Country Music and Magic Mike XXL: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment

Warner Bros.

British Cinemas Need to Do Better for Black Audiences
Simran Hans | Buzzfeed
“The myth that black people don’t go to the cinema becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, predicated on the assumption that cinemagoers are only interested in seeing themselves represented on screen. This seems to be at the heart of the problem.”

Hump Day: The Utterly OMG Magic Mike XXL
Wesley Morris | Grantland
“Not since the days of peak Travolta and Dirty Dancing has a film so perfectly nailed something essential about movie lust: Male vulnerability is hot, particularly when the man is dancing with and therefore for a woman. It aligns the entire audience with the complex prerogatives of female desire.”

The Secret to Making a Better TV Show: Skip the First Season
Todd VanDerWerff | Vox
“Because of the rise of binge-watching and the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones, more and more producers are thinking of their shows as novels and, thus, thinking of their first few episodes as the first few chapters in a book. But we tend to toss aside novels that are slow to grip us, after all, and we also have a very firm sense of the novel as a finite object, one that will be over within a certain number of pages.”

True Patriots Take Their Coffee to Go
Katie Kilkenny | Pacific Standard
In the process of adopting the to-go cup, we told stories about ourselves. Coffee cups, like so many other consumer products, described who we wanted to be as much as who we were.”

The Problem With “Country for People Who Don’t Like Country”
Carl Wilson | Slate
“There are always social overtones when outsiders start claiming to know the ‘truth’ of a genre better than its main fanbase does—implying that the fans don’t know what’s really good for them, whether it’s because they’re too uneducated, too poor, too female, too young, or too old. But those overtones are seldom as stark and persistent as they are in country. ”

Sexts, Hugs, and Rock n’ Roll
Ellen Cushing | Buzzfeed
“Fame is irreversible. There is no unfamous; there’s just formerly famous and washed-up and the confused stares of people who recognize you from somewhere but just can’t quite place it. As new and as niche and as not-quite-the-Grammys their celebrity is, it is, unequivocally, some kind of celebrity, and the kids of DigiTour will never know how it feels to be really, truly anonymous.”

Viacom Is Having a Midlife Crisis
Felix Gillette and Lucas Shaw | Bloomberg
“The threat to the core of Viacom is profound,” says Patrick Keane, a longtime media executive and current president of Sharethrough, an online advertising company. “The changes are hitting Viacom harder than virtually any traditional media company on the planet.”

The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace
Christian Lorentzen | Vulture
“It’s just since the Kenyon speech became the sort of chain email your dotty uncle forwards you that Wallace has been transformed into an idol of quasi-moral veneration, the bard of ironic self-loathing transformed into a beacon of earnest self-help. And now that he comes to the screen, bandanna and ad hoc spittoon in tow, he stands to become a hero to audiences who haven’t read a word of his work. The cult could become a church.”