That Racist Cookie Jar From Master of None Is Real and It’s for Sale All Over the Internet

In Master of None’s fourth episode, Dev (Aziz Ansari) goes on a series of awkward and entertaining first dates with different women, including one, Christine (Lauren Miller), with whom he makes it all the way back to the bedroom. Everything is going great until she asks Dev to grab a condom from the jar on the dresser—at which point Dev turns over and finds himself looking into the eyes of …

The jar in which Christine keeps her condoms is a ceramic caricature of a rotund, black-skinned woman wearing a bonnet and apron, her hands on her hips. Dev is visibly startled, but his hesitation lasts only a moment as he goes ahead and pops off the jar’s lid, pulls out a condom, and gets down to business. Afterward, he points out to Christine, who is white, that the jar is kind of racist, and she’s shocked.


“You can’t use that shade of black to depict African-American people!”

“No one else has ever been offended by it.”

When Dev asks whether any black people have ever seen the jar, a gift from one of her friends, she responds, “I haven’t had any African-American guests.” She is genuinely surprised that this jar would be considered offensive—not to mention incredulous that Dev had sex with her despite thinking she’s a bigot. When she kicks him out of her apartment, he suggests that maybe she show it to a black person sometime and gauge their reaction.

The jar, which hilariously is accompanied by an ominous gong every time it shows up onscreen, is a point of contention that shows that Christine and Dev, despite some chemistry, are not a match after all. But this gift she received from a friend is also an example of a very real phenomenon: The collection of “vintage” racist memorabilia. Christine’s condom jar is a clear-cut example of a “Mammy” figure, a caricature of African-American women that dates from around the Civil War and was particularly prominent through the Jim crow era. “Mammies” are depicted as desexualized, hefty women with extremely dark skin and devoted domestic workers who care for white families–think the original Aunt Jemima or Hattie McDaniel’s character in Gone With the Wind (who is literally just called “Mammy”).

Caricatures likes these are blatantly offensive, but, when immortalized in porcelain like the jar on Christine’s dresser, they’re also worth quite a pretty penny. In the twenty-first century, there’s a thriving online marketplace for “antique” Mammy collectibles, which are available on Etsy, eBay, Ruby Lane, and more. And jars in the style of Christine’s seem to be a favorite.

In addition to Mammy jars, there are also piggy banks, dolls, and even salt and pepper shakers floating around out there, with some selling for upwards of a thousand dollars. A fascinating 2016 piece in the New York Times about these kinds of objects shows that some of them are actually collected by people of color. As for what should be done with these items in general, some argue that they should be destroyed, while others think they should be reclaimed by black collectors or preserved for educational purposes. There are even entire institutions dedicated to their conservation, like Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, which collects “objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice.”

So, while Christine definitely needs to reconsider where she houses her condoms, Dev might have had better luck persuading his paramour by quoting the great Indiana Jones: “That belongs in a museum!”


Leslie Jones Will Host the 2017 BET Awards

Comedian, Saturday Night Live cast member, and Olympics mega-fan Leslie Jones will be hosting the 2017 BET Awards, Billboard reports. It’s Jones’ first major awards show gig, and, although she isn’t quite in American flag jumpsuit territory, she’s still pretty excited:

Jones has good reason to be thrilled, as she explained in a statement. “BET was the first network and place where I was on TV—I am looking to turn this whole experience into a joyful homecoming,” she said. Last year’s show was hosted by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, but the overtly political tone made a bigger impression than the hosts. From a great performance of “Freedom” by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to a fiery speech from Jesse Williams, the show’s highlights were all in tune with the political moment—and that was before Trump and his band of white nationalists made their way to the White House. This year, anything’s possible, from the guests or from Jones herself—joyful homecoming or no, it seems likely she’ll at least break out her Donald Trump impression. We’ll find out for sure on June 25, when the BET Awards will be broadcast live from Los Angeles.


The First Trailer for Netflix’s Animated Castlevania Series Imagines Netflix on Nintendo

The first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming animated series based on the Castlevania video games was released Wednesday, and it is definitely an animated series based on Castlevania video games. Beyond that, the trailer gives little more than a glimpse of the show: a vampire rising from a coffin, Simon Belmont’s whip, a castle vaguely resembling the map from the original 1986 video game, and no explanation whatsoever for the title “Castlevania.” Is it a castle named after an Eastern European country? An Eastern European country named after a castle? A Dracula—or group of Draculas—named after both a castle and a country? The trailer has no information about this crucial question.

What it does have, though, is a pretty credible mock-up of Netflix as it might look if it ran on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and on the basis of the trailer alone, this seems like an avenue Netflix should pursue post-haste. Kevin Spacey’s performance as Frank Underwood on House of Cards might seem unsubtle on an HDTV, but convert it to 8-bit NES graphics and title it HOUSE-OF-CARDS and suddenly the nuances shine through—at least judging from still images. Sadly, the only video we get to see rendered in NES graphics is part of the trailer for Castlevania, which ends up looking like static. As for the non-Nintendoed footage from the show, if Netflix’s Castlevania is going to be, as producer Adi Shankar promised, “R-rated as fuck,” “in the vein of Game of Thrones,” “the best fucking video game adaptation we’ve had to date,” or “America’s first animated series for adults,” those facts are not yet in evidence.

Netflix’s series arrives in July. In the meantime, here’s a slightly more brightly colored 8-bit Castlevania:


Logan Is So Good That Its Honest Trailer Had to Recruit the Most Sarcastic Superhero Alive for Backup

It’s hard to find anything to dislike about Logan, James Mangold’s excellent X-Men western that toys with the very idea of what a superhero movie should be. Even the Honest Trailer for the film heaps praise on its performances, especially Jackman as an aging Wolverine fighting “new villains” like coughing fits, alcoholism, depression, and Mel Gibson-style facial hair. It’s so good that it “makes the last 17 years of X-Men movies look meh by comparison.”

But in an effort to find something mockable in Manigold’s masterpiece, Screen Junkies turned to another Marvel star for backup: Ryan Reynolds, in character as Deadpool, who can surely find something to get snarky about. But don’t expect him to feel threatened by another R-rated superhero—not only does he think the movie is worthy of an Oscar nomination, he has his own ideas for a Logan-inspired Deadpool sequel.


In the Official Trailer for Game of Thrones Season 7, the End Is Coming

After brief teases, we finally have our first full look at Game of Thrones’ seventh season. The official trailer feels especially doom-and-gloomy (yes, even for this show), as the HBO epic approaches its long-awaited climax. Season 7 will consist of an abbreviated seven episodes, before the eighth and final installment premieres next year.

It’s all about preparation for the final battle to come: Cersei (Lena Headey) gathering her army for the coming challengers, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) hitching his wagon to Sansa (Sophie Turner) as his “last hope,” and Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) surprisingly returning to action after having been banished. Then there’s Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), ready to assume the throne she has sought since the series’ beginning: “I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms,” she asserts. “And I will.” As the trailer fades to black, we hear an ominous official declaration: “The Great War is here.”

Theories are already spreading with this short glimpse of what lies ahead—there’s a Littlefinger-Jon Snow (Kit Harington) interaction here which is piquing interest, as well as the fact that Arya appears to have made it North to reunite with her siblings—but we’ll be obsessing over these new episodes and their many intricate details before long. Until then, let this trailer serve as a reminder that no matter how things shake out, exactly, it’s unlikely that they will end well for most of these characters. (Then again, depending on how much HBO cashes in, we may not be saying a final goodbye to a number of them.)

Game of Thrones returns for Season 7 on July 16.


The First Inside Look at The Last Jedi Reveals Laura Dern’s Character and the Galaxy’s One Percent

Star Wars fans felt a disturbance in the Force on Wednesday when Vanity Fair dropped a sprawling cover story preview of The Last Jedi, complete with portraits and details about new characters and insights from the cast and crew. In between the war stories from filming and the sweet anecdotes about the late Carrie Fisher, what stood out most from the piece was just how much leeway director Rian Johnson has been given to put his own spin on the franchise. Johnson, whose previous films include Brick and Looper, explained that while his screenplay drafts were subject to review by Lucasfilm’s story group, he otherwise had near carte blanche to shape the plot and create new characters and locations. Not bad for a director who had previously never directed a film with a budget over $30 million.

One of Johnson’s inventions is a character played by Kelly Marie Tran, who we met at Star Wars Celebration, but Vanity Fair also gives us our very first look at two more: One is the character played by Benicio del Toro, referred to as “DJ” by the filmmakers, although he goes nameless in the film itself. (Apparently, we’ll have to wait until The Last Jedi comes out for an explanation.) Given that he’s described as a “shady character” with unclear allegiances, it’s probably safe to assume he’s some kind of bounty hunter or smuggler.

We also got our first glimpse of Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, “a prominent officer in the Resistance.”

She’s giving off strong Effie Trinket vibes—which seems fitting, given that another of Johnson’s additions is a casino city called Canto Bight, “a Star Wars Monte Carlo-type environment, a little James Bond-ish, a little To Catch a Thief” with some styles that definitely wouldn’t look out of place in The Hunger Games.

Johnson told Vanity Fair that “it was an interesting challenge, portraying luxury and wealth in this universe.” That in itself is a pretty major reveal: We don’t often get to see how the upper crust lives in the Star Wars movies—outside of opulent lifestyles of politicians and royalty, that is—so it’ll be an interesting change to get to know the galaxy’s 1%, who Johnson calls “rich assholes.” What exactly brings our heroes into their midst, we’ll just have to wait and see.

You can also check out behind-the-scenes footage from Vanity Fair‘s Star Wars shoot, here:


Seth Meyers Sees the Trump Swamp Overflowing, Not Exactly Draining

Seth Meyers took time on Tuesday night to check in on one of President Trump’s signature campaign promises, which has perhaps gotten lost amid the healthcare fiasco, unbelievable gaffes, and swirling evidence of potential treason: drain the swamp. Unfortunately for supporters who actually believed the then-Republican candidate when he vowed to remove lobbyists and special interests from Washington D.C., it didn’t take long for Meyers to conclude that Trump hasn’t exactly followed through.

The Late Night host mostly focused on an executive order ban on lobbying, which the Trump Administration has touted as evidence of swamp-draining. Meyers, however, wasn’t so sure. “At least nine people who worked on Trump’s transition have already registered as lobbyists because of loopholes in the ban,” he explained, “meaning they can now cash in privately for whatever work they did for the government—the exact thing Trump promised to avoid.”

And of course, if Trump were really invested in this problem, according to Meyers, there would be an easy wasy to address it—like, say, expanding the definition of lobbyists to include “consultants,” many of whom are swimming in Trump’s orbit. But, again, there’s no evidence of even intended action from the president on that front. “As usual, Trump’s insistence on changing the way Washington works is overhyped,” Meyers said. “Mainly just empty promises.” Indeed, that seems to be the Trump MO.


A New Genius Salad From the Chef Who Started the Kale Salad Craze

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

Before I convince you to make this hot-off-the-presses genius salad, I need you to remember that we used to think kale salad was weird.

Now you can buy bags of Sweet Kale salad pre-mixed with broccoli and dried cranberries at Costco, and even fast food restaurants have gotten in on the game.

But back in October 2007, Melissa Clark was introducing the concept to many for the first time in The New York Times: “If a chef dares to offer something as unappealing as, say, a raw kale salad, chances are it’s fantastic,” she wrote in an article titled “If It Sounds Bad, It’s Got to Be Good.” This article was all about the curious, addictive raw kale salad at Franny’s in Brooklyn (also published in Saveur the same month), which seems to mark the launch point for kale salad to catapult into the food trend hall of fame.

And now Joshua McFadden—the chef who created that recipe, simply because he was fed up with the sad salad greens available in winter months—has a brilliant, vegetable-charged cookbook out called Six Seasons. And wouldn’t you know it: There’s another salad in the book that sounds like it just should not be. I didn’t even want to try it, but knew I had to. And it’s incredibly delicious. I’d even call it addictive.

It’s a tossed salad, with a layer of cheese melted right on top like nachos. Sounds dicey, right?

Here’s why it works so well: The greens are radicchio and arugula, a hardy mix of bitter and crisp, and are only broiled for a minute, just long enough to melt the cheese. So the pile just warms through and softens a bit but still tastes fresh and resilient, the wine vinegar and oil dressing subtly concentrating. (Even if the only arugula you can find is a box of the baby leaves, instead of the full-grown kind shown here, the radicchio more than holds up its end, structurally speaking.)

You end up with a wild interplay of textures—slick curling leaves, some relaxed and some still-springy, topped with a modest layer of softly melted cheese, then cracked toasted hazelnuts and streaks of sticky saba (or balsamic). The flavors are wild, too: Every forkful has swings of bitter on tangy on funky on salty on nutty on sweet.

The tension between all these forces is what keeps you diving back in, just like in McFadden’s first, fateful kale salad. I can’t wait to see where this hot little number takes us.

Joshua McFadden’s Bitter Greens Salad with Melted Cheese
Serves 6

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large head radicchio (3/4 pound), cored and coarsely shredded
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 1/4 pound Crucolo, provolone, Taleggio, or Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped lightly toasted hazelnuts
  • Saba or balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

See the full recipe on Food52.

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Chris Cornell’s Voice Transcended Generations

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Teens from the ’90s got a raw deal: We never settled into the idea that our heroes were built to last. The death of Kurt Cobain was a shock. Losing Tupac really hurt. We still feel the loss of Big and Pun. River Phoenix, Kristen Pfaff, Andy Wood, Eazy-E, and Jeff Buckley seem frozen in eternal youth. Layne Staley and Scott Weiland deserved more time. Loss is the only human experience that doesn’t get easier through repetition. You fall off a bike enough times, and you figure out how to keep your ass on the seat while you pedal. You lose a friend, a family member, or a beloved performer, and it hurts freshly and differently every time. The loss of Seattle singer and Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell last week stings because he was a master of his craft who made vital, inspirational art. He helped his audience make sense of loneliness and depression. He deserved the same peace.

There is perhaps no generation better suited to understanding the fearful sociopolitical climate that drove Cornell and his peers toward nihilism than the current one. The same mix of powerful, damaging government ineptitude, ill-advised overseas conflict, and glaring hometown inequality broils now that did then. The same explosion of youth anger pushing bodies into the streets for protests this year also provided animus for records like Pearl Jam’s Ten, Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff, and Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger.

Soundgarden had the distinction of being one of the first Seattle bands to cut a record for Sub Pop Records, the hometown start-up that played midwife to the birth of “grunge” as a commercial phenomenon. Their early successes energized younger, lesser-known local bands that would carry the music on to national renown. They were a little older than the Pearl Jam and Nirvana guys, and they always seemed a little better suited for fame, or at least, a little less openly intractable. They didn’t balk or brood when they got the Rolling Stone cover. The writer seemed surprised by their lightheartedness.

Soundgarden was an unconventional band that mixed the punishing gravitas of metal with punk’s prideful ragged edges, a dusting of psychedelia, and prog-rock pomp. (There aren’t many bands that have drawn comparisons to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles in the same breath.) And Chris Cornell was an unconventional front man: On sight, he was a long-haired, steely-blue-eyed vision of rock godhood. On record, he displayed a snarling sense of humor about the business of being one of his era’s emergent rock sex symbols. 1989’s Louder Than Love included “Full on Kevin’s Mom” and “Big Dumb Sex,” piss-takes that poked holes in a culture of machismo of which Cornell seemed to the uninitiated to be a perfect physical embodiment. There was always more to Chris than appearances might suggest, and his records bore this out in glorious detail.

Soundgarden had a knack for expressing bad moods in the most apocalyptic terms possible. It made them instantly relatable to teens and 20-somethings damaged in the shift from Reagan and Bush’s crime-riddled ’80s to the wobbly prosperity of the Clinton years. Chris Cornell was a poet who knew darkness. It wasn’t always his own darkness; sometimes the words to a Soundgarden song were just the singer’s attempt to cut through the brutal music underfoot. What else can you say back to the guttural sludge of “Mailman” but “I know I’m headed for the bottom, but I’m riding you all the way”?

Still, Cornell stands out as a poignant voice giving eloquence to feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and decay: “Holy water’s rusting me.” “Give me little bits of more than I can take.” “When the whole thing comes crashing down don’t ask me why.” In spite of Soundgarden’s signature gruesomeness, Cornell’s songs also harbored a hopeful edge, one that makes news of his apparent suicide all the more heartbreaking. “Fell on Black Days,” a song about slipping into a rough patch that suddenly feels like “doing time,” ends with a verse about the value of personal freedom (“Don’t you lock up something that you wanted to see fly”) and an optimistic refrain of “I sure don’t mind a change.” “The Day I Tried to Live” is a yarn about “about trying to step out of being patterned and closed off and reclusive,” a person stumbling out of hopelessness beaming with quiet contentment: “I learned that I was alive.”

Cornell was an evocative writer who resonated even when he wasn’t trying. We always pay great singers the strange compliment that we’d gladly listen to them perform the telephone book, that their voices are arresting enough to wring emotion even from simple lists of things. Run through “Nothing to Say” on the back end of Soundgarden’s debut single “Hunted Down,” and the phone book colloquialism comes into focus. “Nothing to Say” is literally a song about not having anything to say, where nearly every third word is “nothing.” But Chris Cornell’s triumphant wail gives it wings, blessing a gag lyric with a performance so killer it’s the only B-side on Soundgarden’s 1998 hits compilation A-Sides. His Seattle-scene peers might’ve been saddled with the weighty “voice of a generation” distinction, but Cornell had a voice for the generations.

Cornell’s voice is an instrument best known for its brutal edge, since most were introduced to it as a weapon dicing through powerhouse post-Sabbath grooves on “Beyond the Wheel,” “Loud Love,” “Outshined,” and the like. But really, its power lay in its delicacy. The folk-blues solo song “Seasons” off the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s Singles; the mournful, psychedelic blues of Temple of the Dog’s “Say Hello 2 Heaven”; the muscular Motown soul of Audioslave’s “Original Fire”; and the elegant falsetto runs on Euphoria Morning’s “Preaching the End of the World” and “Wave Goodbye” all exercised an awareness of restraint and subtlety that offset the forcefulness of his voice in his flagship band. Chris Cornell was unstoppable in a full-throated shriek, but the instances where he held it back are every bit as important to his legacy.

It hurts that Cornell’s story ends here. Latter day gems like “The Keeper” and “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” are proof he still had more to say. Suicide is ellipsis. It’s unfinished business. You don’t get to understand it. It never sits right. It’s tough with musicians—you fight off the grimy urge to pore over their work looking for hints that they weren’t doing so well. It’s one we should resist. The end of Chris Cornell’s life doesn’t render his darker lines any truer or make his optimistic ones less sound. Let’s just be thankful for the 30 years of memories he left behind, and wonder what he could’ve done with 30 more.

See also: Reckoning With the Weight of Chris Cornell’s Lyrics