Nicki Minaj and HBO Europe: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about arts and entertainment

Nicki Minaj
Arthur Mola / Invision / AP

Nicki Minaj, Always in Control
Roxane Gay | T: The New York Times Style Magazine
“I am stunned by the number of people Minaj has at her service. … She is the center of gravity for a great many professionals, and she wears that responsibility well. When her eyes are done, Minaj sits on the adjacent couch, arranging her robe to her liking. There is regality in how she sits. That she is wearing a bathrobe is utterly inconsequential. A queen is a queen regardless.”

HBO Europe: The Best TV You’ve Never Seen
Scott Roxborough | The Hollywood Reporter
“Before Narcos, before The Crown, before Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ever thought of making series outside the U.S., there was another big American broadcaster already out there, digging deep in high-end TV. For the past seven years, quietly and almost unnoticed outside the industry, HBO Europe has been turning out ambitious, award-winning, and, yes, game-changing drama in countries many American HBO subscribers would struggle to locate on a map.”

All the Other Harvey Weinsteins
Molly Ringwald | The New Yorker
“We all seem to have a Harvey story, each one a little different but with essentially the same nauseating pattern and theme. Women were bullied, cajoled, manipulated, and worse, and then punished. … While my own Harvey story may be different, I have had plenty of Harveys of my own over the years, enough to feel a sickening shock of recognition.”

How Instagram Helped Discover One of This Year’s Breakout Movie Stars
Brian Raftery | Wired
“Thanks to Tangerine's critical success, [Sean] Baker could easily have landed an established performer to play Halley, the impoverished but timber-tough single mom whose financial desperation leads to some calamitous decisions. Yet, none of the contenders felt right. … The casting call he needed, it turned out, would come from his smartphone.”

The Lonely Crusade of Jim DeRogatis
Mark Caro | Chicago
“Most people familiar with DeRogatis don’t think of him as an investigative journalist, though he’s happy to recount his roots as a Jersey Journal cub reporter getting a councilman indicted for voter fraud. DeRo, as his friends call him, is best known as a rock critic—or, in his case, a Rock Critic.”

Too Many TV Shows Use Music to Glorify ’70s New York. The Deuce Is Different.
Judy Berman | Pitchfork
“Though very little of the music on the show is live, all of it is diegetic—part of the scene, not piped in after the fact to heighten viewer emotions. This choice goes a long way towards dispelling the aura of period nostalgia that has surrounded so many recent prestige-TV depictions of New York in the ’70s. … For better and worse, their splashy syncs glamorized the era’s violence and sleaze. In comparison, The Deuce feels more like a documentary.”

What Does Roy Price’s Departure Mean for Amazon Studios?
Josef Adalian | Vulture
“What exactly does winning look like for a streamer like Amazon? …  Stand-alone video entities like Netflix or HBO or AMC clearly need big programs to drive subscriptions to their services, but Amazon is unique among streamers. … Video content is the only reason to subscribe to Netflix; consumers have multiple rationales for paying their annual Amazon Prime fee.”

This Will Be Our Year: The Dodgers Finally Break Through to Clinch Long-Awaited World Series Berth
Stephanie Apstein | Sports Illustrated
“The friendliest half-truth in sports is that teams play for the fans. They appreciate the energy their home crowds provide, but it takes a special set of circumstances for a postseason quest to seem driven by the city itself. … It’s not like that for the Dodgers and Los Angeles. … The Dodgers are doing this for themselves and for each other.”