Outside Reading — The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn’s Wardrobe

Birds Of Prey’s costumes changed the game for female superheroes by Caroline Siede

Although I remain devoted to the Academy Awards as an important and reasonably effective — if hardly infallible — measure of what should be added to the ongoing canon of U.S. cinematic achievement, I have spent a lot of time the last few years thinking about the needlessly closed-off concepts of what constitutes work that merits consideration for showbiz’s most esteemed honor. Writing for The A.V. Club, Caroline Siede stumps for Erin Benach’s costume design in Birds of Prey, elaborating on the Academy’s plodding insistence on honoring all the same old fare and the related disinterest in including superhero fare in the category. More importantly, Siede makes a compelling argument that Benach’s efforts rescued the character — and her portrayer, Margot Robbie — from the sophomoric sexualization employed by David Ayer’s dreadful Suicide Squad.

This Senator Has Got the Math Wrong About a $15 Minimum Wage by Binyamin Appelbaum

In The New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum rightly calls to account the recent comments of a sixty-year-old Republican U.S. Senator, explaining his opposition to a minimum wage by citing what he earned per hour as a family-restaurant cook around four decades earlier. Whether genuinely believed or feigned to adhere to the barbaric callousness of his party’s policies, the elected representative’s proud ignorance of how money actually works in our society — beginning with the simple fact that six dollars an hour circa nineteen-eighty is not remotely equivalent to a similar wage now — is a complete embarrassment. The real problem, though, is that his stance — and commensurate unwillingness to support government policy to raise the minimum wage — exacts real harm on tens of millions of Americans, his constituents among them.

Bill Wright, Who Broke a Color Barrier in Golf, Dies at 84 by Richard Sandomir

To my knowledge, I was never introduced to the groundbreaking achievements of Bill Wright before I read his obituary. Winner of the 1959 U.S.G.A. Amateur Public Links Championship, Wright was the first Black person to win a national championship in golf. To put his title in perspective, it took two more years before the PGA abolished a bylaw mandating only “Caucasians” could participate in their competitions. Never forget that commonplace codification of overt bigotry across institutions is recent history. Richard Sandomir’s piece is published by The New York Times.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (2016) by Olivia Laing

Spurred by her time living alone and disconnected in New York City, British writer Olivia Laing wrote this book that is part rumination on isolation and part collection of capsule biographies of distinct iconoclasts such as Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, and Klaus Nomi. It’s a creative model that could easily result in a fragmentary work. Instead, The Lonely City is strikingly cohesive, made up of disparate thoughts all on the same thesis. Laing manages to keep looping the book back on itself, drawing together her varied subjects and her own reactions to time apart from other people who have a meaningful connection to her inner being. The book shows how a work of nonfiction can be melancholy and celebratory at the same time.

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