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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Black Swan: The Party Game

by MOLLY LAMBERT with contributions from TESS LYNCH and SARAH JOHNSON

In case you haven't seen Black Swan, reading this reveals and ruin nothing. The party game is simple; all things can be paired up and divided into white swans and black swans. White swans have technique but black swans have essential style. The white swan is the brain, the black swan is the crotch. Not every facemash splits this way but it sure wasn't hard to come up with like a billion of these in ten minutes with friends.

As with Fuck Marry Kill, the thing about this game is that it becomes dangerous as soon as you start directing it to people's personal black swans, which inevitably always happens. Drunk people have a tendency to be more honest than they really intended to. As soon as you start talking about people in the room at the party you are fucked.

But aren't all parlor games kind of dangerous/purposely meant to encourage relational transgressions? Isn't that also why people drink? God knows spin the bottle is built for destruction. It's easy to be the black swan that pushes other people into playing. Who wants to go to a party where nothing happens? What, you never rolled before?

White Swan/Black Swan

Madonna/Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry/Chrissie Hynde

Diana Ross/Donna Summer

Michael Jackson/Prince

Prince/Rick James

Luke Skywalker/Han Solo

Judd Apatow/Adam Sandler

Jackie O/Marilyn Monroe

Seth Rogen/Jason Segel

Jonah Hill/Danny McBride

Elvis/Little Richard (original black swan queen)

Joe Strummer/Joey Ramone

Belinda Carlisle/Cyndi Lauper

Emmylou Harris/Linda Ronstadt

Rachel Weisz/Marion Cotillard

George Clooney/Jon Hamm

the 60s/the 70s


Thomas Pynchon/Kurt Vonnegut




Steven Spielberg/Joe Dante

Joni Mitchell/Carly Simon

American Idol/X Factor


Debbie Gibson/Tiffany

Lily Allen/Katy Perry

Drake/Lil Wayne

Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus

Selena Gomez/Demi Lovato

Gwyneth Paltrow/Winona Ryder

Blair Waldorf/Serena van der Woodsen

Jack Kerouac/Neal Cassady

John Mayer (musician)/John Mayer (celebrity)

Adam Trask/Charles Trask


Kathleen Hanna/Courtney Love

David Bowie/Iggy Pop

John Cale/Lou Reed



black and white/color

Dakota Fanning/Taylor Momsen

David Byrne/Bryan Ferry

Philip Glass/Brian Eno

Sean Penn/Robert Downey Jr.

Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp

Oprah/Martha Stewart




The OC/Gossip Girl

Elton John/Jeff Lynne

TRL Xtina/TRL Britney

TRL Britney/Pink Wig Britney


Fat Joe/Big Pun

Green Day/Blink 182

David Foster Wallace/Jonathan Franzen

Bernard Malamud/Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow/Philip Roth

John Cheever/John Updike

Steve Martin/Chevy Chase

Dan Ackroyd/Bill Murray

Bill Murray/Andy Kaufman

Lindsey Buckingham/Don Henley

Robert Redford/Warren Beatty

Warren Beatty/Jack Nicholson

Gregory Peck/Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando/James Dean

The Graduate/Carnal Knowledge



Pacino/De Niro

John Malkovich/Christopher Walken

Emilio Estevez/Charlie Sheen

Meryl Streep/Susan Sarandon


Angela Chase/Rayanne Graff

Townes Van Zandt/John Prine

Godfather/Godfather II

Freaks And Geeks/Undeclared

Loudon Wainwright III/Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon/Tom Petty

Harry Nilsson/Randy Newman

Eric Clapton/George Harrison

Tyra Banks/Naomi Campbell

the 90s/the 00s


Harvest/On The Beach


Tina Fey/Amy Poehler

Leonardo DiCaprio/Matt Damon

Matt Damon/Ben Affleck

Priscilla Presley/Ann Margaret

Betty Draper/whoever Don Draper is banging 

Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn

David Gordon Green/Jody Hill  

David O. Russell/Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson/Coen Brothers

Christopher Nolan/Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky/David Fincher  

Madonna/Young Madonna

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls here and twitters here.

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"The Passenger" - Iggy Pop (mp3)

"China Girl" - David Bowie (mp3)

"Under Pressure" - Queen ft. David Bowie (mp3)

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Reader Comments (45)

Basically all of classical music history is based on this












January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Alex Carnevale / Molly Lambert

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYorri Hansod

Spot on Yorri . . Ha ha

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdr mumdownunder

Dave Eggers/Chuck Palahniuk

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor

Taylor Lautner/ Robert Pattinson
Taylor Swift/ Emma Stone
Michael Cera/ Jesse Eisenberg
Jacques Cousteau/ Timothy Treadwell
MIchael Jackson/ Prince
The Bangles/ Hole
Kanye West/ Kanye West

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCitygirl Farmhand

Corned Beef/Rye
Bacon, Lettuce/Tomato
Eggs/Over Easy
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary/Thyme

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjgold

Jesus Christ, this is good!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHC Carr

Leonardo di Caprio/Noah Taylor
Dustin Hoffman/Elliott Gould
Carmella Soprano/Adrianna La Cerva

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHC Carr

Angelina Jolie/Samantha Morton

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHC Carr

WHO is the black swan to bieber's white swan? i can't decide...

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK

beans are TOTALLY rice's black swan

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Bieber is the black swan, Cody Simpson is the white swan

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Pete Campbell/Ken Cosgrove

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Jonathan Gold wins, as always.

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTess Lynch

totally forgot about cody simpson, but good call. he reminds me of a dinosaur from land before time

cody simpson: http://bit.ly/gtoP6B
dinosaur: http://bit.ly/f0BJf9

on another note i just accidentally found land before time porn on google... there goes the rest of my childhood- thanks rule #34

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK

For the sports fan:

Peyton Manning / Tom Brady
A-Rod / Jeter
Kobe / Lebron

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

"Michael Cera/ Jesse Eisenberg is also incontrovertible fact" - Emily Gould

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Scarface / Ganksta Nip

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLambo

Ganksta Nip / Big Lurch

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLambo


January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Fudgy the Whale to Cookiepuss

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJRP and RRP

Ella Fitzgerald / Anita O'Day
Jon Anderson / Rick Wakeman
Brady Bunch / Partridge Family
Andre 3000 / Big Boi
Reese Witherspoon / Naomi Watts
Truffaut / Godard
Mendes / Von Trier
Nora Ephron / all the other famous woman directors.
Hey, this is fun.

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHugh

This Recording / Jezebel
Jezebel's post on / This Article

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelisser

Oooh, I finally got one.
on twitter:

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkooky

Sylvia Plath/Assia Wevill

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterV

David Foster Wallace/Jonathan Franzen is patently the wrong way around. DFW is no man's white swan.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

Paul Newman/Steve McQueen

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersara

DFW is like entirely brain though, despite his tennis background. Franzen is completely unathletic but his writing is much more of the body.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

and I had Newman/McQueen but I'm still not sure which way I think I'd put it. that is probably the correct way. the subpoint of this exercise, for the Jezebel commenters who called me a misogynist because they thought it was the virgin/whore game, is that you can flip most of them and make a good argument. each has something that the other one lacks, and desiring any specific quality a person has that you do not have can make them into a black swan.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Truffaut / Godard is a great example of one that can be flipped and have a good argument made for either direction. Godard has visual mastery and innate style but Truffaut has inherent command of emotion and some people (me) enjoy his visual style for its more shambling quality . They were best friends and then broke up and commented snottily on each other's work a lot in public to the press. I'm sure they were specifically jealous of what the other one could do that they could not.

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

hannah montana/ miley cirus
beyonce/ sasha fierce


January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTaryn

you've created a monster. i lie awake at night thinking of these now.

guy debord/ jean baudrillard
carl jung/ sigmund freud
sigmund freud/michel foucault
camille paglia/ judith butler
joan didion/ j.d. salinger
tao lin/carles
marina abramovic/james franco
jacques lacan/ slavoj zizek
writers of the new yorker/clement greenberg
clement greenberg/rosalind krauss
rainer maria rilke/auguste rodin
jean luc godard/alain tanner
oprah winfrey/tyra banks
jonathan franzen/oprah winfrey
darren criss in glee/darren criss in a very potter musical
sarah jessica parker/carrie bradshaw
annie leibovitz/susan sontag
alain de botton/marcel proust
malcolm gladwell/nasim nicholas taleb
the music/britney

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterw

wes anderson/owen wilson
beverly cleary/louise fitzhugh
michiko kakutani/pauline kael
edie sedgwick/valerie solanas
anna wintour/grace coddington
david sedaris/chuck klosterman
mindy kaling:writer for the office/mindy kaling:twitter personality
diablo cody/lena dunham
al gore/bill clinton
mtv/the box
jackson pollack/lee krasner
thomas hirschorn/john waters
lord voldemort/severus snape

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterw

huh? / black huh?

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTito Fitzcollins

Jungle Book / The Jungle
Tom Sawyer / Huck Finn
2001 / 1984
Faulkner / Henry Miller
Leather / Pleather
This Recording / Penthouse for the Mind

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTito Fitzcollins

Somewhat embarassingly, and not quite spam, Slate did this based on Matisse and Picasso...


January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam

All right, Tom Brady is a black swan like I am Tom Brady. I think...

Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers
Steve Young/Joe Montana
90's Bulls/90's Pistons
New England Patriots/New York Jets
Emmitt Smith/Barry Sanders


Franny and Zooey/Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
A Supposedly Fun Thin I'll Never Do Again/Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
U2 after "Joshua Tree"/U2 before "Joshua Tree"

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArthur

Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Los Campesinos!
Jonathan Franzen/Haruki Murakami

and also it should be: 90s Bulls/90s Knicks

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex A
Ronnie Wood/Brian Jones

Oh, this is fun!
August 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternigel foster
you totally miss on Pynchon/Vonnegut and DFW/Franzen, both should be reversed; it's so wrong I want to believe it's just a mistake. Or perhaps you haven't read GR or IJ? Possible, I guess.
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