Monday, November 22, 2010

On Four Things Worth Reading About Three Controversial Cultural Figures

1. Kanye. "Nobody halfway sane could have made this album," writes Rob Sheffield, and that sounds about right. The point is this: Art is an inherently self-conscious pursuit, and so when an artist is able to create something that seems entirely devoid of self-consciousness, it is generally worth paying attention to. This album is the musical equivalent of Usain Bolt running a 9.69 while preening for the final forty meters. It is, as Zach Baron writes, our whole f-ed up hyperaccelerated culture, balled together and spit out in 13 completely insane cuts.

2. The Situation. Well, not The Situation, actually. I couldn't give a damn about The Situation, and I find Jersey Shore repels my conscience to the point that I've actually had to leave the room when my future wife deigns to watch it. But Alex Pappademas's profile of The Situation for GQ manages to render The Situation's situation into high-art. Exhibit A: "Jersey Shore explicitly exoticized the world it depicted, highlighting its cast's earring-ripping catfights, their cavalier hookups, their gaudy Gothic-lettered T-shirts, their rampant hair-gel abuse, and their shitty taste in dance music; they even treated half the footage with an old-timey-newsreel filter that made the show resemble a snuff film." Go read the rest right now.

3. LeBron James. Well, not LeBron James, really, but Brian Windhorst, who covers James and the Miami Heat for Several thousand years ago, when I worked at a newspaper in Akron, Ohio, Windhorst was an overachieving high-school kid working on the night desk, so attuned to the local sports scene that his nickname was "Scoop." He worked his way up to covering the Cavaliers for the Beacon Journal, jumped to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and then took his talents to South Beach, following LeBron all the way through his career. Michael Kruse of the St. Pete Times spent a little time with Brian, and what results is a lovely little piece about two lives intertwined, and about what it means to leave home.

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