1. “The Lessons of Lost.” Grantland’s Andy Greenwald on understanding the most important network show of the past 10 years.
“Lost was more than a TV show. It was a sort of shared madness, a delirium that ranged far beyond Wednesday nights at 10. And, as such, it should have heralded a new golden age for the graying networks. During Lost’s reign, cable channels were still focused on the highbrow character dramas that had earned them buckets full of press and prestige—not to mention ratings that threatened to catapult them into the biggest of leagues. (The Walking Dead premiered five months after Lost went dark. Game of Thrones arrived the following April. Together, they would push cable into an entirely different sport.) Then, as now, networks needed to operate on a larger playing field both to differentiate themselves from their more nimble cable competitors and to sustain their far more demanding revenue model. A wholly original multimedia supernova like Lost isn’t easily replicated. But what’s most disheartening today is to see how little the big four seem inclined to try. After a few years packed with soulless cover versions like The Event and The Nine (more on those below), network executives threw up their hands and moved on: Lost was sui generis.”
2. “Eric Holder Resigns, Setting Up Fight Over Successor.” The potential attorney general choices are already heating up.
“White House officials said that Mr. Obama had not yet decided on a successor, with one official saying the president was ’a long way’ from an announcement. In a ceremony in the State Dining Room on Thursday, Mr. Obama said Mr. Holder had promised to stay in his job until a successor was confirmed. ’I chose him to serve as attorney general because he believes, as I do, that justice is not just an abstract theory—it’s a living and breathing principle,’ Mr. Obama said, adding that Mr. Holder used the law to improve people’s lives. ’That’s why I made him America’s lawyer, the people’s lawyer.’ Mr. Holder’s resignation was not a surprise; he had said previously that he planned to leave office by the end of 2014 after six years in the job.”
3. “Who and What the Hell Is a White Hispanic?” Christina Saenz-Alcántara, for Latino Rebels, parses the contentious label.
“’White Hispanics’ as Buffers between the White Elite and Darker Non-Elite: As a critical complement to Vargas’ essay, The Blinker’s Geoffery Mullings argues that ’white Hispanics’ are socially positioned somewhere between being a beneficiary of white privilege and victim of cultural racism. To use their term, ’white Hispanics’ are buffers—liaisons between the white elite and the darker non-elite. While ’white Hispanics’ may have some upward mobility, they will never be fully accepted into the white elite and hence will never be in a position of power or control. The article’s example cites the career of Spanish Cuban and ’white Hispanic’ Rafael Pineiro, the First Deputy Commissioner and highest ranking Hispanic in the NYPD. After Pineiro was passed up as the possible first Hispanic NYPD Commissioner for Bill Bratton, Mullings positions that Pineiro was never seriously considered as the NYPD’s top dog and that he was politically useful to be the Executive Officer for the Latino-majority Bronx and second-in-command during the racially charged times of ’stop and frisk.’ According to Mullings, Pineiro’s lighter skin allowed him to make contact with the top but his Spanish-Cuban ancestry never gave him full access to the top.”
4. “Pynchon’s Cameo, and Other Surrealities.” Logan Hill chats with Paul Thomas Anderson about Inherent Vice.
“Surely Mr. Pynchon, 77, would be tempted by such an inside joke? Told that other sources had confirmed a cameo, Mr. Anderson stared intently into his salad and poked around with his fork, either looking for an answer among the summer beets, fighting back a grin or both. ’I’m staying out of it!’ Mr. Anderson said eventually. ’No. No. I just—.’ He trailed off, running a hand through his shaggy, sandy blond hair, a pained look on his face. ’Somebody spent a long time deciding not to have themselves out there. There’s a reason for that. So I’m just going to step out of that.’ Asked for any comment whatsoever, a representative for Penguin Press, Mr. Pynchon’s publisher, said, ’Mr. Pynchon is not giving any interviews at this time.’”
5. “Remembering Phil Hartman.” The late comedian is remembered by Jack Handey.
“Phil was cool under fire. I could go to him in the few minutes between dress and air, usually in the makeup room where they were applying a silly wig or prosthetic I had made him wear, and tell him that I had cut a page out of the script, that now he’d be saying this instead of that, that the chair would now break when he sat down on it, etc. He would calmly look over the changes and absorb them. I think he enjoyed the pressure.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for Michael Mann’s Blackhat:
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