Monica Lewinsky is back—and her return to the public sphere has been greeted with both applause and derision throughout the media and general public.
Abby W. Schachter
When it comes to feeding children, there is a lot of hypocrisy and very little reason.
R. J. Moeller
Charitable organizations assume such nonsense is the only way we’ll pay attention to altruistic efforts going on around us every day.
Melissa Langsam Braunstein
Hollywood stardom emphasizes youth and beauty more than nearly any other career, but is her makeover an attempt to stay professionally relevant or an outward expression of inner turmoil?
Ashley E. McGuire
Brittany Maynard’s suicide will be just as tragic as Robin Williams’ and that of every other person who follows in their path. 'People' can do better than profiting off of death.
Brittany Maynard's poignant story raises difficult and uncomfortable questions about an issue most of us prefer not to think about at all—our own passing.
Fri. October 24
Monica Lewinsky is back—and her return to the public sphere has been greeted with both applause and derision throughout the media and general public, as many suggest that she’s using her past scandal as fuel for fame. We may view her return dubiously, especially in light of Hillary Clinton’s likely upcoming campaign for president. And there probably are some underhanded motives at play here. However, that said, it could also be that some good comes out of this public reappearance.
Lewinsky’s stated goal—to help cyberbully victims—is a good one. Cyberbullying exists, and it’s terrible. Whether Lewinsky herself is a perfect example of cyberbullying is another question: while she has thus far painted herself as a victim of the 90’s scandal, she is nonetheless complicit—both in the affair, and in how she responded to the situation afterwards. Lewinsky seems willing to admit (sort of) the role she played…
Fri. October 24
Formula is a man-made miracle.
And yet when Emily Wax-Thibodeaux penned a confessional for the Washington Post that struck a massive chord with readers called Why I Don’t breast-feed, if you must know, she defensively explained her decision to feed her baby formula by revealing her ordeal with breast cancer. “For me, formula has been so vilified that I felt as if I was constantly explaining my situation,” Wax-Thibodeaux writes.
As the mother of four kids who were all formula-fed, I can absolutely relate. Wax-Thibodeaux describes judgmental friends pressing her to admit formula was the wrong choice, or urging her to try anything at all to breast feed her daughter. I had women quietly approach me to whisper confessions of their breast-feeding failure and salvation through formula. But why should any of this be necessary, and why for God’s sake should Wax-Thibodeaux have to justify her perfectly rational decision…
Fri. October 24
Mercifully, the reign of the Ice Bucket Challenge has come to an end. What (presumably) started as a fun way to raise awareness about a debilitating illness (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) quickly turned into a sideshow carnival act that little kids perform in the living room to try to get their dad to look up from the television. Celebrities “called out” other celebrities to see who could make pouring an ice-cold bucket of water onto themselves inspiring and/or interesting. (Note: none succeeded.)
The only famous people who made things more cringe-worthy than the ones who made a joke out of the self-serving gimmick were the ones who took it seriously.
But in point of fact, the group behind this tsunami of unfunny—the ALS Association—raised a lot of money. Millions of dollars, in fact. If a bad idea yields a profit, more bad ideas yield more profit.
Thu. October 23
Whoa, that’s Renee Zellweger? The 45-year-old actress is literally unrecognizable in photographs from Monday’s Elle Women in Hollywood Awards.
Zellweger told People magazine, “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows . . . Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.”
As a long-time fan, I certainly wish Zellweger happiness. However, Zellweger doesn’t resemble any naturally aging women I’ve known.
So, why does this bother me? I’m not Renee Zellweger, I’ve never met her, and I likely never will. Feminist writer Sarah Seltzer offered a theory at Flavorwire, writing:
We’re not mad that she did it [plastic surgery]. We’re mad that we think we can see it so clearly. She’s broken the invisible pact that women are supposed to make:…
Thu. October 23
Just two months ago, the cover of People magazine was a tribute to late actor Robin Williams, who had just taken his own life. As they put it, Williams, “lost his battle with mental illness.” That they considered his death a tragedy was eminently clear. Fast-forward to the most recent issue, and People has an entirely different take on suicide.
This week’s People features Brittany Maynard, the 29 year-old woman with terminal cancer who captured national attention when she moved to Oregon in order to be able to legally end her life. People’s coverage of her pending suicide is wholly different from its coverage of William’s suicide. The coverage of Maynard includes language like “die in peace” and “heart of a warrior.”
“Maynard is staying focused on what’s important…though that doesn’t mean it’s been easy” they write.
They make it sound like she’s going…
Thu. October 23
On New Year’s Day, at the age of 29 and married for only a year, Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with brain cancer and given only a few years to live. By April, she learned she had the worst and most aggressive form of brain cancer, and this time doctors gave her six months. No treatment could save her, and it wouldn’t be an easy end. “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it,” she says, “and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die.”
Facing this, as well as the pain of putting her family through her decay, Maynard chose “death with dignity,” an end-of-life option for terminally ill patients. A physician has prescribed a medication she can self-ingest to end her suffering at her discretion, and in fact, she has settled on a date to do so: this November 1, just beyond her husband’s…
Wed. October 22
I’ll never forget: I was twelve years old, and it was the first time I heard the f-bomb dropped in a movie. The movie was All the President’s Men. Jason Robards, playing the legendary Washington Post editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, was warning reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein not to mess up the Watergate story. “Make sure you don’t [f-word] it up,” Bradlee snarled.
Ben Bradlee died on Tuesday, October 21 in Washington, D.C. As the obits have noted, Bradlee was a colorful character. He swore. He used nicknames and phrases like “gay as a goose.” As a veteran of the Navy, he was physically brave, once climbing up a hundred feet on a building to cover a suicide jumper. He had integrity. He published the Pentagon Papers, revealing truths about the Vietnam War, and once fired someone for a falsified lunch voucher. “If a man will…
Wed. October 22
Ebola, Solyndra, IRS hard drives, Benghazi, “If you like your health care plan… ,” Fast and Furious, spying on journalists, ISIS, droning American citizens, Joe Biden… it’s getting really tough to pinpoint the worst thing about the Obama presidency. While many of those developments are extremely consequential, let me humbly suggest that the following Vine of Michelle Obama doing “Turnip For What” deserves consideration among these scandalous peers.
I presume that this is some sort of nod to the First Lady’s campaign in support of healthy eating, but I saw it context-free on Twitter and I have zero desire to find out more. It doesn’t help that the First Lady seems a bit awkward. I mean, you’d be slightly awkward reappropriating a rapey video by someone who has the distinction of being arguably the most incoherent rapper alive. It also comes out at around the same time as Rock the…
Wed. October 22
In the newly released Fury, Brad Pitt stars in one of the better World War II films to advance on theaters since 1998’s Saving Private Ryan.
Directed by David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch) and shot on location in the dreary, muddy English countryside, Fury is the compelling tale of a tank commander nicknamed Wardaddy (Pitt) and the men he has led into battle since the beginning of the war in North Africa. The greatest conflict in human history is drawing to a close. The Allied Forces know that Germany is done for. The Germans know that they are done for. But the mixture of fanaticism and fear of what the fanatics will do to them keeps many Germans fighting on past the point of realistic hope for victory. Beleaguered and weary, yet ready to follow their leader into battle, the tightly knit tank crew has a new recruit…
Tue. October 21
One of feminism’s favorite targets is the Disney princess films which, it is widely assumed, implant passivity and helplessness in young girls and perpetuate damaging gender stereotypes. I have to wonder if the critics of these princess films have seen one since Cinderella in 1950, because the Disney heroines haven’t been passive and helpless in a long, long time, while the male characters have become more companions than saviors. But that stereotype persists.
In The New York Times’ “Motherlode” blog last week, Zsofia McMullin wrote about how the “save the princess” theme of fairy tales like that found in some Disney movies was destructive not only to girls but to boys as well. She has a 5-year-old son and “a complicated relationship with fairy tales and the princes and princesses who live in them.”
That relationship seems more fearful than complicated, and what she apparently fears is her son’s…
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