Wandering Eye: Eddie Murphy returns, Rihanna gets profiled, and more

Last week, the New York Times published a profile on Rihanna, written by the artist/writer/filmmaker Miranda July, so it is, fittingly, just as much a portrait of July as it is of Rihanna. Beginning and ending with a story about her Uber driver who's a big Rihanna fan, this piece is full of introspective/self-aware Miranda July-isms like this: "'You're a "next-moment" person,' [Rihanna] surmised. 'Not an "in-the-moment" person.' 'Yeah,' I admitted, knowing that this is the wrong kind of person to be." They talked about Rihanna's fear of childbirth and what it does to the vagina (Rihanna notes: "if they can't feel the end, it's like, Cannonball!") which prompted July to explore that notion in this small side tangent: "Cannonball meant sailing into space — into something never-ending, like the cosmos. Men like to know that there is an end to the woman they’re with, that she’s finite. It’s an impossible line to walk. You want to be global, but down to earth. In the moment but also one step ahead of it." Later on, July writes that it "seemed somehow wrong" to ask Rihanna a question about being a "young black woman with power in America," so July instead "asked if she had suddenly felt aware of race in a different way when she moved to New York." Rihanna says she felt this "mostly when I would do business deals," and that "people can assume something of me without knowing me, just by my packaging.’’ And then July cuts to another aside, musing about the way celebrities are packaged, which makes us wonder if the conversation kind of died there or if it might've been a more interesting conversation if July had let a little more Rihanna into it. (Rebekah Kirkman)

 

Comedian Eddie Murphy did something he hasn't done in nearly three decades: told a joke onstage. Receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Murphy riffed on and impersonated Bill Cosby, the disgraced comedian who received the reward in 2009. "Did you all make him give it back?" Murphy asked the audience before busting out a Cosby impression. (Watch it in full here.) What's especially interesting about this is Murphy declined to play Cosby in the 40th-anniversary special of "Saturday Night Live," during the height of the controversy surrounding Cosby following dozens of rape allegations. Murphy addressed that decision and hinted at several future projects in this really great Washington Post profile from last week. (Brandon Weigel)

 

Political horse-race news: Donald Trump and Ben Carson are running away from the rest of the Republican field, according to a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. What's most interesting is happening just below the top two. Voters are moving away from Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, with numbers showing a slim margin between those who say they "could support" their candidacies and those who say they "could not support." This poll doesn't reflect the most recent tactic employed by the Bush campaign: bringing up George W. Bush and how he "kept us safe" after 9/11. John Dickerson at Slate frames it this way: "This war of words is a test of Bush's ability to take on the GOP front-runner, but it is also another way in which Trump is challenging the articles of faith in the Republican Party." (Brandon Weigel)

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