Outside Reading — There’s Another Great edition

The Gag Is: Keke Palmer Is a Movie Star by Niela Orr

The dazzling standout from Nope is profiled in The New York Times Magazine. Beyond being charmed anew by the vibrancy of Keke Palmer — that somehow comes through even on the page — I’m impressed at the astuteness of writer Niela Orr’s comparisons: to vaudevillians, to silent film stars, to endless versatile entertainers such as Carol Burnett, and, my favorite, to Joe Pesci. Orr’s context is required to fully understand and appreciate that last one, but I’ll not elaborate here. I’m a little perturbed that Orr elides Palmer’s impressive commitment to leveraging her charisma to press for more equitable social justice, because that seems like an attribute that the readers of the Grey Lady’s glossy Sunday supplement show know about. Then again, there are going to be lots of opportunities to type her virtues. Palmer isn’t going away any time soon.

Serena Williams’ spectacular tennis career changed how we view women by Ann Killion

Now that Serena Williams has announced her pending retirement, there are going to be so many valedictory think pieces, maybe enough enough to test the capacity limits of the internet itself. That’s what happens when the greatest professional tennis player of all time (gender qualifier not required) steps away from the game. In the first wave of considerations, this piece by Ann Killion is the strongest I’ve read. It properly positions Williams’s influence on society apart from the sport she dominated. This article is published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

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