The Morning Banter: Killer Self-Help, Mind-Control Cats, Llewyn Davis, Nine Inch Nails Live, and Would You Like McSh*t on Your Fries?

The weekend is almost here at last and you’ll no doubt be clamoring for something to distract you from the nagging question of whether this is the Friday you’ll finally be called into your boss’s office and told to gather your things and leave. Here’s some reading material.

1. The Hot Zone

When I first heard James Arthur Ray on television — with Oprah fawning all over him like he was a pint of Häagen-Dazs dulce de leche — touting The Secret and spouting metaphysical crap about how everything in our lives can basically be broken down into fear and love, I laughed out loud. I laughed because anyone who’s seen Donnie Darko knows that this is the exact same spiel Patrick Swayze’s self-help con man uses to make himself wealthy and adored by dumb suburban housewives while he secretly collects kiddie porn in a panic room in his mansion. The thing is, Swayze’s character at least didn’t kill anyone; James Arthur Ray did. And now he’s back.

The Verge: The Death Dealer

2. Freeman on Mandela

There were more than a few idiots on Twitter yesterday who somehow either truly did confuse Morgan Freeman with Nelson Mandela and assumed the former had died or were just joking; I’m not sure which possibility is worse. Regardless, the so very aptly named Freeman, who played Mandela in Invictus, released a brief but moving statement honoring Mandela in the wake of his death and it’s absolutely worth reading.

Esquire: Morgan Freeman: Mandela “a Giant, a Saint, a Hero”

3. Tin-Foil Cat

The answer is yes. Because they’re evil.

The Atlantic: Do Cats Control My Mind?

4. Folk Tale

The Coen Brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, is racking up some pretty impressive reviews. Really, almost any Coen release is cause for a certain amount of celebration, but this one in particular for some reason has grabbed hold of my imagination. Maybe it’s the music, maybe it’s just the potential for Oscar Isaac to finally and deservedly break big — either way, I’m all in.

Slate: Inside Llewyn Davis

Slate: How Does Inside Llewyn Davis Compare To the Coen Brothers’ Best Movies

5. Copy of A…

I missed seeing Nine Inch Nails at the Staples Center last month, the same way I miss most concerts that aren’t at small to mid-size venues these days. (I’ve come to really hate crowds for some reason.) Thankfully, while it’s certainly not the same thing as being there live, Trent has just made available online the entire Staples show. It’s the setting for a full-HD concert film called “Tension,” which was of course the name of the tour. So either put on your headphones and disappear for the next hour-and-a-half, or turn up the speakers on your computer and piss-off everyone around you. It’s sincerely an unreal audio-visual experience. Also, holy fucking shit Ilan Rubin.

Spin: Nine Inch Nails Share Gloriously Brutal 77-Minute Concert Film, ‘Tension’

6. À la Shart

We get the McRib. They get fries covered in diarrhea. We win. ‘Murica.

The L.A. Times: Poutine at McDonalds? Yes, but Only in Canada

Have a good one, folks.

Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.