The Brand Keeping Oprah in Business
Rembert Browne | Vulture
“It comes down to the question of who gets to decide what’s good for black people. Should all kinds of blackness be shown, or should its representation be curated? To Perry, no one should have the authority to make that call. To others, however, there is a clear line between what’s good for ‘us’ and what isn’t.”

How the Internet Picks Its Boyfriends
Sulagna Misra | The Cut
“These men might be famous, but the way we share images of them on social media, the way we message our friends GIFs and images and quotes, makes them feel close to us, Hollywood publicity machine be damned. Consuming their work and the media around it doesn’t feel so different from Internet-stalking a crush.”

So, Like, Why Are We So Obsessed With Podcasts Right Now?
James Wolcott | Vanity Fair
“Podcasts are essentially radio on the installment plan, a return to the intimacy, wombed shadows, and pregnant implications of words, sounds, and silences in the theater of the mind … Instead of peddling itself to demographic markets, it appealed to interests, enthusiasms, and the oral tradition of storytelling, and for every interest there’s a flock of podcasts vying for attention.”

Jaden Smith for Louis Vuitton: The New Man in a Skirt
Vanessa Friedman | The New York Times
“The fear of semiological chaos (and the force of historical convention) explains in part why clothing norms have held on so long. We want to understand what we are seeing, and we want those seeing it to understand what we are saying. But here’s the thing: As much as understanding, we also want admiration; to think we look good in what we are wearing.”

Sadie Stein | The Paris Review
“I consider the Great British Baking Show (née Bake Off) the most important breakthrough in formulaic comfort viewing since the first witness was surly to the first dedicated detective of the Special Victims Unit. Shamelessly cozy, aggressively anodyne, equal parts comforting and engaging, GBBO is an Anglophile’s shameful dream come true.”

Playing for Time: A Father, a Dying Son, and the Quest to Make the Most Profound Video Game Ever
Jason Tanz | Wired
“Green, though, is doing the opposite. He’s trying to create a game in which meaning is ambiguous and accomplishments are fleeting. He is making a game that is as broken—as confounding, unresolved, and tragically beautiful—as the world itself.”

Sports Illustrated Wants to Redeem Adrian Peterson, Even If Adrian Peterson Doesn’t
Diana Moskovitz | Deadspin
“Despite explicitly disavowing the usual jock-redemption narrative, this story manages to hit all the marks in the standard player forgiveness profile, even as its subject insists he did nothing wrong. One of the greatest running backs in recent history doesn’t want your forgiveness, but SI, perhaps out of habit, tradition, or pure muscle memory, can’t help but make the case for it anyway.”

How the Weird, Unfiltered Internet Became a Media Goldmine
Joe Veix | Fusion
“This is the Lonely Web. It lives in the murky space between the mainstream and the deep webs. The content is public and indexed by search engines, but broadcast to a tiny audience, algorithmically filtered out, and/or difficult to find using traditional search techniques.”

Kobe Bryant’s ‘Light-Skinned’ Remark Hints at NBA’s Peculiar Racial Politics
Dave Schilling | The Guardian
“What does it really mean to go to the hole like a light-skinned dude? The NBA is a league dominated by black men. It’s a league that has benefitted greatly from the influence of hip-hop and black culture. Basketball is a black sport and is better off for it. And yet, the divide between the light and the dark persists in the league and in the wider culture.”

My Accidental Career as a Russian Screenwriter
Michael Idov | The New York Times Magazine
“Whatever censorship exists is mostly self-administered. The timidity on display, though, is often hilarious: The Russian adaptation of Homeland moved the action back to 1999, because nothing bad could possibly happen to Russia under Putin (at least on TV) … In the absence of hard guidelines, people are left to explore the boundaries of their own bravery.”

The George Awakens
Bryan Curtis | The New Yorker
“It took a unique—well, derivative—sequel to create an atmosphere in which Lucas could be viewed in a new light. The biggest reason Lucas looks better is because The Force Awakens is an admission that, 38 years later, the original can’t be topped.”