The People v. O.J. and the Snap Pack: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment


The People v. O.J. Simpson Will Be With Us Forever
Vinson Cunningham | The New Yorker
“We enter now into the myth’s adolescence, the time of miracles and hoaxes, retellings and revisions. Think of the knife as the fraudulent tooth or fingernail of a popular saint, and of The People v. O.J., perhaps, as a crucial near-contemporary codex, an early attempt to force the imperatives of art—narrative, coherence, harmony of action, and meaning—onto the strange and unsettling tragedy that was the truth.”

Move Over, Rat Pack and Brat Pack: Here Comes the Snap Pack
Katherine Rosman | The New York Times
“Even as they grasp that their postings can draw scorn, the Snap Pack seems unable to relinquish the habit of social media, and the illusion of image control it affords. ‘I look good in pictures I take of myself,’ Ms. Matisse said as the group settled in for dinner at Vandal.”

How Not to Talk About African Literature
Ainehi Edoro | The Guardian
“The history of modern African fiction is essentially 100 years of branding disaster. In marketing African fiction, the conventional practice among publishers both in Africa and the West has been to simply tag a novel to a social issue. ‘Such and such a novel explores colonialism.’ Done ... African fiction is packaged and circulated, bought and sold not on the basis of its aesthetic value but of its thematic preoccupation.”

Kaytranada Is Reaching 100 Percent
Alex Frank | The Fader
“Though Kay seems relieved to be finally making his truth known, he still expresses a stilted caution borne of life in the uber-straight world of a tiny suburb of Montreal or a traditional immigrant community ... As for the rest of the world, he says, he’s treating this interview in part like the rip of a Band-Aid. He’s talking to me so he won’t have to go through the painstaking process of coming out to every single person he knows.”

Four Years a Student-Athlete: The Racial Injustice of Big-Time College Sports
Patrick Hruby | Vice
“The game will be the culmination of another successful season for a cash-rich campus athletics industry—and thanks to the NCAA’s longstanding amateurism rules, which apply to college athletes and no one else in America, the lion’s share of that money will flow from the former group to the latter. From the jerseys to the suits. From black to white.”

A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t as Revolutionary as It Seems
Rebecca Onion | Slate
“Acknowledging that the show may have the power to interest kids in the history of the Revolutionary era because of the way its major roles are cast, Monteiro asks: ‘Is this the history that we most want black and brown youth to connect with—one in which black lives so clearly do not matter?’”

Surgery With a Mouse Click
Logan Hill | Vulture
“Until recently, vain actors were limited to makeup, flattering lighting, corsets, plastic surgery, Botox, crash diets, personal trainers, steroids, muscle suits, color grading, lenses and filters, body doubles, and spray-on abs. Now they also have software: Zits vanish with a click. Wrinkles ­disappear. Abs harden. Jawlines sharpen. Cellulite vanishes.”

The Pleasure of Their Pain
Batya Ungar-Sargon | Aeon
“We do no wrong by consuming the storylines starring these would-be celebrities, for haven’t they themselves asked to become part of a ridiculous spectacle for our amusement? But the fact that we commit no moral offence by indulging in these franchises fails to explain the greater mystery, which is the pleasure this experience offers, a pleasure that stymies even as it delights.”

The Queens of Nonfiction: 56 Women Journalists Everyone Should Read
Ann Friedman | The Cut
“The male bylines I scrolled past in decades-old tables of contents were familiar, either because those men are still working their prestigious jobs today, or because they have been anthologized. Most of the women nonfiction writers of previous eras, I discovered after some Googling, had short-lived journalistic careers. And the excellent work they did produce has escaped every curator of the past several decades. We simply haven’t remembered them. And it’s time we start.”