Tyler Oakley and Kidz Bop: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment

Tyler Oakley at the 2014 VidCon (Gage Skidmore)

The Kidz Bop Is All Right: A Night Alone With America’s Shrillest Pop Franchise
Jia Tolentino | Jezebel
“But we graduate away from ourselves constantly. The toddlers around me would never know what they looked like, bouncing on dad shoulders; the cliques of third-grade girlfriends dancing around me would forget all their old games, their jokes.”

Tyler Oakley’s Radical YouTube Memoir
Johannah King-Slutzky | The New Republic
“Anyway, who said YouTube ought to be political? Well, YouTubers did. That’s what makes YouTube so compelling and so infuriating. When we’re all annotating our own celebrity ... it’s difficult to distinguish between cases where the personal really is political and cases where that motto is appropriated for personal and uncritical gain.”

Terry Gross and the Art of Opening Up
Susan Burton | The New York Times Magazine
“‘Having the conversation’—that’s what’s compelling about the wish. It’s a wish not for recognition but for an experience. It’s a wish for Gross to locate your genius, even if that genius has not yet been expressed. It’s a wish to be seen as in a wish to be understood. The interview wish is as old as the form itself.”

Same Old Script
Aisha Harris | Slate
“Writers who speak up in the room aren’t just doing it out of a sense of political correctness. They’re doing it because they know that three-dimensional characters of color make their shows better—and because they know that white writers don’t always get it right.”

Why Sex That’s Consensual Can Still Be Bad. And Why We’re Not Talking About It.
Rebecca Traister | The Cut
“Young women don’t always enjoy sex—and not because of any innately feminine psychological or physical condition. The hetero (and non-hetero, but, let’s face it, mostly hetero) sex on offer to young women is not of very high quality, for reasons having to do with youthful ineptitude and tenderness of hearts, sure, but also the fact that the game remains rigged.”

Crusader Chic
Danielle Peterson Searls | Lapham’s Quarterly
“It is worth emphasizing that the new desires for exotic clothing started with men, not women. In fact, the Crusader epics are more likely to focus on the textiles worn by horses. In one tale a sultan, wanting to tempt the hero Godfrey of Bouillon with his wealth, is advised to bring out his white Arabian charger. While Godfrey resists, the poet and his audience succumb—not to the horse’s size and strength, but to its dazzling accessories.”

Capes & Crossovers: How Franchises Invaded Television
Andy Greenwald | Grantland
“And so we reach the part of the column where you would expect me to decry this dogged, interlacing brand-building as corporate avarice run amok, further proof of the golden age of television’s sad descent into plastic ideas. But I can’t do it. The truth is, shared universes are one of storytelling’s greatest joys.”

We Embraced the Future and It Nearly Killed Us
Hal Niedzviecki | Literary Hub
“Escape from future shock won’t come from lamenting the rise of a techno-industrial age and trying to push back against it by what the Tofflers dismiss as a ‘return to passivity, mysticism and irrationality.’ The answer isn’t to question the path we’re on. The answer is to fully embrace the potential of the one and only path—future change all the time. We must merge with the future and go wherever that takes us.”

What Would Barthes Think of His Hermès Scarf?
Christy Wampole | The New Yorker
“Nearly everyone in the middle class, particularly those under 40 or so, spends a significant amount of their waking hours consuming and critiquing television shows, commercials, apps, objects and their design, political performances, celebrity behavior, and brands on the Internet. Perhaps without ever having read him, they are imitating Barthes’s approach to culture.”

Bill Murray Just Needs to Start Making Good Movies Again
Mike Ryan | Uproxx
“Bill Murray has quietly made a lot of bad movies since Lost in Translation, and no one has noticed because everyone is so damned enamored of Bill Murray ‘being Bill Murray.’ You are not helping him. You are enabling him. Deep down, Murray still wants that Oscar. He’s never going to get it as long as we think it’s just so great that he shows up on Jimmy Kimmel wearing a costume.”