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    Fri. October 9

    Chrissie Hynde is Right About Responsibility

    Kyle Smith

    The outpouring of feminist rage directed at Chrissie Hynde in recent weeks raises an important question: Is feminism about wanting what is best for women, and urging it to happen? Or is it about believing that women can, and maybe even should, behave like men?

    “It’s almost like a lynch mob,” Hynde, the founder of The Pretenders and one of the most enduring and successful female rock artists in the history of that medium, said in an NPR interview this week.

    Like many a heretic before her, Hynde has suffered a public stoning, (in her case on social media), for stating in her autobiography Reckless that she has no one but herself to blame for a sexual assault she suffered at the hands of a biker gang when she was 21. “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full…

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    Fri. October 9

    Seth Meyers Strokes Liberal Egos, Calls it Comedy

    Andrew Stiles

    Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show in August was a devastating blow for his liberal fans. With Stewart gone, they wondered, to whom could they possibly turn for humor-themed validation of their political views on a nightly basis?

    What about Stephen Colbert, who’s hosting The Late Show these days? Maybe, but he’s just not as fun or partisan when he’s out of character. He was nice to Jeb Bush, for crying out loud, and said he’d consider voting for him.

    Maybe Stewart’s Daily Show replacement, Trevor Noah, will be almost as good? Maybe, but not if he keeps making problematic jokes about AIDS and Whitney Houston. Why can’t he just play clips of politicians saying things and then make a funny face for the camera like the good old days?

    Perhaps liberal viewers could look outside the Comedy Central universe? Stewart fans…

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    Celebrities, Television

  • picture-manwhoshotlibertyvalance-diningroom

    Fri. October 9

    Why We Don’t Need Yet Another Remake of ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’

    Jack Butler

    On September 30, Variety reported that The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has joined the ever-expanding list of classic films Hollywood intends to remake. The 1962 John Ford-directed Western stars Jimmy Stewart as idealistic frontier lawyer Ransom Stoddard and John Wayne as gruff but moral gunslinger Tom Doniphon. Set in a state of nature where the strong, such as eponymous outlaw Liberty Valance, dominate the weak, Liberty Valance portrays a seemingly straightforward struggle between Stoddard’s desire to bring law to this chaotic frontier setting and Valance’s desire to keep it the lawless place where he and his men rule by force.

    If Hollywood wanted to remake Liberty Valance as a Western, it would be nearly impossible to match the caliber of the original cast and crew.  Perhaps that’s why the remake will take place in “a relatively contemporary period, such as 1980s Western Pennsylvania amid the retrenchment of the steel…

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  • bluntemily

    Thu. October 8

    Emily Blunt Needs a Civics Lesson

    Abby W. Schachter

    It is comforting that actress Emily Blunt has others write her lines for her because when she goes off script, she flubs it big time.

    Blunt deserves congratulations now that she is a newly minted naturalized American citizen. Mazal tov and welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave, Ms. Blunt. Indeed, as an immigrant myself, I say that with a full heart.

    What Blunt has said about becoming a citizen, however, is the performance that earns her an epic fail.

    Blunt didn’t pursue citizenship so that she could be an American like her husband, the actor John Krasinski, though presumably she got her citizenship through the marriage. (We’d have a much more straightforward immigration system if she had received citizenship through employment, but that’s a different conversation.) And it wasn’t because she wanted to become a fully functioning member of the country, either—one who…

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  • pope-fiat

    Thu. October 8

    “Less is More”: The New Celebrity Trend?

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Is small the new big?

    A recent story in The Wall Street Journal documenting Moby’s real estate “downsizing” prompted the question. Moby, a singer and songwriter, has long been known for his over-the-top real estate purchases. But he is trading everything in for one smaller and simpler home in Los Angeles.

    Shortly after reading about Moby’s move from big to small, I came across a profile of comedian Jim Gaffigan in the Financial Times that described how he and his wife live with their five children in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Five children. Two bedrooms. 

    Gaffigan, a committed Catholic, recently performed for another well-known downsizer:  Pope Francis. The pontiff has repeatedly denounced lavish wealth and practices what he preaches; he lives not in the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican but in a simple guestroom in the nearby Casa Santa Marta. Upon seeing the papal…

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    Celebrities, Culture

  • KaseyMusgrove-ftr

    Thu. October 8

    A (Country Music) Truce in the Culture Wars

    Brian J. Peterson

    Pop-country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves is a fascinating example of art intersecting with politics. At a time when a resurgent strain of political correctness dominates the cultural conversation, Musgraves demonstrates a willingness to reject censorious tendencies and tolerate the pluralism of her neighbors, offering a level-headed perspective that has the rare power to cut across partisan lines.

    Musgrave first made waves in 2013 with her terrific major-label debut, Same Trailer Different Park. The album announced the arrival of a new star; critics fell for her right alongside the public (and the Grammys), wooed by the record’s against-type progressivism. Rolling Stone even included her self-love anthem, “Follow Your Arrow,” in their top 40 country songs of all time—and it’s not even the best cut on the disc.

    The track’s inclusion isn’t altogether mysterious, since the song proudly displays her lefty bona fides: “Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys/ Or…

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    Wed. October 7

    The Return of “Slut-o-ween?”

    Chelsea Samelson

    Get ready, folks, it’s that time of year again: Time for the annual cultural debate about overly sexualized Halloween costumes.

    Every year, toddlers, tweens, teens, and adults alike face the challenge of finding a costume that suits them in a culture that turns every celebrity, Disney character, profession, and animal into a sluttier . . . er, I mean, “sexier,” version of itself.

    People have been complaining about the slut-ification of Halloween for years, and yet every year consumers can find a growing array of costumes that push the boundaries of modesty and taste. Last Halloween, for example, witnessed the debut of the “Sexy Ebola Nurse” costume. Seriously.

    Many women eagerly participate in the sexy Halloween costume pageant, lashing out at anyone who criticizes them as engaging in “slut-shaming.” “It’s just one night a year!” they reason. “It’s innocent and harmless!” “Adults should have fun too!”

    To each adult her…

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    Culture, Fashion

  • Toronto-protester

    Wed. October 7

    Angry Vegan Antics

    R. J. Moeller

    In our hypersensitive age, if you want to start an argument, just ask people what they like to eat.  Better yet, show up where they eat and stage a protest!

    Recently, in Toronto, Canada, an animal-rights group called Direct Action Everywhere invaded a steakhouse in a “guerrilla-style” protest to make a point about the horrors of eating meat. They waved signs that said, “It’s not food. It’s violence,” and repeatedly asked the hostess if the restaurant also served dog meat.


    The customers—excuse me, heartless carnivores—enjoying their meals were evidently nonplussed, according to the Huffington Post:

    Diners appear mostly amused and eventually the demonstrators are politely ushered out. This is Canada, after all.

    Angry vegans argue that they are taking a stand for the rights of animals, who are presumably being exploited by our eating of them. The steakhouse protesters chanted, “Freedom for all. Justice for…

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    Tue. October 6

    Should We Try to Stop Our Biological Clocks?

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Can we beat the female biological clock? Our culture seems obsessed with answering this question. Silicon Valley companies looking to hire and retain top female talent are now offering egg freezing as a job benefit. IVF has long made it possible for some women to put off having children until an age when childbearing used to be unthinkable. And now a new fertility treatment called OvaPrime claims to have found a way to stimulate new egg growth in women whose store of eggs, complete at birth, is depleted.

    As The Daily Beast put it, if OvaPrime becomes a success, it “could mean the end of the biological clock for women.” Americans seem obsessed with conquering that pesky clock. And we seem to have come close to succeeding. A trip to the park or a Gymboree class in the wealthy neighborhoods of America’s big cities reveals a world where it’s hard…

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    Tue. October 6

    Should We Ban School Reading Logs?

    Stephanie Cohen

    On a recent evening my son sat down to put the final touches on his September reading log for school. In addition to checking off the days when he read for at least 20 minutes, he wrote down the titles of the books he had completed reading that month. The next day, another log came home for October. And so begins 10 months of charting what he reads in third grade.

    The reading log is embraced and despised in equal doses by parents today, depending on whether they view it as an act of familial responsibility or yet another school chore thrust upon time-sensitive, over-scheduled families. Leah Singer wrote recently in defense of the reading log, examining the claims of parents who hate this form of “forced reading” and happily admit to falsifying their children’s reading logs.

    The reading log is part personal achievement, part academic policing, and part home-school partnership.…

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