Daria and the Truth Behind ‘Zola’: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment


How Daria Shaped a Generation of Women (Especially This Black Lady)
Phoebe Robinson | Vulture
“A show in the ’90s was able to understand that even though Jodie and Daria are similar in a lot of ways, they are different because of race, and as a result, Jodie has much a different view of the world, and the world has a much different view of her. That, my friends, in a nutshell, is the intersectionality experience, and the fact that Daria got it was certainly not expected at the time.”

The True Story Behind ‘Zola,’ the Epic Twitter Story Too Crazy to Be Real
Caitlin Dewey | The Washington Post
“No one actually tried to jump off a fourth-floor balcony, and no one ever got shot in the face. But in some ways, the true story of what happened to two young women in a Tampa hotel is even ‘crazier,’ quote-unquote, than the story that captivated the Internet last week.”

Spike Lee Sounds Off on Chi-raq, Gun Violence, and Rahm
Bryan Smith | Chicago Magazine
“One of the biggest criticisms of Do the Right Thing was that Spike didn’t have the answer for racism or prejudice at the end. So I hope you don’t think that Spike has answers for all this stuff. We do have some, but it’s not like A, B, C, D, you do this and everything will be all right. It’s not that simple.”

Why So Many Punks Grow Up to Be Cowboys (and Cowgirls)
Kenneth Partridge | Pitchfork
Back in the ‘no future’ early days, punk didn’t offer a great retirement plan. After a record or two of three-chord raging, you could stay the course, turn pop, get clever, or check out altogether, like Sid Vicious or Darby Crash. There were pros and cons to all of these. Now, you can grab a hat and an acoustic guitar and ride off into the sunset.”

The Mother of All Questions
Rebecca Solnit | Harper’s Magazine

“One of my goals in life is to become truly rabbinical, to be able to answer closed questions with open questions, to have the internal authority to be a good gatekeeper when intruders approach, and to at least remember to ask, ‘Why are you asking that?’ ... But on the day of my interrogation about having babies, I was taken by surprise (and severely jet-lagged), and so I was left to wonder—why do such bad questions so predictably get asked?”

‘I’m So Excited! I’m so Excited! I’m so … Scared!’: The Lasting Impact of Jessie Spano, Caffeine Pills, and TV’s Greatest Meltdown
Michael Andor Brodeur | Thrillist
“So pure, total, and overwhelming were the cheery, chummy, good-time vibes at Bayside that it amounted to something like a crushing, unforgiving vacuum of cultural space. Nothing from our world could survive the journey into its swirling vortex of stonewashed suck, and, once there, surely, nothing could ever escape. Or so we thought.”

Where Are All the Black NBA Coaches? Examining a Sudden, Silent Disappearance
Howard Beck | Bleacher Report
“There is one broad trend that partially explains the racial shifts: NBA teams, now more than ever, are seeking unconventional hires—college coaches, first-time coaches, foreign coaches, broadcasters, former video coordinators—and turning away from the standard pool of former players-turned-coaches, a pool that is, by definition, predominantly black.”

Books Are Dangerous: Reading Should Not Carry a Health Warning
Frank Furedi | Aeon
“It is not for nothing that reading was always feared throughout history. It is indeed a risky activity: Reading possesses the power to capture the imagination, create emotional upheaval, and force people toward an existential crisis. Indeed, for many it is the excitement of embarking on a journey into the unknown that leads them to pick up a book in the first place.”

Against Subtlety
Forrest Wickman | Slate
“To be clear, I’m not saying that all art must be unsubtle. (Though a lot of it would be better if it were.) Certainly there will always be people whose taste simply runs toward the subtle, and de gustibus, etc. Similarly, there will always be creators whose visions tend toward the understated. Even I enjoy some variety. But it’s when subtlety is held up as an unquestioned virtue that it does the most damage.”

What We Think About When We Run
Kathryn Schulz | The New Yorker
“Most runners run to achieve either or both of these conditions as often as possible—to provoke a kind of Cartesian collapse, mind and body suddenly in anguished or glorious collusion. And, most of the time, we fail. The body twinges and hitches and aches; the mind fusses and fidgets. What is it all for? What was it all about?”