• Image for Fascism in Our Comics: It’s Not Where You Think

    Fri. April 24

    Fascism in Our Comics: It’s Not Where You Think

    Mark Judge

    At first glance, the new trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Batman vs. Superman are quite different. The Star Wars clip is energetic, often sun-drenched, and, with the sight of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the final frames, fun. The trailer for Batman vs, Superman is relentlessly dark and drab, with constant rain and an atmosphere of foreboding. Superman is decried as a “demon” and “false god,” and faces off with Batman in a dark, rain-soaked alley.

    Yet both films seem to have something in common: They both reveal how the imagery of modern superhero movies is still deeply influenced by fascism—particularly by Triumph of the Will, the 1935 Nazi propaganda masterpiece by Leni Riefenstahl.

    While superhero films often associate fascism with the bad guys, Nazi imagery is also used in the service of heroes. As difficult as it is to think, there is something about fascism that…

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    Comics, Culture, Movies, Television

    30 Comments

  • Image for What the #KylieJennerLipChallenge Misses About Beauty

    Fri. April 24

    What the #KylieJennerLipChallenge Misses About Beauty

    Erin Vargo

    Social media was ablaze this week with reports of the #KylieJennerLipChallenge, which prompted a handful of attention seekers to suck the air out of a shot glass in an effort to achieve a plumper pout. ICYMI: Kylie Jenner spends 40 minutes every morning on her lips alone, and her overdrawn pucker is all the rage since she transformed her “look” from being modest-lipped in her younger years to boasting the full pout she’s known for today. In addition to Kylie’s statement discouraging mimicry (while still promoting self-awareness), responsible journalists and bloggers have gone to great lengths to warn parents and children not to—repeat: DO NOT—do the #KJLC.

    Beyond the physical dangers of disfiguring your face for entertainment, I would like to point out another reason to dismiss the #KJLC—one that’s been less discussed and perhaps more important. Lips, as the challenge illustrates, are not beautiful in a…

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    Culture, Fashion

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  • Image for Lessons of Love and Romance from Gilbert Blythe

    Thu. April 23

    Lessons of Love and Romance from Gilbert Blythe

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Gilbert Blythe is dead. Can it be?

    On hearing the news that actor Jonathan Crombie, who played Anne of Green Gables’ amour, had suddenly died, women everywhere were plunged into the “depths of despair,” as Anne used to melodramatically exclaim. He died last week of a brain tumor at the far-too-young age of 48. And he takes with him to the grave the hearts of girls and women everywhere.

    As USA TODAY put it, “For many women of Generation X, Jonathan Crombie was their first PBS crush, even if they didn’t know his name.” In another Blythe ode, Sarah Larson wrote for The New Yorker online that, “Jonathan Crombie, who died Wednesday, gave Gilbert Blythe caring, intelligence, and dreaminess: qualities that enchant seventh-grade girls. Gilbert was many people’s first love.”

    He was definitely mine. Not really, but you know what I mean. I devoured those movies annually, and every…

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    Books, Culture, Movies, Television

    1 Comment

  • *EXCLUSIVE* Jeremy Renner and Sonni Pacheco step out with Baby Ava as a Family

    Thu. April 23

    Jeremy Renner, Action Dad

    Mark Tapson

    As the helplessly smitten father of two little girls (with a third on the way), I have a soft spot for stories about manly dads who freely confess to being wrapped around their daughter’s little finger. So I was touched when Fox News reported that tough guy action star Jeremy Renner recently gushed about his two-year-old Ava Berlin in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that aired Wednesday.

    Ava is the daughter of Renner, 44, and Canadian model Sonni Pacheco, who married in early 2014 almost a year after Ava’s birth. Renner was grateful that he married late in life, after some career success, so he could afford to concentrate on family. Fatherhood “really kind of changed my perspective on a lot of things,” he told DeGeneres. “It’s kind of screwed my career in a lot of ways, because I don’t really care about it so much because I care…

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    Culture, Movies

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  • Episode 812

    Wed. April 22

    In Defense of Spoilers and Lackluster Finales

    R. J. Moeller

    In our sophisticated age of eugenics and smart phones, in this progressive, modern era of hedonism and moral relativism, the one great sin left is to talk about a popular film or television series before someone within earshot of your comment or Tweet has seen the piece of art in question.

    If this is one thing Americans hate, there are two that are detestable in their eyes. The latter of these is when their favorite TV show wraps things up with a season (or series) finale that “could have been better.”

    When it comes to spoilers, I have had people literally scream in my face because they thought I might be referring to a minor plot point from Game of Thrones in casual conversation. Grown adults plug their ears with index fingers like a little kid who doesn’t want to hear his mom’s request to do his chores. Radio show…

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    Movies, Television

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  • Lucille-Ball-Hometown-Statue

    Wed. April 22

    Why Do Artists Hate Beauty? The Case of ‘Scary Lucy’

    Mark Tapson

    It’s commonplace that contemporary art is too often silly, incomprehensible, ugly, or even disgusting. But it isn’t often that a work of art is actually considered terrifying.

    Recently the hometown fans of legendary comedienne Lucille Ball were stricken at the unveiling of a rather nightmarish bronze statue in her honor. Rightfully nicknamed “Scary Lucy” in the media, it purports to depict Ms. Ball, who died in 1989, in perhaps her most famous comedy routine: as a commercial pitchwoman for the unpalatable “Vitameatavegamin.”

    The statue caused such a backlash among the outraged citizens of Ball’s birthplace of Celoron, New York that its creator actually wrote to The Hollywood Reporter to publicly apologize for what he called “by far my most unsettling sculpture,” and offered to fix it.

    This prompted The Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones to address the bigger picture of bad sculpture in a rant with the outstanding…

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    Culture

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  • 588236-68f609ac-e641-11e4-9321-13d21702e16c

    Tue. April 21

    Love Lessons from ‘Anne of Green Gables’

    Katrina Trinko

    Recently, I was staring at a huge tree, its branches covered in white blossoms. It had been a long winter in Washington, D.C., and I caught myself deliberately slowing my steps, wanting to savor the sight of the tree as long as possible.

    Didn’t, I thought, Anne of Green Gables have a tree like this?

    It might seem funny that I, at 27, recall a fictional child character’s affection for a non-existent tree. But I’m not alone, as shown by the widespread internet reaction to and numerous headlines about the unexpected early death of Jonathan Crombie, who played Anne’s romantic interest Gilbert Blythe in the 1984 TV miniseries adaptation of the novel.

    I, like I suspect many others, know virtually nothing about Crombie besides the fact that he played Gilbert Blythe. CBC News reported that Crombie “happily answered to the name Gil when recognized by fans on…

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    Books, Movies

    1 Comment

  • 100th Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner - Arrivals

    Tue. April 21

    Sofía Vergara and the Case of the Frozen Embryos

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Modern family, indeed.

    In a story befitting an Aldous Huxley novel, the star of Modern Family is being sued over the frozen embryos she shares with her ex-fiancé.

    Sofía Vergara and her ex, Nick Loeb, have two female embryos in a freezer somewhere. They had them made (awkward phrasing, I admit, but how else does one put it?) with the intention of having one or both of them implanted in a surrogate. But before they got that far, they split.

    As an aside, while we don’t know why they split, the lawsuit involving the embryos alleges that Vergara was both physically and emotionally abusive to Loeb, backing up Mark Judge’s argument here that it’s not always men who are the abusers in relationships. The lawsuit accuses Vergara of punching and kicking Loeb, throwing her phone at him, and putting him down constantly.

    But that’s not why…

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    Culture

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  • b3700_mchenry19n-5-web

    Tue. April 21

    ESPN’s Britt McHenry is a ‘Mean Girl’

    Mary Rose Somarriba

    Late last week, ESPN sideline reporter Britt McHenry had a rude awakening. And I mean rude, literally. She was filmed saying very rude comments and has been suspended from her job for a week.

    Turns out McHenry had a bad day. She got her car towed and was upset about that. She made rude comments to the towing company attendant as she paid the bill. Now it’s viral fodder for everyone to see.

    Watch at your own risk. It’s ugly. McHenry sneers and insults the attendant’s job, education, teeth, and weight. Plus some elitist condescension for good measure: “I’m on television, and you’re in a f—ing trailer, honey.” If McHenry loses her job at ESPN, it would appear she could easily be cast on a sequel to Mean Girls.

    Since the video was released, some have responded that ESPN‘s penalty was too lenient, noting…

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    Culture

    2 Comments

  • gty_kelsey_grammer_wy_150415_16x9_992

    Mon. April 20

    Kelsey Grammer’s Lesson of Forgiveness

    Mark Tapson

    Our common fate, Longfellow once wrote, is that “into each life some rain must fall.” But some people have to weather heavier deluges than others, and being a celebrity is no guarantee against that. In a recent Vanity Fair interview, Kelsey Grammer of Cheers and Frasier fame spoke recently about a history of more family tragedy than anyone should have to bear, and how forgiveness—for himself and others—has enabled him to cope.

    The grandfather who raised him died of cancer when Grammer was 11. Two years later his estranged father was murdered. His two half-brothers died in a scuba-diving accident. Most disturbingly, when his sister Karen was 18 years old, she was abducted, raped repeatedly, and brutally murdered in Colorado by thrill killer Freddie Glenn and accomplices in 1975.

    When Glenn was finally eligible for parole in 2009, Grammer wrote a powerful letter to the parole board (part of which he…

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    Culture

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