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Arts and Entertainment

Best Role Model

John Waters

John Waters is and always will be known for his depravity: for publicizing the previously unspeakable, for casting criminals as actors, for celebrating the campy, the lowbrow, the perverse. But his new memoir, Role Models, reminds us that Waters isn’t just motivated by cheap thrills, despite his healthy appreciation for them. His profiles of his own role models—from Tennessee Williams to an ex-Manson girl to a reclusive pornographer—reveal him to be a kind-hearted, deeply moral person. His oeuvre may be “assaultive,” as Stephen Colbert recently put it, but the world could do with a little more open-minded curiosity like his.

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