“In its constant give and take, constant pushing up against its own boundaries, tennis is among our most nuanced contests. That so much of the competition is imperceptible and can only be captured in abstraction only makes it more apt for artistic treatment. There a few things so hypnotic as a world-class volley, eyes and heads and hearts and stomachs turning with the rhythm, and when the service is broken, we are still left with the shining winner and the sweat-soaked loser, down and out on the green grass of Wimbledon or the orange clay of Roland Garros.
Tennis is dignified in a way that boxing isn’t, and allows us to duel in a civilized manner, the pistols-at-dawn to boxing’s barroom brawl. In Nabokov’s masterpiece, Humbert only strikes Lolita once, a “tremendous backhand cut that caught her smack on her hot hard little cheekbone,” and Nabokov knew this was all it took.”
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in October 2013
“To see a greyhound run is a marvelous thing, as great and beautiful and natural as a thoroughbred and twice as funny. They are little bundles of lean muscle, with legs like parentheses, spines like S’s and the pointed snouts of a harpoon; when the gates open up and the lure races by, these parenthetical expressions come bounding out of the bunkerlike starter box, jowls peeled back in maniacal smiles, all turnover and pigeon head bob, decompression and re-compression, S to line segment, S to line segment.
These are the most ludicrous pictures of athleticism outside of professional wrestling, and there is some innate joy in it, on both sides of the convex low-def screen. It is beautiful and strange, and a full slate of races is hypnotic in its repetition and addictive for its brevity.”
Editor’s note: This profile originally ran in January 2013
“The simple fact is that the Big Dipper is saying nothing that countless straight rappers have not said before, and the novelty of hearing it applied, with skill, mind you, to the male anatomy is something to bemoan, not laud; it is the skill with which he gets vulgar, rather than who he is getting vulgar with, that would be the focus in a perfect world. But while we can take the rubbernecking factor as a negative, or cultural tourism, there is also something inherently positive to be found in the Dipper’s explicit bars. As part of a new guard of gay rappers, he has been afforded the ability to rap and be gay, rather than rap about being gay; to devote himself to songs of carnal pleasure, rather than fighting vehemently for his political rights. Basically, the Big Dipper and other like him represent a dramatic sea change in gay hip-hop: By having to say nothing, they are saying everything.”