• kim-kardashian-kanye-west

    Tue. June 30

    The Kardashians’ Extreme Sex Selection

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Did you hear that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who recently announced Kim’s second pregnancy, used sex-selective in vitro fertilization to get a male embryo? Apparently the duo used a procedure where doctors isolate male embryos for implantation, at a cost of $17,000 (on top of an already costly procedure).

    Or maybe they didn’t. Both Kim and her rep denied the allegation. Kim said that the rumors “came from a tabloid” and that she and hubby Kanye, “would be happy with a boy or a girl.”

    But what if they weren’t? What if the rumors were true? They wouldn’t be the only couple to have approached fertility doctors wanting a child of a specific gender. And while the rumor might have been false, it’s reignited the debate about whether or not it is ethical to use artificial conception and fertility technology to create a custom-made baby.

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    Culture

  • ask ada1

    Mon. June 29

    Ask Ada: Piano lessons and racist uncles

    Ada

    Send us your questions and problems. Write to AskAda@Acculturated.com

    Dear Ada,

    At what age do you stop forcing kids to practice the piano? Won’t it be good for them in the long run?

    Signed,

    Not a Nag

    Dear Not a Nag,

    I’m sensing your child is not a budding musical prodigy and that you are not a status-obsessed, psychologically abusive Tiger Mom. That makes things much simpler: Tell your child that he/she has to play the piano for 5 more years. This is an arbitrary number but it will give your child a sense of an ending to his/her perceived misery.

    What young kids hate more than anything is uncertainty. By giving your child a definitive end point for his/her piano playing, you can stop having constant negotiations about…

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    Ask Ada

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    Mon. June 29

    School Dress Codes: Tool of the Patriarchy?

    Julie Gunlock

    An opinion piece in the Washington Post co-authored by a concerned mother and her oppressed daughter is filled with the sort of dramatic language that makes one cringe. The hot topic they’re covering is how dress codes at schools are hindering self-expression. Like nude cover girl and derrière fetishist Kim Kardashian’s recent announcement that she’ll be giving a lecture on the objectification of women, these ladies seem a bit confused about the true meaning of women’s rights and what oppression really looks like.

    Chronicling the hardship of finding clothes that fit within the school dress code, the ladies write (now is a good time to grab a tissue):

    She slides the shorts low on her waist and hunches up her shoulders to make her arms shorter. What she was demonstrating for me was how she and her female friends had developed tactics to evade and…

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    Culture, Fashion

  • sense8-12

    Mon. June 29

    ‘Sense8’ Finale: The End is Nigh, Thank God

    Sonny Bunch

    There’s a moment at the end of the ninth episode of Sense8 that feels like a metaphor for the whole show. It’s not a moment, exactly: It’s a series of moments. Five minutes worth of moments. Five minutes of the same moments repeated for dramatic effect, over and over again.

    Over a cover of Eric Clapton’s song, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” we see the Mexican actor Lito in various states of escalating sadness. His boyfriend has left him because he is a coward willing to risk the wellbeing of one of their friends so as to maintain his secret and continue working. (The closet: it hurts everyone!)

    And . . . that’s it. For five minutes of screen time. Just Lito moping around the apartment, being sad—eating ice cream and drinking daiquiris and drunk dialing his lost love. We keep cutting back to him in…

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    Television

  • FILE - In this July 27, 2012 file photo, Bristol Palin attends the "Dancing with the Stars: All Stars" panel at the Disney ABC Television Critics Association session in Beverly Hills, Calif. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says her daughter, Bristol, won't marry Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer. The former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote Monday, May 18, 2015, on her verified Facebook account that the two said the wedding planned for May 23 will no longer be held. She didn't provide a reason. Bristol Palin announced the engagement in March, saying in a blog post that Meyer came to Alaska to film the "Amazing America" reality show with her mother last year. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, FIle)

    Fri. June 26

    Bristol Palin Deserves a Lecture About Arrogance, Not Sex

    Erin Vargo

    Bristol Palin took to her faith-based blog to announce her second pregnancy yesterday on account of the “constant trolls… !!!” who spread the rumor before she was ready to share it. The announcement comes one month after she called off her wedding to Dakota Meyer (a week before the wedding date), and her tone was nothing short of miffed:

    “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you. But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”

    The announcement was seized upon by the media because Palin has established a brand and earned a substantial living as a paid abstinence ambassador, earning a quarter-million dollars to serve as the abstinence spokesperson on behalf of The Candie’s Foundation, among other opportunities.

    In…

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    Celebrities, Culture

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    Fri. June 26

    How Chris Pratt Became America’s Leading Man

    Kyle Smith

    Normally Hollywood is in little danger of under-hyping anything, but this month the suzerains of entertainment were caught completely off-guard by the success of Jurassic World, which has just broken the record for earning $1 billion at the global box office more quickly than any other film in history. It will end the summer at the domestic box office as one of the top three highest-grossing movies in history. Number crunchers thought its opening weekend would bring in anywhere from $115 million to $145 million, but it earned $208.8 million. Embarrassingly, even the film’s distributor, Universal, sent out preliminary word on Sunday afternoon announcing that the film had fallen just short of the opening weekend record set by The Avengers three years ago. Instead, Americans kept lining up to see the dinosaurs, and Jurassic World beat The Avengers.

    Why did all of these Nate Silvers of Tinseltown get it so wrong? Maybe they…

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    Celebrities

  • 635569438497719069-OFF-Good-Kill-3

    Fri. June 26

    ‘Good Kill’: When Ideology Trumps Entertainment

    R. J. Moeller

    Screenwriter, producer, and director Andrew M. Niccol is a talented storyteller.

    He was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards in 1999 for The Truman Show. His dystopian thriller Gattaca remains one of the most thoughtful, engaging examinations of where our science-worshiping society might be headed in the not-too-distant future. Even his middling films—Lord of War and In Time—are entertaining and made money at the box office.

    But with his latest effort, Good Kill, Niccol has laid a cinematic egg that reads like the text of a speech Sen. Bernie Sanders would give at a Code Pink convention.

     

    Hollywood voicing a left-of-center, anti-war position is about as surprising as one of the Kardashians over-sharing on social media. But like the Tweet-happy Armenians of Calabasas, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. You don’t have to follow Kim, Khloe, or Kanye on Instagram, and you…

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    Movies

  • madge2

    Thu. June 25

    Why Madonna is the New Pat Boone

    Mark Judge

    What happens when iconoclasm becomes numbing orthodoxy? You get “Bitch I’m Madonna,” a terrible new song and ghastly video by Madonna, the fifty-something crypt keeper of pop.

    Madonna is still capable of triggering a Pavlovian response in people, and “Bitch I’m Madonna” has over sixteen million views on YouTube. Lyrically the song resembles the chirping of a slow third grader—“We ride the elevator straight up to the rooftop/The bass is pumpin’ make me wanna screw the roof off.”

     

    Madonna is now a modern Pat Boone. Boone (for readers of a younger age who haven’t encountered him) was an extremely successful singer, second only to Elvis in the 1950s in record sales. He was also almost metaphysically bland. Boone specialized in taking electrifying rhythm and blues songs and neutering them. Many people considered him the enemy of genuine rock and roll, a reverse alchemist who transformed…

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    Music

  • ballers-tv-review-hbo

    Thu. June 25

    ‘Ballers’ is the Anti-‘Entourage’

    Mark Tapson

    “Entourage with football players” is the way promoters were touting the new HBO show Ballers, which premiered last Sunday. And there certainly are superficial similarities: superstars and their hangers-on, glamorous clubs, and an easy abundance of babes, money, and drugs—not to mention the same team of producers and filmmakers (Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson) behind both shows. But on a more substantial level, the two shows stand in stark contrast to one another.

    While Entourage features an ensemble of leads, Ballers centers on big-screen action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson plays Spencer Strasmore, a former pro football “Golden Boy” whose promising career was sidelined early by an injury that shattered not only his knees but also his dream of sports glory. Now munching painkillers like Tic Tacs, Spence is trying to move forward with his life as an investment counselor, working for a very unsentimental boss played by…

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    Television

  • Tom-Sawyer

    Thu. June 25

    He’s Not a “Reluctant Reader.” He’s a Boy.

    Stephanie Cohen

    Stand around with any group of moms of elementary school-aged boys and eventually the words “reluctant” and “reader” will enter the conversation. A recently released local book list for the summer called attention to the fact that it was designed to entice reluctant readers.

    The “reluctant” umbrella captures a wide swath of children today, especially boys. If your son is picky (maybe he only wants to read about baseball), or will only read for mandated 15-minute periods ticked off on the kitchen timer and not a second more, or if he dislikes most of the books you bring home, or says the books his teachers assign are boring, someone will eventually suggest that he’s a reluctant reader.

    Reluctance, by definition, can mean unwillingness, hesitancy, or disinterest. There is a long bridge between a reader who hesitates or lacks enthusiasm and a reader who is completely unwilling. When they buck…

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    Books