Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
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In the vein of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) and Black Nerd Problems, this witty, incisive essay collection from New York Times critic at large Maya Phillips explores race, religion, sexuality, and more through the lens of her favorite pop culture fandoms.
From the moment Maya Phillips saw the opening scroll of Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, her life changed forever. Her formative years were spent loving not just the Star Wars saga, but superhero cartoons, anime, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, Tolkien, and Doctor Who—to name just a few.
As a critic at large at The New York Times, Phillips has written extensively on theater, poetry, and the latest blockbusters—with her love of some of the most popular and nerdy fandoms informing her career. Now, she analyzes the mark these beloved intellectual properties leave on young and adult minds, and what they teach us about race, gender expression, religion, and more.
Spanning from the nineties through to today, Nerd is a collection of cultural criticism essays through the lens of fandom for everyone from the casual Marvel movie watcher to the hardcore Star Wars expanded universe connoisseur. “In the same way that the fandoms Phillips addresses often provide community and a sense of connection, the experience of reading Nerd feels like making a new friend” (Karen Han, cultural critic and screenwriter).
Maya Phillips is a critic at large at The New York Times and the author of the poetry collection Erou. She received her BFA in writing, literature, and publishing with a concentration in poetry from Emerson College and her MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Maya’s alter egos are Natsu Dragneel, the Eleventh Doctor, and Dustin Henderson from Stranger Things. She lives in Brooklyn. Visit MayaBPhillips.com and follow her on Twitter @MayaBPhillips.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Please. Have mercy. I’ve been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.