1. “Grammy Awards 2015: The Full List.” The full rundown of who won what on music’s biggest night.
“Sam Smith took home four Grammy awards at the 57th annual edition of music’s biggest night, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. It’s quite a haul for someone unknown to mainstream audiences just a year ago. ’I’m having a really, really good night,’ said the 22-year-old Smith upon receiving his Grammy for Song of the Year, which he won for ’Stay With Me.’ Though Smith was clearly the night’s big winner, his wins represent just a small fraction of the total number of golden gramophones handed out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles—there were 83 in all. Beyoncé and Pharrell pulled in three apiece, as did Rosanne Cash. Plenty of music’s top earners grabbed a smaller share of Grammy glory, including Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album), Tiesto (Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical) and Rihanna (Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, with Eminem). And Beck shocked the world by nabbing the award for Album of the Year.”
2. ”Better Call Saul Borrows From Breaking Bad, But It’s Already Coming Into Its Own.” Matt Zoller Seitz on the Breaking Bad prequel.
“There’s something poignant about the look of this show: It syncs up with the sight of so many characters struggling to hold on to whatever standards they have left in a world that gives people many reasons to lie but only one to tell the truth. Breaking Bad presented all sorts of institutions, including medicine, criminal justice, and public education, as neglected, outdated, or defective machines that could be easily gamed by desperate or diabolical people. Better Call Saul seems poised to do the same for the American legal system.”
3. “How Many White People Does It Take to Ruin a Good Joke?” The gentrification of racial humor.
“This is how the party ends—with white people wanting in on the joke so badly that they create a separate category of ’cool’ white people who mock their own whiteness in an effort at solidarity. ’White people be like ’white people be like,’ but they be the white people that white people be like!!!!’ as one Tumblr post neatly summarized. I’m not trying to bar white people from being self-deprecating—far from it. But when a source of solace for people of color is co-opted this way, does it lose all its power? Is it funny anymore? And if it is, is it still OK to laugh?”
4. “Black Men Were Burned Alive in the Bible Belt.” Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads.
“The victim’s name was Jesse Washington. The year was 1916. America would soon go to war in Europe ’to make the world safe for democracy.’ My father was twelve, my mother eight. I was born 18 years later, at a time, I would come to learn, when local white folks still talked about Washington’s execution as if it were only yesterday. This was not medieval Europe. Not the Inquisition. Not a heretic burned at the stake by some ecclesiastical authority in the Old World. This was Texas, and the white people in that photograph were farmers, laborers, shopkeepers, some of them respectable congregants from local churches in and around the growing town of Waco.”
5. “Star Wreck.” Wesley Morris on the noble badness of the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending and how it trumps the abominable Seventh Son.
“The scenes of Tatum power-skating and surfing across the sky and away from the film’s many infernos are oddly magical. Getting around that way looks hard, and Tatum doesn’t look embarrassed to be pretending to do it. He looks soulfully committed to the exertion of all that energy. He’s better here than he is in something like Foxcatcher, which needs an actor who can tell you what’s going on even when his lips aren’t moving. He’s one of those stars who’s better in motion, with physical work to do. He almost never stops moving here. Kunis is a different story. She’s the coolest, least urgent actor I’ve ever seen running from explosions and raining debris. It’s as if she wants you to know it’s all make-believe, to see the green screen. In the action sequences, she’s working against the siblings’ humanity mission. She wants you to know she’s a prop.”
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