1. “Bob Hoskins R.I.P.” The actor, who was best known for roles in The Long Good Friday and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, has died of pneumonia at the age of 71.
“His agent said he died on Tuesday in hospital, surrounded by family. The star won a Bafta and was Oscar nominated in 1987 for crime drama Mona Lisa, in which he starred opposite Sir Michael Caine and Robbie Coltrane. He announced he was retiring from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. ’We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob,’ the actor’s wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack said in a statement. ’Bob died peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time and thank you for your messages of love and support.’ Hoskins started out on the stage before embarking on a television and film career. On the small screen, he appeared in shows such as Play for Today, On the Move, Van der Valk and BBC drama The Street. On film, his credits also included Mermaids, Hook, Mrs Henderson Presents and Made in Dagenham. His last film role was in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.”
2. “Advice to Young Critics.” Matt Zoller Seitz lays down the law.
“5. Always make your editor’s life easier, not harder. This is a job, not just a pursuit. Your bosses do not exist to make you feel good about yourself. They have to crank shit out, and a lot of them don’t care how brilliant it is if it comes in late or has accuracy or structural problems that they have to solve. Journalism isn’t filled with just-OK writers because that’s what editors want. It’s filled with just-OK writers because editors don’t want to have to put out fires after regular office hours unless there’s a damned good reason. So hit your deadlines. Turn in copy that’s as smart and clean and exciting as can be under the circumstances. Take responsibility for your words. If you’re not sure about an assertion, don’t just leave it in the piece and hope somebody else catches it before publication: research and confirm it, or else delete the assertion and write around it. I lose more sleep over corrections than anything else related to journalism. That most errors are easily preventable only makes the discomfort worse.”
3. “Bombast: The Afghan Whigs.” Nick Pinkerton on a band you may not have heard of but should listen to today.
“Gentlemen and In Utero were both important albums for me as a kid, though in the last decade I’ve almost never had occasion to revisit In Utero, while Gentlemen has been in nearly constant rotation. This is attributable to more than just the plain fact that Kurt Cobain’s addiction had begun to erode his musical gifts by the time that the band went to the studio for In Utero. There was also a basic attitudinal difference. Like many of my generational coevals, I felt a little bitter and left in the lurch when Kurt decided to French-kiss a shotgun. In high school, a good friend recorded a whingy-sounding cover of Nirvana’s ’Come As You Are’ that broke off midway with the original lyrics ’I don’t care that Kurt Cobain is dead / He sucked a fat dick he used heroin…’ Nirvana were great and all, but Kurt’s boundless self-pity and masochism didn’t offer a particularly workable formula for getting through day-to-day life. (I suppose this explains my inordinate fondness for ’Drain You,’ one of the few occasions where Kurt plays the vampire himself, rather than offering up his neck.) The Whigs, however, had a rugged survivalist streak, even if this betrayed another sort of paranoiac, trust-averse neurosis. The credo could be boiled down to a lyric in ’Conjure Me’: ’I’m gonna turn on you before you turn on me.”
4. “Has life in the age of casual magic made moviegoers numb to the amazing?” And if so, whose fault is that?
“There is nothing more dangerous to storytellers than the idea of an audience that is incapable of awe anymore, and yet that’s what our studio system seems determined to create. It’s like putting someone on an all ice cream diet. If you forced someone to eat ice cream breakfast, lunch, and dinner without any interruption, that person would eventually learn to detest ice cream. The thought of it would make them physically ill. You would destroy it for them.”
5. “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: How Hip-Hop Failed Black America, Part II.” This is the second in a weekly series of six essays looking at hip-hop’s recent past, thinking about its distant past, and wondering about the possibility of a future.
“What do people think of when they think about hip-hop? I don’t mean the technique of the music so much as its meaning. Technique is a limited part of any art form, really: how well Rapper X raps is important but not central. How devious or wonderful Producer X’s beats are can get you on your feet more quickly, but hip-hop isn’t an abstract sonic art form. It’s a narrative one. And what that means is that matter matters more than art. Or rather: what matters to art is its matter, what it’s about, the ideas it communicates to its audience. The other aspects serve it, but perfect performance and production of empty ideas can’t fake the fill. I hope this isn’t a controversial view. It shouldn’t be.”
Video of the Day: Richard Brody on The Long Day Closes:
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