To say that Future is rap’s strangest young male star right now might not be saying all that much. As music sales of all kinds dissipate into the aether, it seems to be making the dwindling number of big record companies more and more conservative, content to approach a promising weirdo like Young Thug only when there’s already popularity for the leveraging—especially since certain potential signees, having gained a cult from one hot mixtape, question the necessity of any major-label deal at all.

Reared on Outkast, Future came by his idiosyncrasy organically (older cousin Rico Wade was part of Atlanta’s original Dungeon Family). His experimentation takes an accessible form, emotive and rousing. The most prominent technique is frequent but deliberate use of Auto-Tune: his raspy singing-rapping keeps drifting in and out of impossible computer-enhanced focus. In the music video for fiancée Ciara’s life-affirming “Body Party,” a song Future co-wrote, he comes on like the love interest from some ‘90s teen movie, or an android replacement who just discovered human feelings: “They don’t call me the Future for no REAson.”

When the historians of Punjab next gather to write the history of that proud people, they will have to include a new warrior king in the annals: Anthony Bourdain. After all, when Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series kicked off its newest season with a visit to the North Indian state, it united the Punjabi diaspora like few things before it.

I may be exaggerating, but by less than you might imagine. Bourdain’s show created an unmistakable buzz amongst Punjabis in North America. Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp conversations lit up in pre-show anticipation and post-show analysis. And could you blame us? Instead of the usual generic vision of India, here, finally, was Punjab itself: its rural roads, its Golden Temple, its boisterous sounds, its dhaba roadside restaurants.

13. It feels somehow improper to eat Easter-branded candy corn, but the wrongness of candy corn is innate and fundamental.

12. “Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted and eaten during the Easter period in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and some other countries.” It’s that time of year again, thought the thin-lipped British pervert. I get to eat double the marzipan!

11. The existence of chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs must be delayed compensation on the part of that kid who always wanted to make s’mores at camp.

The Ford Mustang was once as iconic as it was affordable—a triumph of strength over luxury. Now, celebrating its 50th anniversary with sales in decline, it’s worth wondering if the era of the zeitgeist-capturing automobile is over for good.

Beyond a certain level of empyrean Beyoncé-scaled fame, pop stars are often obliged to field dumb questions from some media institution or another—especially in a music market like this one, where the #2 American album last week sold a record-low 30,000 copies, or 0.0001% of the U.S. population. So it was that Kelis had the opportunity to politely shade a New York Times Magazine reporter with responses like, “I’ve been doing music since 1998, so obviously longevity is not an issue for me,” or, “I don’t know what Paul Newman’s situation is, but I make sauce” (she started producing a whole line).

|| Pub-Bar El Avion in Costa Rica, and former deputy-director of the National Security Council Oliver North

The complex web of deceit that was the Iran-Contra affair is now mostly forgotten, subsumed by Ronald Reagan’s reputation as a conservative hero. But the CIA’s interference in Nicaragua is impossible to ignore, even if the remnants of it whither away.

New John Jeremiah Sullivan alert, y’all: in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, “on the trail of the phantom women who changed American music and then vanished without a trace.”

If Jesus were alive today and hanging out in upscale neighbourhoods, people would probably call the cops on him.

“This really isn’t a book to celebrate, is it?” At the National PostMark Medley talks to Miriam Toews about her new bookAll My Puny Sorrows, and the painful place from which it came.

The Expendables 3 will conclude that trilogy where aging male action stars creak their way towards enormous guns this August, and last week both a trailer and 16 character posters appeared online. Amongst the latter, next to Sylvester Stallone’s usual team of unusually heroic mercenaries, there was an improbable Kelsey Grammer, hands jammed in his fishing vest like his nearest Florida casino had just booked Steely Dan. But only Hazlitt exclusively received a leaked Expendables 3 screenplay, and we’re excerpting it below.

Near the end of 2013’s The Unknown KnownErrol Morris’s 90-minute exercise in vexation with Donald Rumsfeld, the Oscar-winning documentarian asks the former secretary of defense the simplest question of the film: “Why are you doing this?” In what might be the closest thing to a straight answer Rumsfeld gives, he smirks a mildly frustrated smirk—at this point in the movie, Rumsfeld has flashed grins so fulsome and relentless that you can start picking out their subtle flavours, like a bullshit sommelier—and says, “Oh, that’s a vicious question. I don’t know.”

It’s certainly possible that’s true: the movie is nothing if not a portrait of a man who is, at least publicly, resolutely incapable of self-examination. Watching him, though, it’s patently evident that Rumsfeld loves the game, loves to skip and jump and swing through an interrogator’s questions, hanging on phrasings and wading through minutiae. The game is probably that much more fun for Rumsfeld because he is always convinced he’s winning.

Oh my god, to be Jackie Collins for like, one SECOND.

“A quick scan of De Niro’s career in the ’00s reveals a swamp of bad comedy, tedious drama, and continually lowered expectations.” The A.V. Club looks at 21 actors primed for a revival or reinvention. 

The Simpsons are sad to see David Letterman go.

||Kurt Cobain and Chad Channing (right). From the e-book Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989. Photo by Bruce Pavitt.

I was 14. The Berlin Wall was a dam that had broken three years before, and was well on its way to becoming eBay merchandise. The Western world was steadily flooding the Eastern world with all kinds of garbage: McDonald’s,...

When the daughter of late manga godhead Osamu Tezuka announced last week that she’d managed to open his long-locked desk, the discoveries included ephemera (a half-eaten chocolate bar), critical writing (an essay about Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo), and, perhaps most curiously, various sketches, several of which depicted a curvaceous mouse lady lounging seductively. This last detail delighted certain elements of the comics internet, although the stunned prurience of some reports was kind of silly: Tezuka might be best known for characters like Astro Boy, Japan’s Walt Disney and Jack Kirby combined, but his style and audiences changed over his career; the avuncular master also produced the lurid ’70s thriller MW.

If the funny-animals trope has been used throughout cartooning history to simplify, interpolate and transfigure, then lust defines the medium too, even when it was necessarily sublimated beyond the sleaziest outlets. And what would be a more suitable way to illustrate that than counting down the sexiest anthropomorphic characters in comics history?

This Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, which, if played correctly, is an excellent opportunity to write about what Kurt Cobain meant to you. Here are some tips to guide you on your path to Nirvana thinkpiece nirvana.

One of the most annoying, if not exactly vexing, problems of fiction is that made-up worlds don’t wear caprice quite as well as the real one. Our tendency to order randomness and chance into just-so stories is something like an inviolable law in the land of make-believe—a hitch we have to expend energy to get over when that long-lost love just happens to bump into our protagonist at a very opportune time, or when a shooter ices one of the main characters in a courtroom.

This sort of hiccup goes double when it’s a random occurrence that exists outside the bendable rules of the fake world as we understand them: the appearance of an old flame would probably actually work quite well in the world of CBS’s The Good Wife, but as Margaret Lyons at Vulture suggests, Will Gardner’s last call a couple weeks ago was especially jarring because it’s not the kind of show we were conditioned to think we were watching—that is, the kind that wouldn’t abruptly kill off its male lead in a shocking act of violence. It’s doubly capricious.

Good morning! The worst is yet to come.

“The notion that black America’s long bloody journey was accomplished through frequent alliance with the United States is an assailant’s-eye view of history.” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ latest entry in his debate with New York’s Jonathan Chait is a tough one to follow.

What happens inside a boxer’s brain over the course of a career?

How John Updike turned everything in his life to his advantage in fiction.

Yesterday, we published a list of the funnest people in American history to coincide with the release of John Beckman’s American Fun. However, being that Hazlitt is a Canadian operation, we are nothing if not strict adherents of Can-Con policies. So here, in the spirit of fairness and Great White Northern pride, are ten of the funnest people in Canadian history. These fun guys and girls, like their American homologues, broke down social and political barriers with a combination of revolt and revelry. And yes, we know that “funnest” isn’t a word. Back off.

When Norwegian dance producer Terje Olsen releases his debut LP It’s Album Time on April 8, you’ll find most of the original tracks with which he’s gained a wider audience recently, sounding like a miniature fleet of spaceships taking off. In keeping with that gleefully ridiculous album cover, there’s a certain louche lounge atmosphere, as if he recorded it exclusively at European Union beach resorts.

For the preceding decade, however, under monikers like Pitbullterje or, as he’s mostly known now, Todd Terje (a reference to the house music legend), he captivated Soundcloud-swapping obsessives by releasing numerous remixes and edits, from Earth, Wind & Fire to Alicia Keys. Terje mastered an element that’s been central to dance edits ever since Tom Moulton pioneered the practice for the earliest discotheques: extending the running time to new dimensions, dropping strings or voices from the mix and then bringing them back again, so that a groove might distend bodies through time. And since he’s put out little but original productions for the past few years, here is a wistful primer of favourite Terje jams, borrowed and self-made.

At a Black History Month lecture last month, goaded by a question about the potentially “positive” consequences of gentrification, Brooklyn native Spike Lee launched into a hilarious but poignant attack on the gentrification of black communities in New York. Why,” Lee asked, “does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed-Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better?”

Despite his concerns about the allocation of city resources to poor neighbourhoods and the lack of affordable housing for black families, Lee seemed almost equally concerned about the banality of his new neighbours. “My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father.” He went on: “[H]e doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!”

Pages