• Bill-Cosby (1)

    Tue. November 25

    The Cosby Conundrum: Can We Separate Fact from Fiction?

    Erin Vargo

    “You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.”— Bill Cosby

    A little over a month ago, a quick search for “Bill Cosby” on the Internet could have given you a toothache. Doting references to Cosby as a “pioneering comedian” and “all-around joyful fellow” would have popped up on the first page of Google results in honor of his “genial” and “beloved” personality. The moniker, “America’s Dad,” was practically etched in stone.

    Last week, that all changed amid renewed allegations that Cosby has—for decades—repeatedly used drugs and alcohol to sedate women into submitting to his sexual whims. Date rape is no laughing matter, and the irony of this is not lost on the public. Only rarely does the media and blogosphere seem so united in endorsing a brutal shaming in the court of…

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    Culture

    3 Comments

  • sevendeadlyvirtues-homepage

    Tue. November 25

    Gratitude: The Parent of All Other Virtues

    Jonathan V. Last

    From The Seven Deadly Virtues,  Jonathan Last discusses gratitude, the virtue “that allows us to appreciate what is good, to discern what should be defended and cultivated.” —  [Ed.]

    Picking a favorite virtue is like picking a favorite child: It’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to pretend not to do—but that everyone does anyway. We can toss chastity and temperance out of the ring straight off, obviously. They’re important, in their way, but exactly no one is going to make them contenders for the title. Same for thrift and simplicity. Nice to have, but not first-tier virtues. Fellowship is fine, but a luxury. And justice? As Rob Long suggests some pages down the line, that’s the virtue we’d much rather have done unto others than practiced on ourselves. No thanks.

    Some pages after that, Christopher Caldwell argues a pride of place for curiosity, “because…

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    The Seven Deadly Virtues

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  • Micahel+Keaton+Birdman

    Tue. November 25

    The Wonderfully Tragic World of ‘Birdman’

    R. J. Moeller

    The most interesting, unique and creative film of 2014 is, without a doubt, Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). I promise you this: you have never seen anything else quite like it.

    Michael Keaton heads an impressive ensemble of unforgettable characters in this dark comedy about fame, family, and the strange (however sincere) things people do in order to convince themselves that their lives matter. Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, an aging actor who rose to international stardom as a younger man in the fictionalized superhero trilogy Birdman. Struggling with the lingering emotional (and psychological) effects that being universally famous (presumably) brings with it, Riggan decides to leverage his financial and professional capital by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway play he hopes will bring him the critical praise he never got for playing a winged superhero on the silver screen.

    Shot masterfully (and surreally) by award-winning Mexican director Alejandro…

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    Movies

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  • Christmas-truce封面_1

    Mon. November 24

    Does This Christmas Ad Trivialize War?

    Mark Tapson

    One thing most everyone agrees on about Christmas is that it is over-commercialized. But a new long-form ad from a United Kingdom supermarket chain has sharply divided those who find it a moving expression of the true Christmas spirit from those who declare it crass exploitation.

    On Christmas Eve 1914, the year World War One broke out, German and Allied troops alike climbed out of the muddy trenches along parts of the Western front, met their enemies in the devastation of no man’s land, chatted and sang together, traded gifts, and were even rumored to have competed in a soccer match. The famed “Christmas truce” stood as a remarkable testament to the best of humanity in the midst of what was, up to that time, man’s worst inhumanity to man.

    Coincidentally, as research for another project, I am currently reading Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth…

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    Culture

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  • iStock_000009023233_Small

    Mon. November 24

    The Rise of the Stay At Home Dad

    Katrina Trinko

    Finally, we’re getting closer to equality in who gets to be at the stay at home parent.

    In recent decades, the number of stay at home dads has significantly increased: from 1.1 million in 1989 to 2 million in 2012, according to a June Pew Research Center survey.

    It’s even become enough of a trend to warrant an article in The New York Times Style section. Headlined “The Brotherhood of the Stay at Home Dad,” the article, published recently, described the 100 men who attended a retreat designed specifically for stay at home dads.

    And while some stay at home dads aren’t at home by choice, the number who are voluntarily choosing to be the stay at home parent is growing.  The Pew survey found a huge shift in attitudes among stay at home dads.  In 1989, only five percent of stay at home dads said they were at home because they were…

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    Culture

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  • DeliverUsFromEvil

    Fri. November 21

    ‘Deliver Us from Evil’: A Horror Film Worth Watching

    Mark Tapson

    The best horror films aren’t the remakes of Japanese ghost stories, the torture porn franchises, or the ones in which someone knows what you did last summer. They aren’t the ones in which scream queens are stalked by zombies or masked psychos or homicidal dolls. They are the ones that illuminate the human condition and the spiritual nature of evil. And the best one of those I’ve seen in a long time—in fact, the best demonic possession movie I’ve seen in the four decades since The Exorcist—is Deliver Us from Evil, now out on DVD.

    From the writer/director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, another well-done possession flick, Deliver Us from Evil is based on the real-life supernatural experiences of New York police sergeant Ralph Sarchie, played by Eric Bana. Sarchie grew up Catholic but abandoned religion at the age of twelve, so when…

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    Movies

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  • The-Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-Part-1-Jennifer-Lawrence-as-Katniss

    Fri. November 21

    The Futility of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’

    R. J. Moeller

    Let’s get one thing straight: I have enjoyed the previous installments of The Hunger Games movie franchise. I’m not a hater. But I’m also not a reader of the books. So I don’t know all of the subtle intricacies that are likely contained in the novels. After seeing the latest offering, Mockingjay: Part 1, I doubt that I’ll ever bother to read them.

    The movie, on the whole, is fine. It’s fairly interesting. It keeps your attention for about two hours. The acting is solid, including the final role of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s illustrious career. There are things blowing up and emotional pleas for the safety of innocents. It (allegedly) moves the trilogy’s story along. And you get to see the lovely Jennifer Lawrence cry and blubber like a lunatic. A lot.

    I won’t spend much time on the plot because…

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    Movies

    2 Comments

  • amypoehler-bestbuy

    Fri. November 21

    Amy Poehler and How Cell Phones Want to Kill Us

    Marina Olson

    The best comedians are those who notice reality as it is, and allow us to also see the absurdities that come with it. One of my favorite observers is Amy Poehler, whose deadpan delivery and comedic earnestness has been a central fixture of both SNL and Parks and Rec. But perhaps one of my favorite bits she has ever done was not on screen, but rather the concluding chapter of her new memoir, Yes Please. In a chapter entitled the robots will kill us all: a conclusion, Poehler discusses how cellphones aim to kill us. It’s both funny and sad, because it’s true.

    She begins by recounting an early cellphone encounter, after which she told her friend “Nope…I just don’t need it. Cellphones aren’t for me. What am I going to do? Carry this thing around all day?” As someone who is currently writing this article on a…

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    Books, Tech

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  • school discipline

    Thu. November 20

    Wasting Time 101: Coming to an Ivy League School Near You

    Gracy Olmstead

    Do you wish you could surf the Internet mindlessly all day?

    Lucky for you, there’s a class for that. Kenneth Goldsmith, a poetry professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is going to teach a new class in the coming spring semester—a class completely devoted to wasting time online:

    Although we’ll all be in the same room, our communication will happen exclusively through chat rooms and listservs, or over social media. Distraction and split attention will be mandatory. So will aimless drifting and intuitive surfing. The students will be encouraged to get lost on the Web, disappearing for three hours in a Situationist-inspired dérive, drowsily emerging from the digital haze only when class is over. We will enter a collective dreamspace…

    Nothing is off limits: if it is on the Internet, it is fair play. Students watching three hours of porn can use it as the basis…

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    Culture

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  • Anne-Hathaway-a-la-premiere-d-Interstellar-a-Londres_reference (1)

    Thu. November 20

    Redemption Time for Anne Hathaway?

    R. J. Moeller

    Over the past three years, Anne Hathaway has become the most disliked actress in Hollywood. Or at least the one that Twitter has mocked the most. The criticisms of Ms. Hathaway have reached epic proportions since 2011, the year she co-hosted the worst Academy Awards show in recent memory with the stoned corpse of James Franco. So, to be fair, she can’t take all of the blame there.

    In my opinion, it doesn’t help that she comes off like a high school girl who is over-acting the role of a young, attractive starlet, but is the vitriol deserved?

    On the acting front, she was more than solid in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises as Catwoman and then did an even better job as Matthew McConaughey’s space partner in another Christopher Nolan epic, Interstellar. In between she won an Oscar for Les Misérables and got married. Not too shabby.

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    Culture

    1 Comment

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