El Chapo Speaks

Sean Penn :

I take no pride in keeping secrets that may be perceived as protecting criminals, nor do I have any gloating arrogance at posing for selfies with unknowing security men. But I’m in my rhythm. Everything I say to everyone must be true. As true as it is compartmentalized. The trust that El Chapo had extended to us was not to be fucked with. This will be the first interview El Chapo had ever granted outside an interrogation room, leaving me no precedent by which to measure the hazards. I’d seen plenty of video and graphic photography of those beheaded, exploded, dismembered or bullet-riddled innocents, activists, courageous journalists and cartel enemies alike. I was highly aware of committed DEA and other law-enforcement officers and soldiers, both Mexican and American, who had lost their lives executing the policies of the War on Drugs. The families decimated, and institutions corrupted.

• • •

Still, today, there are little boys in Sinaloa who draw play-money pesos, whose fathers and grandfathers before them harvested the only product they’d ever known to morph those play pesos into real dollars. They wonder at our outrage as we, our children, friends, neighbors, bosses, banks, brothers and sisters finance the whole damn thing. Without a paradigm shift, understanding the economics and illness of addiction, parents in Mexico and the U.S. will increasingly risk replacing that standard parting question to their teens off for a social evening – from “Where are you going tonight?” to “Where are you dying tonight?”

El Chapo? It won’t be long, I’m sure, before the Sinaloa cartel’s next shipment into the United States is the man himself.

→ Rolling Stone

Marlon On Marlon… The Brando Tapes

Stevan Riley, the director of Listen To Me Marlon :

When Marlon was talking about acting, he’d say that your brain is your enemy. The first thing you must do is shut off your brain and just focus on feeling. It was about accessing emotions from the past for the character, which according to the method would involve you delving into your own past as well. Then, once you’d accessed the character emotionally, you’d bring your brain back in and figure out all the character’s mannerisms. The small details about what they eat, whether they’ve got fluff on their jumper they pick off on a regular basis – just tiny details you could stack, stack, stack so that they were there in your subconscious mind and you could then ditch them when the director said “Action!”

→ The Guardian

What It Takes to Pursue an NFL Dream

It sort of looks like a drama, but this heavily produced documentary is for real :

“Going from setting an NFL record and thinking that the sky’s the limit, and then slowly watching the walls close in on you…was the first time in my life when I feel like I let myself down,” Bell says in this sobering portrait documentary by the filmmaker Lance Oppenheim. Still, he is determined to find his way back to the NFL—football is the only kind of life he knows. “I wouldn’t even know how to go out and apply for a job today,” he says. “My resume was easy, you come to the game on Saturday, Friday, or Sunday, and you watch me play. And that’s my resume, it’s been my resume my whole life.”

→ The Atlantic

The Passion Of Nicki Minaj


There’s nothing new about female artists struggling with issues of power and control, but we’re far today from the 1990s, when Queen Latifah proclaimed ‘‘every time I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho/Trying to make a sister feel low/You know all that gots to go.’’ ‘‘Bitch,’’ in music, used to be an insult, a sneer, and it still can be. But female empowerment is a trend, and the word has been reclaimed — by Minaj, in many a track; by Rihanna, in ‘‘Bitch Better Have My Money’’; and triumphantly by Madonna, in her recent track ‘‘Bitch, I’m Madonna.’’ This is good for business and either good for women or not good for women at all.

In another era, Minaj’s sexuality, expressed semi-parodically — pretending she’s a Barbie doll; glorifying women dressed as prostitutes and set in red-light-district windows — might have given feminists pause. But in the 2010s, we have entered a different world in pop culture, one in which sexual repression is perceived as burdensome and perhaps even an inability to holistically integrate the body and self. Young people are identifying and exploring formerly unknown, or at least unlabeled, frontiers of sexuality and gender. And the fact that Minaj is in charge of her own objectification (describing her vagina with more words than I thought existed, and then amplifying its power by rhyming those words), as well as her own monetization (overt product placement in videos is a hallmark) has led most feminist voices to applaud her.

→ The New York Times Magazine