What would Jane Austen think of “The Bachelor”?
One man’s perspective on not having kids.
Not this guy. He's something of an Internet mad scientist.
Ashley E. McGuire
Boycott over Target’s bathroom policy is about privacy and safety, not tolerance.
Why Hollywood thinks its okay to make fun of Alzheimer’s.
A backyard swing set is great; a public playground with other kids is much better, both physically and emotionally.
Mon. May 2
Does a novel retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have anything to teach us about our reality-TV-obsessed culture? Surprisingly, it does.
(Please note: in case you haven’t found time to read the original in the past 203 years, spoilers for both it and the update follow.)
At first glance, novelist Curtis Sittenfeld’s new book, Eligible, is nothing but a banal promotion of liberal mores masquerading as an homage to Austen; the novel appears to be yet another remake that assumes Jane Austen’s values were merely a product of the era in which she lived, rather than a central part of her character and a crucial reason for her skill as a novelist.
For example, in the original Pride and Prejudice, Austen vividly depicts the wretchedness of the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia, which ensues after she chooses to run away with Wickham and live with him without…
Mon. May 2
“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
That’s the last line from The Catcher in the Rye, when protagonist Holden Caulfield winds up in a mental hospital. His inability to connect with other people, caused in part by trauma over the death of his younger brother, has made Caulfield unable to function.
It’s a line I thought of recently when I found myself sad that I’ve never had any children. I always thought that at some point I would get married and have kids, but for years I kept putting it off. Either I felt like I wasn’t making enough money as a writer, or my girlfriend at the time wasn’t ready, or, in my socialist salad days, I didn’t want to bring offspring into such a violent, crazy world. Then in 2008 I had a cancer scare, and it knocked me down…
Mon. May 2
Over the weekend, comedian Amy Schumer was in Greenville, South Carolina, for a performance. She decided to take a jog before her show, but when eager fans spotted her and began taking pictures and video of her, things got interesting. One man evidently got too close to Schumer, who claims that when she asked him to stop shooting video, he refused.
After posting a picture of the man to her Instagram account and remarking that his aggressive behavior had “scared the s**t out of me,” she received lots of supportive responses from her fans. She probably assumed that would be the end of it.
But in an era when smartphones allow everyone to constantly surveil and videotape each other, there’s always another side to the story—or at least there is always alternative visual evidence for Internet commenters to pick over. The man in question, Leslie Brewer, posted his…
Fri. April 29
Just when the cynicism spawned by an endless presidential election season threatens to swamp the country, here comes this jaunty foreigner to remind us of the value of human ingenuity (or something):
This is Colin Furze, who built a homemade hover bike (or, as he dubbed the unstable, dangerous contraption, a “flying bike / human blender”). Furze is something of an Internet mad scientist. He’s also tried making Wolverine claws and wrist-mounted flame throwers, according to Tech Crunch.
He has his own YouTube channel (of course) and judging by its contents he seems especially keen on transportation hacks that break world records, such as his “world’s fastest pram/stroller,” (for when you’re in a mad rush to get to Build-a-Bear before it closes?) and a 70-mile-per-hour mobility scooter. Don’t ask, just watch this:
Furze notes that he learned some of the skills required to make his creations…
Fri. April 29
I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent at Target during my time on earth. A close friend and I have something we call the Target “one-hundred-dollar rule”—you can’t go in to Target, even for breath mints, without walking out one hundred dollars poorer. Since I’ve become a mom, it’s become more like the “three-hundred-dollar rule.”
Joking aside, Target has been a wonderful place to shop for the things my family needs, especially affordable and adorable clothes and shoes and well-priced household items. It’s also a great place to shop if you need absolutely nothing and feel like being one hundred dollars poorer, but I digress.
I am not the boycotting type. I know that Target’s charitable arm supports things I don’t agree with. So does the company that owns the credit card I shop with at Target and…
Fri. April 29
Variety announced this week that comedian Will Ferrell will star as Ronald Reagan in a movie described as a “hilarious political satire” about the former president’s onset of Alzheimer’s. Welcome to the lowest depths of contemporary comedy.
Screenwriter Mike Rosolio has penned a script that is apparently so popular in Hollywood that it was voted into the 2015 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. Here is the logline for Reagan: “The story begins at the start of the ex-president’s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander-in-chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.”
I have not read the script, so if the movie proves me wrong I will happily apologize. But it is hard to imagine that comedian Will Ferrell, noted for his denigrating impressions of George W. Bush and his progressive…
Thu. April 28
While driving around my neighborhood and trying to achieve the impossible dream of getting both kids to take a nap in the car simultaneously, I noticed something I never had previously: every single backyard came equipped with a playset or swing set. We were returning from a large new playground at a public park where we were, with the exception of one other family, alone. This was midday during what is normally a vacation week for many people on a picture-perfect day, yet there were no other kids at the park fighting over swings or zipping down the slide.
My grandparents’ generation used to use the “chicken in every pot” yardstick to measure when a family had truly made it. If they can afford to eat meat for dinner most nights, the family really is comfortable financially. With the growing affluence of the middle class, and our altered perception of…
Thu. April 28
To my great excitement, Buzzfeed recently featured my alma mater, Meredith College, a small women’s college in North Carolina. My Facebook page was filled with comments from my college friends eager to share the story. The article highlighted theater major, Maigan Kennedy, who instead of the normal senior photo decided to have some fun and took pictures of herself lying in a pile of overdue student loan bills and holding a trophy that says “debt.” Since I just graduated last May, I can relate all too well to these images; I thought they were clever and funny.
And then I read the comments. And my excitement immediately turned to anger.
People were blaming Kennedy for her loans because of her choice of major and college. The very first comment says, “Who held a gun to her head and forced her to take out those loans? Was she enrolled in…
Thu. April 28
The New York Times certainly knows its audience. There is no other demographic in America that could possibly find relevance in a piece titled “10 Ways to Be a Greener Traveler, Even if You Love to Fly” apart from frequent Times readers—moneyed, left-wing, urban elites who crank up “All Things Considered” on the way to the Hamptons in their Tesla Roadsters.
Is it parody? It might as well be, because it would be hard to find a better way to ridicule the bizarro worldview of the environmentally obsessed aristocrat than to offer as your number one suggestion for “green” air travel: Pay extra money as penance.
Air travel is already so cheap and enjoyable, why not plop down an extra hundred bucks or so on “carbon offsets” for the whole family? Well, to begin with, carbon offsets are problematic. I know because I read about it in the New York…
Thu. April 28
Remember when high school prom was the highlight of the school year? This longstanding ritual used to be an excuse for students to gather for one last night of celebratory dancing (and mild misbehavior) in a poorly decorated gym or tired hotel ballroom before scattering for the summer or, in the case of high school seniors, forever.
The charm of prom was its predictability, which is why it has served as fodder for many movies over the years. Who can forget Olivia Newton-John, who in real life was almost thirty, pretending to be a dance-crazy teen in Grease? Or Kevin Bacon defying God and small town mores in Footloose (more dancing!). Proms provided the penultimate scenes in movies such as Carrie (yikes), Back to the Future, Pretty in Pink, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls, and many more.
In many of these movies the act of asking someone to…
Walking the hallways between classes at Fern Creek High School…CONTINUE READING >
We live in an age of skepticism about the value…CONTINUE READING >
This summer, American Psychologist, the official journal of the American…CONTINUE READING >