Feb 21 • 59M

What's Bradley Cooper's Deal?

Let's do some image analysis

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A podcast about the culture that surrounds you — with Anne Helen Petersen and a bunch of very smart co-hosts
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Every month I pick an episode of the Culture Study Podcast I think will be of particular crossover interest to the rest of the newsletter audience....and this month it's THE ONE AND ONLY SAM SANDERS and I hashing through Bradley Cooper's image. What does he want, other than an Oscar? What's going on with the cheesesteak stand? Is he a serious person? Plus: Sam and I offer advice to a person who feels slightly ashamed of their love of pop culture and celebrity gossip. You can listen here or wherever you get your podcasts — and be sure to check out the back catalog. -

Bradley Cooper would very much like an Oscar. If you’ve been paying attention to Hollywood at any point over the last five years, you know this. It’s evident in the films he makes, the way he talks about them, the cheesesteak food truck he opened for a weekend to keep himself in the press cycle. There’s nothing wrong with wanting an Oscar — what actor doesn’t want one?! — but what happens when that desire becomes the overarching theme of your entire image? The dominant way the public understands you?

The great Sam Sanders joins the pod to talk about Cooper’s star image, Hollywood masculinity, and the Tracy Flick of it all.

[If you’re familiar with Culture Study/my work/Sam’s work, you’ll recognize this type of star image analysis — if not, a reminder that we’re talking about what Cooper means, not trying to *be* mean.]


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Show Notes:


We’re currently looking for your questions for future episodes about:

  • Online shopping culture, including but not limited to people’s reliance on reviews and/or compulsion to leave reviews

  • Student loans— how we talk about them, think about them, take this wherever you want

  • The romance novel boom

  • Anything you need advice on!

  • You can submit them (and ideas for future eps) here (and here’s the subscriber-only priority form)


For today’s discussion: What is your theory about Cooper’s ~whole deal~? What confuses you, what beguiles you, what makes you have soft or hard or annoying feelings about him?