BY JESSICA GROSS
As usual, now that our LABA discussions have primed me toward BEAUTY, the subject has been leaping out at me from all corners, from the highbrow to the lowbrow:
- Critic Mark Harris examines the media’s willful refusal to acknowledge Melissa McCarthy’s dependable bankability and talent at performing diverse roles: “Critics can like or dislike these movies and her work in them, but to survey them in toto and perceive uniformity feels like a willful refusal to see her at all, an insistence that the difference between her various performances matters less than the sameness of her strange determination to continue to be Melissa McCarthy while starring in movies. Is it because she looks so different than other movie stars that some people have convinced themselves she’s always the same?”
- In a hilarious piece for Jezebel, writer extraordinaire Jia Tolentino tries on all the clothing in Beyoncé’s new line Ivy Park, “a line of athleisure that in theory was constructed around the idea of making you feel more like Beyoncé but in practice obviously dramatically expands the already significant difference between ‘you’ and ‘feeling like Beyoncé.'”
- “I’m drawn to art in which things are a little askew. Straight realism isn’t very interesting to me; I like to see the interference of consciousness, the way perception is muddied by a unique interpreting mind. El Greco’s paintings are eccentric, strange, willful; I loved them. Standing in front of his Portrait of Fray Hortensio, I couldn’t help wondering what an editor would make of it: the obviously strange angle of the back of the chair, for instance, or the weird positioning of the hands. Wouldn’t an editor want to make those less strange, to straighten those things out? And yet wasn’t their strangeness the key to the greatness of the painting?” That’s novelist Garth Greenwell in a gorgeous piece for Blunderbuss on editing his debut novel, What Belongs to You.
- In an essay for Greatist (originally published on TrainDeep), trainer and writer Jonathan Angelilli examines the “pornification” of the fitness industry. “Does your personal trainer or fitness coach have to be hyper-sexualized in order to motivate you?” he writes. “Do people actually want to develop their own power, or are they happy to just passively consume someone else’s? We both love being associated with these beautiful people and secretly hate ourselves for not being more like them. This is passive consumption at its worst.”
- And an essay by yours truly on finding beauty in the urban outdoors appeared on the podcast Out There, hosted by Willow Belden.