Outside Reading — The Garden of Good and Evil edition

Made for Television by Emily Nussbaum

Writing for The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum delivers an entertaining profile of spouses Robert and Michelle King and their splendid stable of offbeat television programs. Our household is all in on Evil, and we are charmed admirers of The Good Fight, but I’m especially happy that Nussbaum devotes a few column inches to the blessedly bonkers series Braindead. Nussabaum brings her usually sharp insight and casually perfect analysis to the piece, which is a proper celebration of the unique possibilities of the medium in which the Kings toil.

A Decade After DACA by Miriam Jordan

It’s been ten years since President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which was intended to be a stopgap measure that gave Congress time to reform U.S. immigration policy to provide a more humane approach to dealing with those who want to reside in this nation but don’t have the flukey benefit of being born within the imaginary lines drawn around this particular land mass. Obama should have known better. His unwillingness, shared by other established Democrats, to see that the opposition political party was increasingly defined by bigotry, obstructionism, and little else meant he was equally blind to the likelihood that nothing meaningful could be accomplished. Miriam Jordan reports on some of the kind, hopeful human beings the country has effectively abandoned, even betrayed with our stubborn refusal to progress. This is published by The New York Times.

Sticky Fingers (2017) by Joe Hagan

This biography of Jann Wenner understandably doubles as a history of Rolling Stone, the influential periodical he launched in 1967. The more the book covers the tumultuous times of the magazine, the stronger it is. That means it can be a bit of a grind on the backend of the tome, as Wenner becomes increasingly indifferent to what appears in the his glossy pages in favor of a glossier lifestyle afforded by his mounting wealth. In general, Hagan doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with that later era beyond rushed recounting some of the scandals and embarrassments (he mentions the Wenner-dictated placement of U2’s notorious mediocrity Songs of Innocence atop the magazine’s listing of the best albums of the year, but skips Wenner’s laughable five-star review of Mick Jagger’s Goddess in the Doorway). The author is clearly more invested in the rise of Rolling Stone (for a host of understandable reasons, really), and those portions of the book crackle with excitement, possibility, and danger, kind of like the best rock ‘n’ roll.

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