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    Mon. July 27

    To Troll a Mockingbird

    Andrew Stiles

    Harper Lee may be something of a one-hit-wonder as a novelist, mostly due to the fact that, until just recently, she had only published one novel (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960). But it was a pretty good one! It won her the Nobel Prize for Literature and (years later) the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with a host of other accolades. They made a movie out of it, which also won a bunch of awards.

    Lee’s recently published and highly anticipated second novel, Go Set a Watchman, is unlikely to put more trophies on her shelf. Not that I’ve read it. (Why would I? In the Internet Age, actually imbibing a piece of art is superfluous to having an opinion about it, especially if that opinion is garbled outrage.) That’s a shame. Because even though the book itself is (probably) mediocre as a work of literature, Harper Lee deserves to be…

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    Books

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    Mon. July 27

    Jeannie Gaffigan is a Model for Modern Women

    Ashley Crouch

    The Jim Gaffigan Show debuted on July 15, proving that the public is interested in the daily mishaps of a father of five who hates hot pockets and loves bacon. Despite Jim’s steady rise to popularity in recent years, fans knew little about his wife except that she was a “Shiite Catholic” who could “get pregnant looking at babies.” Until now. The New York Times featured the elusive Jeannie and millions discovered what a quiet powerhouse she is. She wrote, edited, produced, and helped create the Jim Gaffigan Show, down to the “crumbs on the table”—while taking care of their five children in a two-bedroom Manhattan walk-up. As she told the Times, “I didn’t understand that it was going to be 80-plus hours per week for three months, and my kids were going to have to come to the set, and my house was going to have to be like…

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    Celebrities, Culture

  • LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12:  Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj attend The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

    Fri. July 24

    The Unlikely Virtue in Celebrity Twitter Wars

    Erin Vargo

    Nicki Minaj surely understood that she was lobbing a social media grenade when she confronted MTV on Twitter, strongly condemning their decision to snub her record-breaking video, “Anaconda,” in the Video of the Year category. Her comments were brief (per the nature of Twitter) and damning.

    If I was a different “kind” of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well. 😊😊😊

    — NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015

    Ellen did her own anaconda video and did the #choreo lol. Remember her doing that kick 😩. Even mtv did a post on the choreo @MTV remember? — NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015

    U couldn’t go on social media w/o seeing ppl doing the cover art, choreo, outfits for Halloween…an impact like that & no VOTY nomination?

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    Celebrities

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    Fri. July 24

    What 50 Cent Can Teach Us About Thrift

    Chelsea Samelson

    Poor 50 Cent. No really, poor 50 Cent—the famous rapper announced last week that he is filing for bankruptcy. Having spent years rapping and bragging about his bank statements and piles of cash, 50 Cent is now just another hard-up hot shot. He joins the ranks of MC Hammer, Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Mike Tyson, and many others who made millions but wound up broke.

    The list of not so rich and famous is surprisingly long, consisting of countless musicians, actors, T.V. stars, professional athletes, and even famous writers.

    It’s a sad but important reminder that no one, even the uber wealthy, is immune to the consequences of poor planning and bad decisions. And it’s an equally important reminder that things are not always as they seem—sometimes, those with the fanciest cars and flashiest bling are battling the biggest money monsters behind their mansion’s doors.

    But what’s…

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    Celebrities

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    Fri. July 24

    Why I Love Judd Apatow

    R. J. Moeller

    One of the most prominent, albeit flickering, moral lights in mainstream Hollywood today is writer/director Judd Apatow. This statement may surprise some of my readers, but it’s true.

    Americans with traditional values tend to see Tinsel Town as “that wicked place” out in Southern California. This appraisal of Hollywood and the themes explored and messages conveyed in your typical modern-era movie is not unfair or unjustified. There is a lot of crap out there to see, watch, download, or stream.

    And for the 50 percent of us who are right-of-center politically, perpetual frustration ensues when even what appear to be mindless, bawdy comedies—take Will Ferrell’s latest romp, Get Hard, for example—nevertheless exude collectivist, anti-capitalistic propaganda in nearly every scene.

    To be fair, there are interesting films (not infused with progressive dogma) being made and released every day. When all we do is poo-poo and cast self-satisfying…

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    Celebrities, Movies

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    Thu. July 23

    3 Doors Down Singer: Chivalrous Hero or Pathetic ‘White Knight’?

    Mark Tapson

    Chivalry may not be dead, but it says quite a bit about the status of its health when a public example of it draws such attention and inspires such polarized responses as one instance did last week.

    Alt rock band 3 Doors Down was playing to a full house in Broomfield, Colorado, when something caught frontman Brad Arnold’s eye that incensed him. He abruptly stopped his bandmates in mid-song before addressing someone in the audience near the stage.

     

    “Hey, hey, homie, you don’t hit a woman,” he said angrily as the stunned audience listened. “You just pushed a woman out of the way to get in a fight, you d*ck.” (Arnold later apologized to the crowd for his uncharacteristic profanity.)

    When concertgoers realized he was calling out a man for abusing a woman, they erupted in cheers. But Arnold wasn’t done: “Get him the hell out of…

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    Celebrities, Culture, Music

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    Thu. July 23

    Why Gamergate is Really About Political Correctness

    Mark Judge

    I don’t think Anita Sarkeesian knew what she was getting into. Sarkeesian is the thirty-two-year-old feminist who has gained notoriety through Feminist Frequency, a website and social movement that criticizes violence and misogyny in video games.

    Sarkeesian has become a lightning rod in the gaming community. After raising over $150,000 on Kickstarter in 2012 to launch a video series, Tropes Against Women, which analyzes video games, Sarkeesian experienced online harassment from gamers, including death threats. The attacks on Sarkeesian are disgusting, sad, and intolerable, and media have spent a lot of time covering her experience of harassment.

    What the media hasn’t covered in detail is the fact that gamers have absolutely demolished Anita Sarkeesian’s arguments.

    Her first argument is also the most general: that video games are violent and misogynistic. Over a year ago I became the video game reviewer for the Catholic News Service, a media organization that,…

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    Culture

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    Wed. July 22

    First World Problems: Gender-Neutral Kids Clothes

    R. J. Moeller

    Sometimes, a subtitle can say it all.

    In her recent Bloomberg Business piece on the changing economics of “gender neutral” clothing – “The End of Boys and Girls: These Companies Are Going to Change the Way Your Kids Dress” – Kim Bhasin, perhaps unintentionally, sums up the heart of the problem with this movement:

    Frustrated parents are launching apparel startups to upend gender norms

    I emphasized and italicized the “parents” in her article’s subtitle because there is almost no part of the prose and quotes that follow it that are really about children. Not in any meaningful, responsibly, healthy way.

    Ever since Jaya Iyer’s daughter was a toddler, she had been fascinated by Saturn and its icy rings. When Swaha turned three, she had a space-themed birthday party. But when her mom went to find clothes with space images for Swaha, she couldn’t find any. They were all in the boys’ section. 

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    Culture, Fashion

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    Wed. July 22

    The Show That Doesn’t Quite “Master” Sex

    Ari Schulman

    Did you know that, in the 1950s, people were sexually repressed? That many married men were closeted homosexuals? That others frequented prostitutes? That many women did not achieve orgasm during sex? That there were . . . taboos?

    Making a respectable science out of these ideas was the groundbreaking work, beginning six decades ago, of William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Trying to put the reveal back into these now rather old revelations, and to make an interesting story out of them to boot, is the work of the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which has just returned for its third season.

    The trouble—you knew there was going to be trouble, didn’t you?—is how aggressively on the nose it’s all played out. The show’s approach is like taking Titanic’s cheap historical flatteries (“Freud? Who is he, a passenger?” “Something Picasso? He won’t amount to a thing!”), switching the content out with a modern sex-ed…

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    Television

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    Tue. July 21

    Class Warfare in the Toy Aisle

    Julie Gunlock

    Did you know that F.A.O. Schwarz’s famous (and recently shuttered) New York City flagship store wasn’t just a place to buy a kid a nice toy? Sure, that’s what it looked like from the outside and from its famous portrayal in the 1988 blockbuster film Big. Now, thanks to some hard-hitting investigative journalism by a staff writer at The Atlantic, the store’s true identity and mission have been revealed.

    According to Megan Garber, F.A.O. Schwarz is really an elite, members-only club dedicated to furthering the ideal of capitalistic excess; a club that caters to (gasp!) rich people.

    It might strike many parents as odd that Garber didn’t know F.A.O. Schwarz carried a higher end (and therefore higher priced) catalog of goods. Her column offers a not so shocking list of some of the more expensive and offensive items sold:

    .…

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    Culture