up to no good on the internet.) A lot of us have encountered an odd roommate, an over the top scammer — in my case it was many years ago, a sweet girl who “grew up in the same town as Joanna Newsome” and loved to talk about that town and how much it was like the Gilmore Girls. And a few months later, left the apartment in a whirlwind, bills unpaid, having stolen credit cards, and perhaps led some kind of phishing outfit — so peculiar and brazen. Joanne the Scammer exaggerates what is already a ridiculous way of moving through the world.


There is more news on the way, but for now I’ll share just this: I leave New York in two weeks. I’m traveling for a bit and then I’m moving to the west coast. If you are around and would like to meet up, please get in touch.



CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators