Colin Kaepernick and Blade Runner: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about arts and entertainment

Colin Kaepernick walks out of a tunnel before an NFL football game.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Colin Kaepernick Has a Job
Rembert Browne | Bleacher Report
“As a black man with a black biological father and a white biological mother, adopted by loving white parents who raised him in a majority white town to become a star three-sport athlete, a God-fearing Christian, and a model citizen, this went well beyond the experience of a privileged American jock. This was a unique finesse, somewhere between Orenthal and Obama.”

The Battle for Blade Runner
Michael Schulman | Vanity Fair
“How did a movie marked by infighting, artistic compromise, and commercial failure manage to burrow its way into pop-culture immortality? Much of the answer lies with Ridley Scott, whose hyper-detailed imaginative vision was matched only by his Draconian means of realizing it. It would be wrong, though, to call Blade Runner an auteurist masterpiece—it’s also a mess.”

Michael Keaton: ‘There Was a Lot of Bad Taste in the ’90s and I Contributed to That’
Hadley Freeman | The Guardian
“He looks strikingly different from the man I have spent four decades watching on screen: He has the trim, spry build of a wiry woodsman rather than a 66-year-old actor, thanks to half a lifetime spent in rural Montana, fishing and hunting. His walk is reminiscent of a rooster’s strut, with his chest puffed out and a bounce on his toes; that swagger we saw in 2014’s Birdman ... was not a put on, it turns out.”

The Art of Space Art
Kastalia Medrano | The Paris Review
“Most objects in space are either so faint or so distant that even the newest generation of telescopes can’t return images that do them aesthetic justice. Hence the value of artists, who can extrapolate scientific findings into fantastical craters and overlarge moons, their colors dark with science-fiction vibrancy.”

On Set With This Is Us: TV’s Feel-Good Megahit Ups the Stakes in Season 2
Lacey Rose | The Hollywood Reporter
“The development pipeline already is being clogged with self-consciously soulful imitations as rivals looks to reverse-engineer its success, but replicating This Is Us won't come easy. Some credit the show's evocative tone for helping it to cut through, others its pitch-perfect casting. The only piece everyone, including [the creator Dan] Fogelman, seems to agree on is its significance as a cultural antidote.”

Tears of a Crazy Clown
Judy Berman | The Baffler
“Human nature, and carving real human beings out of Twin Peaks’s caricatures, turned out to be one of The Return’s central concerns. As the season progressed, it shattered any lingering impression of [David] Lynch as a detached, self-consciously quirky sadist, chuckling mirthlessly over the rottenness at the core of American life and the ignorance of any person who fails to see it.”

The Inevitability of Taylor Swift. Ready For It?
Kelsey McKinney | The Village Voice
“Unlike with the release of 1989 in 2014 ... Swift is no longer perceived as a sweet pop darling. In place of the critical and popular thrill over her new album, there has been a soft collective groan. The world, for many, feels so polarized, so dire, that cute and clever doesn’t cut it anymore.”

Asking Questions Louis C.K. Doesn’t Want to Answer
Cara Buckley | The New York Times
“‘There are these people in the world that we all talk about, and we want to know that they’re all good or they’re all bad,’ Louis C.K. said. ... ‘The uncomfortable truth is, you never really know. You don’t know anybody.’ ... It’s an observation that raises the question of how well do audiences know Louis C.K., a man who has built his career out of relentlessly, albeit thoughtfully, mining collective discomforts and taboos.”