Cardi B is an accomplished rapper, a fashion icon, an incisive political commentator. And now, like so many people holed up in their homes practicing social distancing, she is exploring a new hobby: TV criticism. On Thursday night, Cardi B livetweeted her viewing of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, the new Netflix docuseries about Joe Exotic, a flamboyant, poly, exotic-cat wrangler and zoo-owner in Oklahoma with a stupendous, bleached-blond mullet, who was arrested several years ago for his involvement in a murder-for-hire scheme. It is an astounding, captivating, and utterly bizarre show full of leopard-printed twists and turns, and one that demands the viewer’s rapt attention, as Cardi noted early on.
But once she fully applied herself to unpacking the Tiger King universe, she quickly developed strong opinions about the events and characters depicted therein. Specifically about Carole Baskin, the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, and Joe Exotic’s nemesis, whose second husband disappeared years ago under mysterious circumstances.
And Joe, she argued, had been done dirty “over and over again.”
Like the most successful critics, though, Cardi didn’t just impose her own interpretations on the reader. She encouraged viewers to develop their own opinions, and examine their own reactions to the series.
She also elevated the work of other creators, retweeting this unsettling yet weirdly beautiful Photoshop mashup of her face and Joe Exotic’s — a subtle yet powerful reminder that great art should challenge the viewer.
Currently, the 2020 Pulitzer finalists are scheduled to be announced in April. Hopefully, the board will not overlook this powerful, emerging voice in cultural criticism.