Stephen Colbert and 21st-Century Mystics: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment

Comedy Central

Notes on 21st-Century Mystic Carly Rae Jepsen
Jia Tolentino | The Awl
“Carly Rae Jepsen is a pop artist zeroed in on love’s totipotency: the glance, the kaleidoscope-confetti-spinning instant, the first bit of nothing that contains it all. This is audible and immediate in her voice, whose definitive quality is a childlike ardency inflected with coyness; she sings like her smile is bursting, like there are stars imploding in her eyes.”

The Late, Great Stephen Colbert
Joel Lovell | GQ
“And then we got onto the subject of discomfort and disorientation, and the urge he has to seek out those feelings, and from there it was a quick jump to the nature of suffering. Before long we were sitting there with a plate of roast chicken and several bottles of Cholula on the table between us, both of us rubbing tears from our eyes.”

Who Is Marc Jacobs?
Sarah Nicole Prickett | The New York Times Style Magazine
“One of his tattoos is an all-caps ‘perfect’ on his wrist, reminding him that he’s exactly who and where he’s supposed to be at that moment, and that everything is good because it’s there. It’s really about acceptance, not perfection. He wants to make precious things that people aren’t precious about.”

Holding Off Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems
Dwight Garner | The New York Times
“I could not stop for Emily Dickinson, but she kindly stopped for me. Her raw, spare, intense poetry was written as if carved into a desktop. Now that I am older and somewhat wiser, what I prize about Dickinson is that she lives up to her own observation: ‘Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.’”

Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up
Dee Barnes | Gawker
“That’s reality. That’s reality rap. In his lyrics, Dre made hyperbolic claims about all these heinous things he did to women. But then he went out and actually violated women. Straight Outta Compton would have you believe that he didn’t really do that. It doesn’t add up.”

“Happily Ever After” for African American Romance Novelists
Christine Grimaldi | The Rumpus
“ ‘People need to see that love is love, regardless of who you are, whether you love someone of color, whether you love another woman,’ Jenkins said. ‘Love is love.’ In a society that routinely relegates black women to the margins, or worse, romance novels underscore that their desires and their bodies are worthy of happily ever afters.”

‘Dead’ Again: AMC’s Promising Return to Zombieland
Andy Greenwald | Grantland
“One of the sharpest choices made in Fear the Walking Dead is the way it doesn’t rush past the frustrating banalities of existence en route to the apocalypse. Perspective matters: We need to appreciate the leaky faucet before we can attend to the gushing artery.”

The Abridged History of Disney, 2015-2040 AD
Chris Plante | The Verge
“Audiences are more likely to watch reality shows in which all contestants wear superhero costumes than they are to watch similar reality shows in which superhero costumes are not prominently featured, according to a report from the Paley Center for Media.”

I Spent Four Seasons as Amy Poehler’s Stand-In
Hadley Meares | Atlas Obscura
“For years, I have described my job thusly: I am a moving piece of furniture. I am a crash test dummy with a working mouth. I am the understudy that never overtakes. I am the cheat sheet. The technical term for my job is ‘stand-in.’”

Why You Can’t Look Away From the Affleck Nanny Scandal
Adam Sternbergh | Vulture
“Ouzounian’s so fascinating because she’s our modern civilian surrogate, who’s passed over to the other side of the glass. Someone finally found a way to photobomb celebrity. Can’t you see her? There she is, popping up in the rolling Instagram feed of the famous, and she’s waving at us, and we can’t look away.”