R. J. Moeller
"Focus" takes us into the lives of some pretty (emotionally) broken people who rob, cheat, lie and steal for a living.
Ashley E. McGuire
The D&G “Viva la Mamma” collection is amazing. Here are five reasons to love it...
Pop culture is currently witnessing a very strange trend—many young women, some barely old enough to drink, are right now trying really, really hard to look even younger.
It’s one thing to condescend: Belittling sarcasm seems to be the shtick on the set of "Fashion Police." This was worse.
John Ratzenberger’s campaign could help regenerate respect for the honest labor of skilled tradespeople, and reinvigorate this nation’s do-it-yourself spirit of old.
Melissa Langsam Braunstein
The hoopla surrounding "Fifty Shades of Grey" has brought BDSM out of the shadows and into mainstream conversation. Do we like what we see?
Emily Esfahani Smith
The results are in for our annual Celebrities Behaving Well Award! It was a tight race among Angelina Jolie, Kevin Durant, Pope Francis, Taylor Swift, and Kate Middleton—but the winning celebrity, according to a poll of our readers, is . . . .
Fri. February 27
[Voting is now closed.]
It’s time for the second annual Acculturated Celebrities Behaving Well Award!
While we all can remember Kanye West’s hissy fit over two wheelchair-bound fans refusing to stand at one of his concerts, Stephanie Seymour’s questionable Harper’s Bazaar spread, and all of the Ray Rice drama, we sometimes overlook all the admirable things that our beloved pop-culture icons have done in the past year. Perhaps not as attention getting or headline-worthy as whatever happened in that elevator with Jay-Z and Solange, our nominees for this year have quietly earned our respect, and we think they deserve some recognition.
Please take some time to review our list of nominees, their good deeds, and their preferred charities and cast your vote at the bottom of the page. The winner of our contest will be announced on Monday, March 2, and we will award their…
Fri. February 27
Let’s hear it for Lord Sinderby.
The latest Downton Abbey romance (warning: spoilers ahead) has spurred plenty of objections. Most, unfortunately, appear to be rooted in horrifying anti-Semitism. Lady Rose, a cousin of the Downton family, is engaged to Atticus Aldridge, who is wealthy—and Jewish. In one chilling scene, Downton matriarch Lady Cora notes her own father was Jewish in order to effectively squash a woman “sympathizing” with Cora over gaining a Jewish family member via Rose’s marriage.
But in one heated scene, there is an objection that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. In a tense exchange with his son Atticus, Lord Sinderby is blunt about why he objects to the marriage: he wants his grandchildren to be Jewish.
Sinderby: But she is English and Anglican, and so will her children be …
Atticus: Any children we may have will be brought up to know both sides…
Fri. February 27
What a scholar one might be if one knew well only five or six books. – Gustave Flaubert
Hardcore lovers of traditional books complain that ebooks aren’t as aesthetically satisfying, that a book’s digital rendering can’t match the sensory appeal of its physical counterpart. But there may be another reason to prefer the real thing: Kindles, Nooks, and other ebook delivery systems may actually be degrading our appreciation of books and the wisdom they contain.
Elisabeth Cervantes at the Intercollegiate Review wrote recently about “What Kindle Readers Should Take From Plato.” She notes that some college and high school classes are now allowing students to use Nooks or Kindles rather than be burdened by piles of real books to carry all over campus. Besides being more efficient, e-readers supposedly help the classroom keep pace with the march of technology and give students greater technological proficiency.
Thu. February 26
It’s killing Mary’s marriage. Poor Queen Mary, known to history as Mary Queen of Scots, has been suffering for many weeks now, as Reign blends historical fact with contemporary fiction. We have witnessed the Queen’s rape and the subsequent fallout in her (first) marriage to France’s King Francis (who was dauphin, in historical fact).
Many Reign fans have protested the storyline, but Mary’s rape is part of the historical record. According to Reign showrunner Laurie McCarthy to Entertainment Weekly,
These are [real] people, the royals, who experienced kidnappings and assassinations and there are many rumors as to whether Mary Queen of Scots was raped in her lifetime and frankly, how many times, so we’ve just kind of plucked events from history.
The rape that altered the real Mary’s life occurred in Scotland in 1567 after the murder of her second husband, and first cousin,…
Thu. February 26
This year’s Academy Awards were unforgettable—and mostly for the wrong reasons. Even setting aside the performance of host Neil Patrick Harris, who pretty definitively “bombed,” and the surprise winners (Birdman) and losers (Boyhood, save for Patricia Arquette), Sunday night’s event highlighted a couple of social faux pas worth recording—particularly as they relate to personal space.
The evening started off on an awkward foot when John Travolta invaded Scarlett Johansson’s personal space on the red carpet by approaching her from behind (unannounced), wrapping his arm around her waist, and planting a firm, unwelcome peck on the young starlet’s cheek. The lovely, first-time mom seemed utterly bemused by Travolta, offering neither acceptance of nor reciprocation for the gesture. Rather, she stood stiff, back straight, arms hanging by her sides and head unmoved.
This was no run-of-the-mill “photobomb.” Travolta clearly violated Johansson’s physical space and boundaries, and…
Thu. February 26
“There is only one really serious philosophical problem,” Albert Camus once famously wrote, “and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”
Too many men today are coming to the conclusion that life is not worth living. We are living in an epidemic of male suicide. For many years now, the suicide rate has been about 4 times higher among men than among women. In 2013, men had a suicide rate (per 100,000) of 20.2, and women had a rate of 5.5. Of those who died by suicide in 2013, 77.9 percent were male and 22.1 percent were female. Across all countries reporting data (except China and India) males show a suicide rate that is 3.0 to 7.5 times that of women.
Male suicide was touched on twice at the recent Academy Awards. The first time was when the award for Best Documentary…
Wed. February 25
Lent got an unexpected publicity boost from the sports world last week. John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, caused a media ripple when he came straight from Ash Wednesday services to a press conference, leaving his ash cross on his forehead for all to see.
The reaction was immediate. Some were confused, wondering if the coach had been in a fight or had fallen and injured himself. But most recognized the mark as the outward symbol received by the faithful on the beginning of the 40-day penitential period observed by Catholics and some Protestants.
The Catholic Church’s positions on much of today’s touchy issues hasn’t won her many friends as of late, despite her popular new pontiff. But the Twitter reaction to Harbaugh’s public display of faith was overwhelming positive. Supportive tweets came rolling in almost immediately:
“John Harbaugh repping the ash on his…
Wed. February 25
Every Oscars broadcast needs some surprises. Otherwise, why would anyone watch? This year, it was J.K. Simmons (who I will always think of as Juno’s dad) who brought the applause-worthy, relatable message.
The Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for Whiplash, Simmons offered refreshing remarks in his acceptance speech this past weekend:
After thanking his wife and praising his kids, he made a plea to the crowd to be thankful for the real ‘best supporters’: “Call your mom. Everybody, call your dad… If you’re lucky to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone, tell them you love them and thank them and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.” He concluded with a loud “Thank you, thank you mom and dad!”
As a parent, I rather liked…
Tue. February 24
Patricia Arquette deservedly received her first Academy Award on Sunday night.
I loved Arquette as the mother in Boyhood. She plays a strong, smart, single mom of two children who grow up in the suburbs of Texas around the turn of the Millennium. The movie, filmed over 12 years, is told from the vantage point of the son, Mason, who grows up before the audience’s eyes, but the mother’s character is no less central to the storyline.
In this role, Arquette channels the dichotomous strength and vulnerability of every single mom in America, and challenges the notion that women are the “weaker sex.” She juggles career, finances, and family dutifully and without complaint; meanwhile, patiently shouldering a disproportionate share of parenting duties while her ex-husband (played by Ethan Hawke) grows into the man and father their children need.
In a touching scene toward the end of the movie, Arquette…
Tue. February 24
Don’t try telling Reese Witherspoon that she looked stunning in her black and white Tom Ford Oscar gown on Sunday—she doesn’t really want to talk about that. Our lovely Hollywood sweetheart hit the red carpet pushing the #askhermore campaign, a new attempt to get reporters asking questions that delve deeper than designer gowns. You see, Witherspoon is tired of just being asked, “Who are you wearing tonight?” Or, as she so succinctly put it, “We’re more than just our dresses.”
Before the big night, she posted on Instagram a few examples of questions she would prefer to be asked: “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” “If you could play any character in any movie, who would it be?” “What’s your favorite T.V. show?”
Ironic, because this all came from a woman who likely just dropped tens of thousands of dollars…
From Open Culture:
There’s a polite turn of phrase I’ve…CONTINUE READING >
From US Weekly:
Adam Levine is probably used to the…CONTINUE READING >
Mae Whitman showed enormous talent as a young…CONTINUE READING >
Stephen Colbert is generally keeping a low profile…CONTINUE READING >