'Catcher in the Rye' celebrates the cynicism of youth -- should we?
"The grownups are very strange." So is 'The Little Prince'.
Do we behave better when people are watching us?
Science fiction has always prided itself on being a pop culture genre that was allowed to push certain boundaries.
Tipping makes the customer the worker's boss -- and that makes no sense.
Do teenagers really need to read about someone as sullen and annoying as Ethan Frome?
R. J. Moeller
Sometimes even the pampered offspring of a perpetually-stoned rap artist can make a poor life decision when going with their gut instinct.
Can we have a national political campaign without crying sexism?
Common sense (and science!) are clear: read to your children!
Tue. August 25
In a recent episode of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing San Francisco, one of the show’s stars, Roh Habibi, is shown making copies and stapling packets in his office. The viewer, seeing only Roh’s back, with the collars of his hipster coat turned up, is marveling at Roh’s impeccable style when Roh suddenly turns around to reveal his adorable baby girl, Zahra, strapped on in an Ergo!
Roh’s voiceover explains that his wife has just gone back to work after maternity leave and the couple has decided that Roh would pick up the slack as needed. Which means Zahra gets to come to the office with Roh and watch him close million dollar real estate deals, one after the other.
She probably also joins him as he completes his five daily Muslim prayers, prays the tasbih (the Muslim equivalent of a rosary), and grooms his long beard (another…
Tue. August 25
I have always been in love with Megyn Kelly. Take or leave her politics, the Fox News anchor has it all—she’s law-school educated, smart as a whip, classy as it comes, tough as hell, and stunningly beautiful to boot. She has three adorable kids with her husband and her primetime show The Kelly File is one of the most watched on television.
Seriously, this woman is practically perfect.
At least that’s what I’ve always thought, having long seen her as one of the few women I can think of who actually deserves the title of role model.
But that was before.
During the recent Republican presidential candidates’ debate, Kelly’s question to Donald Trump caused a surprising firestorm that lost them both a lot of fans. She was criticized for appearing to ambush Trump in the first moments of the debate with questions about his sexist remarks…
Mon. August 24
Every summer, parents all over America pack up their children and send them to grandma and grandpa’s house for days and sometimes weeks. It is a tradition, a childcare solution, a time for generations to commune, and a time for moms and dads to get coveted alone time or fix the house the kids have spent the past year destroying.
My own brother and I ran around the streets of Peekskill, N.Y. for a week in the summer and spent hours digging through the colossal kingdom that was the attic of our grandmother’s pre-war house. My son heads off each summer to live in my childhood bedroom in New Jersey to attend hockey camp in a nearby town.
These inter-generational stopovers are practical but they are also providential; they launch our children into independent relationships with another generation, and we are the bridge. Yet we often have…
Mon. August 24
As we get ready to head back to school, Acculturated is reevaluating some of the “classic” books routinely assigned to children to read during the school year. Do they still deserve to be granted the label of “classics”? Are there better books kids could be reading? And what ideological and cultural messages are these books really sending our children?
Of all the books we force-feed bored teenagers in high school, is any as mawkish, inane, obtuse, and contrived as Of Mice and Men?
John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella, dubbed a “little masterpiece” by the Nobel committee when it awarded Steinbeck its highest honor a quarter of a century later, has nothing to recommend it except its brevity (at 29,000 words, it’s the same length as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), but it continues to be pressed into young hands in the hopes that Steinbeck’s tear-jerker tripe will…
Mon. August 24
Our protagonist wakes up in a boarded building, disoriented. He hears noises downstairs and stumbles toward the sound, encountering blood stains along the way. On guard, the faltering young man calls out to a young lady—and finds her, chowing down on a corpse. The zombie apocalypse has caught up with him. Horrified, the boy runs, sprinting from the grotesque scene he has found, running into the street—
Where a motorcycle buzzes by and a car promptly hits him. The camera pans up. Society is intact: there’s traffic, helpful bystanders. The apocalypse hasn’t even taken place yet.
It’s a solid scene, one that subverts our expectations of life in a universe filled with reanimated corpses. Since we already know that this is a prequel to The Walking Dead—a Los Angeles-based tale that takes place shortly before the complete and utter collapse of society we have been tracking on…
Fri. August 21
One of the most frustrating aspects of our increasingly politicized culture is the demise of comedy. Not that there isn’t a ton of hilarious material to enjoy these days—there is—but it’s impossible to ignore the extent to which lame activism is tarnishing the “comedy” brand. As is often the case, millennials are probably to blame.
The problem presents itself on two equally obnoxious fronts. On the one hand, you have the hordes of hypersensitive lunatics who are trying to redefine the bounds of “acceptable” comedy. After years of whining valiantly to ensure that their college classrooms are “safe spaces” free of problematic ideas that might contradict their worldview and/or trigger an array of micro-grievances, they see no good reason why these same protections shouldn’t extend to comedy venues.
When Jerry Seinfeld recently explained that he doesn’t play college campuses because the students are too…
Fri. August 21
Mark Zuckerberg was probably kidding when he announced that the latest pick for his Facebook book club would be “a little light reading”—The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James.
Then again, he’s reportedly an atheist, so who knows?
Light reading or not, it was an odd pick for Zuckerberg, who started his “Year of Books” in January, inviting Facebook users to read a book he picked every two weeks, then discuss it online. Most books have been by living authors—Matt Ridley’s Genome and Yuval Noah Hararis’ Sapiens among them—which enables the authors to do a Q&A session with participants via the “Year of Books” Facebook page. As for James, if only.
The Harvard-educated philosopher and psychologist died in 1910. The Varieties of Religious Experience, considered by many to be his seminal work, was the culmination of 20 lectures he gave at the University…
Fri. August 21
A woman with a crying baby in her arms bearing down on the luxuriously empty seat next to you used to be every airline passenger’s worst nightmare. That was before pigs started flying.
A college professor and US Airways passenger, Jonathan Skolnik was alarmed late last year when, on a flight out of Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport, his putative seatmate bustled her way down the aisle carrying a moving duffel bag that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a potbellied pig.
Nonchalantly tying the pig to the armrest with its leash, the owner set about stowing her belongings in the overhead compartment. “Oh my Lord,” Mr. Skolnik, who doesn’t really come across as an animal lover, emailed, “where is she going to put that animal. I am burying my face in my sweater to hide from the stench. . . . Now I, who dreads a dog…
Thu. August 20
Jeff Bezos has a problem. And the fact that he seems unaware of it is only part it. Last weekend’s long and scathing New York Times piece on Amazon.com’s corporate culture described a hard-driving, but also back-biting and burn-out inducing environment inside the company Mr. Bezos founded.
Some Amazonians have responded defensively. In a memo to his staff that subsequently leaked, Mr. Bezos himself wrote: “I don’t recognize this Amazon and I hope you don’t either.” Mr. Bezos encouraged anyone who did recognize the culture the Times described—little respect for work-life balance, 24/7 demands on employees’ time, sink-or-swim performance reviews—to write to HR, or to him directly (in that order, tellingly).
The wife of one former Amazonian took him up on the offer in an open letter published by Quartz.com. Beth Anderson described her husband’s time at Amazon thus:
As his one-woman…
Thu. August 20
Last weekend Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison posted an Instagram photo of a pair of “participation trophies” that were awarded to his two sons—and apparently to everyone else on the team as well—by their sports league. Harrison announced firmly that he is returning the trophies because they weren’t earned.
“While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do,” he wrote, “and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy”:
I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best . . . cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better . .…
It’s becoming pretty clear, as the year rolls on, that…CONTINUE READING >
Farrah Fawcett’s perky, 70s pinup pose was the picture seen…CONTINUE READING >