And about that material: At the end of the day (or night), Leno’s monologue material was no better or worse than other late night hosts. Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, O’Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel all have been hitting the same beats as of late: Chris Christie is fat, the NSA is watching you, Justin Bieber is a doofus. (Only Craig Ferguson pushes the late-night monologue into willfully wild and wooly places, an approach that can grow a bit tiring.) Each host relies on similar hoary bits, each mines lame jokes out of obscure polls and dopey sex surveys, and each freely indulges in “stuff we found on YouTube” filler. But at least Leno delivered that material with the confidence of a veteran stand-up who still lives or dies on the laughter of his neighborhood Chuckle Shack. Call it hacky, or call it old-school professionalism.

And it’s that professionalism—however detached, however uninspired—that I think made Jay Leno such a success. During a typically undistinguished show from November (with musical guest Blake Shelton!), Leno shrugged off a bombed monologue joke with a snarky aside: “I know it’s stupid, but I only have a couple of months left, so I don’t care!” The way he eased into the next joke with a chuckle and yet another “Hey, did you read this?” showed that, in a small way and even in the end, he clearly did.


Rodrigo Abd / AP

Slate
Don't Listen to Woody Allen's Biggest Defender
Jessica Winter

The last third of the piece is in keeping with the first third: not a “closer examination” of the molestation accusations but a grab bag of tendentiousness and disingenuity masquerading as “context.” Weide’s got cutesy anecdotes about Allen’s teenage daughters, the ones he adopted with Soon-Yi Previn. He reminds us yet again that Ronan Farrow may not be Allen’s biological son, which for Weide is a twofer: a proof of his mother’s licentiousness and, bizarrely, a pretext for excusing his father’s sexual relationship with Ronan’s sister.

In fact, the real subject of Weide’s piece isn’t Dylan Farrow or even his main man Woody Allen. It’s what Weide sees as Mia Farrow’s hypocrisy. She’s a hypocrite because she’s friends with convicted rapist Roman Polanski. She’s a hypocrite because her brother is a convicted child molester—“a more mischievous part of me,” Weide writes, wanted to tweet about Mia’s brother’s abuse of children during the Golden Globes. She’s a hypocrite because she approved a clip from The Purple Rose of Cairo for Allen’s Golden Globes tribute, and then publicly complained about the tribute. “This woman needs to get over herself,” Weide writes of Mia Farrow.


Alexandra Wyman / Invision
for The Hollywood Reporter / AP

Salon
Too Poor for Pop Culture
D. Watkins

“What the fuck is a selfie?” said Miss Sheryl.

“When a stupid person with a smartphone flicks themselves and looks at it,” I said to the room. She replied with a raised eyebrow, “Oh?”

It’s amazing how the news seems so instant to most from my generation with our iPhones, Wi-Fi, tablets and iPads, but actually it isn’t. The idea of information being class-based as well became evident to me when I watched my friends talk about a weeks-old story as if it happened yesterday.