Typecasting and Punk Rock Origins: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment

Chris Pizzello / AP

Typecast as a Terrorist
Riz Ahmed | The Guardian
“America uses its stories to export a myth of itself, just like the U.K. The reality of Britain is vibrant multiculturalism, but the myth we export is an all-white world of lords and ladies. Conversely, American society is pretty segregated, but the myth it exports is of a racial melting-pot, everyone solving crimes and fighting aliens side by side.”

Hollywood, Separate and Unequal
Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott | The New York Times
“The movies with black protagonists that tend to win awards — to be legitimized, in other words, as mainstream, serious and prestigious — are more often than not about exceptional figures, many of them drawn from the annals of American history. Athletes. Musicians. Leaders. People whose remarkable accomplishments both ease the consciences of white viewers and mask the collective struggles and communal experiences that sustained the heroes in their work.”

What Does It Mean to Experience an Album for the First Time as a Film?
Judy Berman | Pitchfork
“These films attach images and sometimes dialogue to sounds and lyrics in the same way that big-screen adaptations of books attach actors to characters that readers previously had to imagine for themselves. And they’re becoming more successful at it over time—in part because we’re starting to appreciate visual albums as a discrete art form, and in part because they’re just getting better.”

All Novels Aren’t Political Statements. But They’re Not Apolitical, Either.
Phoebe Maltz Bovy | The New Republic
“By suggesting that a white guy can’t write a story about a Nigerian woman, Abdel-Magied isn’t just condemning offensive representation but any representation—and she’s doing it based solely on the identities of the writer and character. To see the flaw here, consider the TV version of this question: Do we want white show creators to put only white characters onscreen?”

The Outback Special
Liam Lowery | The Eater
“My last meal with my mom before she started drifting in and out of consciousness ended with me taking away her empty styrofoam container to toss in the garbage. I shook it, surprised to feel it was empty. ‘I wasn’t that hungry,’ she joked. That she felt well enough to eat a piece of medium-rare beef was a good sign: We were going to have dozens more Outback Specials together as a family, maybe even at an Outback restaurant.”

Where Punk Rock Begins
Amanda Petrusich | The New Yorker
“Punk, maybe more than any other genre, is contingent upon the body. Ideologically, it requires the actualization—the making real—of some otherwise unreachable pain. Other punk performers had incorporated a kind of aestheticized violence (and self-violence, especially) into their acts before, and punk fans often turned to decorative mutilation as catharsis, but I can’t recall many other artists whose physical sacrifice has felt quite as generative or as essential or as giving as Iggy Pop’s.”

Father and Son: Kid Cudi and the Growing Pains of Kanye West’s Children
Sean Fennessy | The Ringer
“Cudi went inward, and Kanye went out, becoming a bigger celebrity, a bigger artist, a bigger voice. Cudi found his people — young and amenable to his radical vulnerability. Kanye found Kim Kardashian. Cudi became a father. Kanye did too.”