Gucci Mane and Ballet: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment.

John Bazemore / AP

Can Gucci Mane Survive His Legend?
Kelefa Sanneh | The New Yorker
“At the age of 36, he seems to be relishing his role as one of the most widely admired rappers on the planet, especially among his peers. Gucci Mane showed a generation how to emphasize intonation over enunciation, and how to deploy slight rhythmic imprecision to buck the stiff authority of the beat.”

Rediscovering Korean Identity
Nancy Jooyoun Kim | Asian American Writers’ Workshop
“But when I hear the Korean language, I want to jump in, dive into the sounds, because that is the music of those who have loved me. But I want it so badly that I am scared to fail. I’m frightened that what looks like water, might actually be a surface made of stone, and that I am not strong enough to survive the rejection of smashing into its surface. I am convinced that neither my family nor I can survive any more brokenness, homes or bones.”

Towards a Homogeneous Aesthetic
Kyle Chayka | The Verge
“Among the phenomenon’s consequences is depersonalization, in the psychiatric sense: ‘a state in which one loses all sense of identity.’ I personally like the AirSpace style. I can’t say no to a tasteful, clean, and modern life space. But thinking through its roots and negative implications makes me reconsider my attachment. It’s hard to identify with something so empty at its core.”

Swoopty-doopty, Let’s Head to Dunnville
Katie Baker | The Ringer
“Dunn’s presence has always been one of her great gifts. She is just so very there: on the ball, in your face, past your reach. When she plays, she is noteworthy for the same reasons a hummingbird or a shooting star catches the eye: their ceaseless movement, their transient thrill.”

Jill Solloway’s New Family
Jason McBride | Vulture
“Just a glance around the set, a fictional, dimly lit restaurant suggestively called the Rope and the Loin, which the art department built in a disused wing of Marfa’s renowned Hotel Paisano, gives a hint of the show’s mash-up of place and perspective: The diverse, largely female crew is mostly from Los Angeles and Austin, the extras a ragtag assortment of Marfans, many older and wearing their best cowboy hats. And then there’s Griffin Dunne, shuffling around in a gray linen suit, pink shirt, and Ugg scuffs, his silver hair almost shoulder length—Bernard-Henri Lévy’s American cousin.”

A Ballet Teacher Changes the Rules
Gia Kourlas | The New York Times
“In Ms. Tuttle’s increasingly popular ballet classes, actual dancing is encouraged — something that’s less common than you might expect. Ballet class is usually a place to hone an impossible technique, and dancing is for the stage. But Ms. Tuttle doesn’t subscribe to that notion; what’s startling about her classes is the freedom she pulls out of her students. She cares deeply about technique, but for her, ballet is about more than positions; by the end, even beginners find themselves linking academic steps into swirling dancing phrases.”

Russell Westbrook Still Doesn’t Care What You Think
Nathaniel Friedman | Victory Journal
“Almost despite himself, Russell Westbrook now makes sense. Kevin Durant was the Thunder’s franchise player and Russ was abrasive anti-matter. When Durant skipped town, the polarities reversed. The sports morality police may not have come out in full force for KD—maybe as a civilization we’ve evolved beyond such petty thinking—but he’s no longer a sympathetic figure. Westbrook, on the other hand, finds himself in the unlikely position of upstanding citizen. In one day, Westbrook has gone from an outsider sowing chaos to a key component of the NBA’s ecosystem.”

HBO’s New Comedy Questions Our (Vice) Principals
Lili Loofbourow | The Week
“Asshole TV also understands that the order in which you experience events onscreen shapes your sympathies. First impressions matter, and Vice Principals goes to a lot of trouble to contextualize the events I described above — which amount to racial terrorism — so that they're allowed to be funny.”

Where Have All the Women in Country Music Gone?
Mark Guarino | The Guardian
“Fewer women on the country scene also means men dominate the conversation, which is why so much of country radio is ridden with songs about driving trucks or relationships from the male perspective.”