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    Thu. May 21

    Ten Reasons Why American Fast Food Has Lost Its Way

    Ashley E. McGuire

    What the heck happened to fast food?

    When they first became popularized in the 1950s, fast food joints were a place that busy families could go for an easy and affordable dinner together. More and more families had cars, and so the drive-in option became a fun and appealing way to spend a Friday night. Women were increasingly joining the workforce, and so fast food also became an occasional break for harried working moms. The food was standard American fare: burgers, fries, hot dogs, milkshakes, et cetera. Fast food was an easy and fun dining option for busy American families.

    Now it seems like fast food chains are in a rat race to produce the most terrifying and disgusting offerings the human mind can concoct. Here are ten of the grossest, weirdest, most psycho fast food menu items available today:

    Waffle Taco (Taco Bell)  It’s eggs, wrapped inside sausage, wrapped inside…

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    Culture

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    Thu. May 21

    ‘Maxim’ Misses the Point: Taylor Swift’s Brand is Too Asexual to Be Feminist

    Erin Vargo

    “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” – Oscar Wilde

    Taylor Swift is having a really good year life. She’s a fan favorite, a model girlfriend, a model girlfriend, and, in a swoop of good fortune, she won the genetic lottery: Her enviably tall, thin frame is convenient for her signature, classic, girl-next-door look.

    This week might have been the best week ever in Swift’s self-described “best year ever”: She kicked off her much-anticipated “1989” world tour in Bossier City, Louisiana; landed the #1 spot on the Maxim Hot 100; and pretty much owned the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, where she released her newest music video, “Bad Blood,” featuring a whopping 16 of her model/actress/general-badass BFFs, plus hip hop’s rising sensation, Kendrick Lamar. Oh, and ICYMI: She was the inspiration for one man’s 400-pound weight loss (not all in…

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    Culture

    17 Comments

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    Wed. May 20

    ‘Ex Machina’ and the Coming Robot Apocalypse

    R. J. Moeller

    As a writer, Alex Garland boasts an impressive resume. He has crafted best-selling novels, screenplays for major motion pictures, and storylines for popular video games. Best known for penning the award-winning 28 Days Later script, Garland’s directorial debut Ex Machina is now in theaters and the low-budget science fiction thriller is receiving the highest of praise from fans and critics alike.

    The premise of Ex Machina is as simple as it is intriguing. A young programmer named Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a competition that the search engine company he works for has put on where the top prize is getting to spend a week with the company’s legendary CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaacs), at his secluded mountain compound. Upon arrival, Caleb discovers that he has been summoned to Bateman’s compound to be the human component in a Turing Test—an experiment devised by mathematician Alan Turing to be able to…

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    Movies

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    Wed. May 20

    Enough with the Rape Scenes on ‘Game of Thrones’

    Mary Rose Somarriba

    Spoiler Alert for something I wouldn’t recommend watching: In Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) marries Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) in a dark and dismal ceremony. While the wedding itself isn’t as grim as other weddings on the show have been (Red Wedding, anyone?), what follows the exchange of vows is violent and disturbing. Ramsay rapes Sansa. While he’s at it, he forces the mentally-abused Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) to watch.

    Similarly disgusting, HBO forced viewers to watch.

    Everyone knows that part of Game of Thrones’ shtick is its gratuitous nudity and plentiful sex scenes. And the show is no stranger to violence and unpredictability in the plot. These elements increase the excitement factor for many viewers, taking the appeal of medieval-like fantasy tales of kingdoms and dragons and putting it on steroids. Or crack. Or some combination of marijuana and Viagra.…

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    Television

    1 Comment

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    Tue. May 19

    ‘Maxim’ Magazine’s Perfect Choice for Number One

    Suzanna Heldring

    Maxim magazine’s highly anticipated yearly “Hot 100” list was released this week, and the choice for #1 may surprise you: Taylor Swift. Just when you thought the girl couldn’t possibly achieve more this year, she tops this list, too. While it might seem like a strange fit—the women on this list are usually better known for having a far more sexualized look than Swift’s classic girl-next-door image—it actually makes a great deal of sense.

    Maxim has long been associated with celebrating the female form. With over 9 million readers each month, it is the largest men’s lifestyle brand in the US. However, the magazine has gone through some major changes recently with the appointment of new female Editor-in-Chief Kate Lanphear. Her main goal thus far in the rebranding of the magazine has been to “redefine sexy.” While there is still a huge focus on the aesthetics of…

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    Culture

    3 Comments

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    Tue. May 19

    The Loathsome Claire Underwood

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Television is full of anti-heroes these days, and House of Cards’ Claire Underwood leads the pack in the female category. She is, I would argue, the most loathsome woman in television currently.

    She is a mash-up of various real political figures. Before anyone, she reminds me of Wendy Davis, the female hero of the abortion movement for her championing of the cause of late-term abortion. Like Davis, Underwood’s star rises when she tells her late-term abortion story. But unlike in the real world, where abortion is a hugely divisive issue and later-term abortions are statistically very unpopular, Underwood somehow rises above all that. (Probably because she lies and claims she got pregnant because she was raped. In fact, she and her husband just decided it was a bad time to have a baby, it just took them sixteen weeks to realize it.) Wendy Davis, meanwhile, was ultimately sunk by her extremism…

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    Television

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    Mon. May 18

    Five Reasons to Love Claire Underwood

    Chelsea Samelson

    Just about everyone who loves House of Cards hates Claire Underwood. She has been dubbed an “anti-hero” and been called a cold, ruthless, immoral villain. I was surprised to discover this, and even more surprised to discover that my dear sister and colleague, Ashley McGuire, has joined the anti-Claire camp.

    Frankly, I like Claire. In fact, there’s a lot about her that I admire and respect. Yes, I take issue with some of her actions and decisions, and I’m not suggesting she is some paradigm of virtue, but she deserves more positive attention than she gets. Here are five reasons why: Claire is the epitome of cool, calm, and collected. She is a reasonable woman, and relies on logic more than emotion. Many call this “cold and calculating,” as if that were some sort of vice. But movies and television too often present us with melodramatic and emotional females who…

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    Television

    1 Comment

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    Mon. May 18

    ‘Mad Max: Fury Road': The Best Action Movie You’ll Ever See

    R. J. Moeller

    All right, so hyperbole may have gotten the best of me with such an emphatic headline, but this movie is really good. Great, in fact.

    Run, don’t walk, to see Mad Max: Fury Road.

    No, it isn’t better than Schindler’s List or Lawrence of Arabia. But that’s not the type of film Mad Max aspires to be. Whenever I sit down to write a review of any movie or television series, I ask myself the following two questions: What did this movie want to accomplish? Did it meet, fall short of, or exceed its goal?

    Mad Max: Fury Road is a dystopian version of the classic Western that wants to excite the senses and entertain the masses with a thrilling narrative from start to finish. It is an action movie. It is cinema’s longest car/Mack-truck chase. It is everything Waterworld could have been. But on land,…

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    Movies

    2 Comments

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    Fri. May 15

    3 Reasons The Show Must Not Go On For ‘American Idol’

    Erin Vargo

    This week, American Idol announced that it would be entering into its 15th and final season on Fox next year—after 15 years on (often) live television.

    Personally, I was a fan during Season 5 (2006), when some of my favorites—Ace Young, Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry, and Kellie Pickler—were eliminated prior to Kat McPhee and Taylor Hicks winning runner-up and finalist, respectively. Incidentally, that was the highest rated season, and the exposure led to all ten finalists (and another 8 semi-finalists) earning record deals—nine with major labels.

    For a stretch of eight years (2003 to 2011), Idol ranked number one among all U.S. television shows in ratings, but the last several years have seen a dramatic decline in viewership due to saturation in competition-based reality shows on prime time television.

    Unquestionably, Idol had a great run and opened the door to a handful of enormously popular singers who may never have been…

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    Television

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    Thu. May 14

    Ernie Johnson’s ‘Stuart Scott’ Moment: Everything That’s Right with Sports

    R. J. Moeller

    The past twelve months have been rough ones indeed for the public image of professional sports in this country. Donald Sterling’s racially-charged rant against black people (and Instagram). Adrian Petersen’s suspension and trial for whipping his young son. Ray Rice cold-cocking his fiancée in the elevator of a hotel in Atlantic City. The American media’s obsession with the air density of Tom Brady’s footballs.

    Add on to these public scandals the perception that professional sports have become over-commercialized, watered-down versions of the institutions that once meant something more profound to the national consciousness. It has become increasingly difficult to retain a “pure” appreciation for (and interaction with) the games and teams and leagues and networks that used to make you feel like you were part of something bigger and better than yourself.

    In a world where fans take to message boards to “discuss” a baseball…

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    Culture, Sports

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