• 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 20 Debut Party, Los Angeles, America - 16 Mar 2015

    Mon. March 23

    A “Shark” Adrift Finds His Way Again

    Mark Tapson

    Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec is arguably one of television’s most likeable personalities. He is the elegant, gentleman investor audiences love, the counterpoint to gleefully greedy co-star Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary—the business shark whom audiences love to hate. But being a good guy and wildly successful (the tech mogul Herjavec is worth an estimated $100 million) are no insulation against personal pain and despair.

    I’ve praised Herjavec on Acculturated before. The 51-year-old is no pushover in the shark tank, but he unfailingly exhibits a class, politeness, and respectfulness that are out-of-sync with the melodrama, selfishness, and immaturity that dominate reality TV. But last year he struggled with his own drama behind the scenes: a divorce from his wife of 24 years. “We were great parents and a great team,” he says, “but over time we drifted apart.”

    He recently revealed to People magazine that the breakup hit him…

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    Culture, Television

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    Mon. March 23

    SXSW is Evidence of Hollywood Virtue

    Erin Vargo

    “I’m not weird; I’m limited edition.”—Unknown

    As a native Texan living in or around Austin for the majority of my life, I’ve always appreciated the rebellious sentiment behind the catch phrase, “Keep Austin weird.” I think it started as a rallying cry for the localization of business and quickly took on a life of its own—inspiring a generation of local artists, musicians, politicians, entrepreneurs, and other innovators who simply see a different way of doing business as usual.

    The same spirit has driven the evolution of the annual music, film, and interactive festivals known as SXSW (South by Southwest). What started as an independent music festival in 1987 has transformed this college town and capital city into an annual call-to-arms: The speakers, artists, and other visionaries featured at SXSW are reliably the most impassioned leaders in the battle to defend the…

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    Culture

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    Fri. March 20

    Chris Borland and the Future of Football

    Bryan Dik

    The blogosphere is blowing up in the wake of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland’s announcement that, at age 24 and just one year into a promising career in the NFL, he is hanging up his cleats and retiring from football. “I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” he told ESPN. “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

    Borland considered the accumulating research linking repeated concussions with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative brain disease found in a disproportionately high percentage of former NFL players. “When you read about Mike Webster and Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling, you read all these stories, and the type of player I want to be in football, I think I’d have to take on some risks that, as a person, I don’t want to take on.” …

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    Sports

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    Fri. March 20

    Starbucks and the State of Our Disunion

    Mark Tapson

    It’s admirable when successful business leaders like, say, The Body Shop’s Anita Roddick or Virgin’s Richard Branson place as much emphasis on changing the world as on profits. But Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz may have come up with a socially responsible idea that is likely to fall flat on both scores. Sure, he has good intentions, but we all know where the road paved with those leads.

    Schultz has used the company previously as a platform to address marriage equality and gun control. Now he is launching a new campaign at his coffee chain to defuse the powder keg of racial tensions in America by sparking that “national conversation about race” we’ve been hearing about ever since former Attorney General Eric Holder called us “a nation of cowards” for not talking about it. Schultz hopes that this conversation will begin between his baristas and their customers.

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    Culture

    3 Comments

  • Image for Kerry Washington, Call Olivia Pope. Your Career May Be in Crisis.

    Thu. March 19

    Kerry Washington, Call Olivia Pope. Your Career May Be in Crisis.

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Kerry Washington shone in her breakout role as Della Bea Robinson, wife of Ray Charles, in the movie Ray. In her next major role as the wife of brutal dictator Idi Amin in the The Last King of Scotland, she gave another stellar performance. As this last Oscar season made clear, black women are under-represented in Hollywood, and she had potential to be a standout.

    I’m aware she is more famous than ever. Even after Ray and Last King of Scotland, Washington was a B-lister, at best. But it was Scandal, the cringe-worthy drama choking with liberal clichés that has rocketed her name to the top. The acting in Scandal borders on the ridiculous, with her role as dominatrix P.R. guru, Olivia Pope, being the most unconvincing. It’s a wannabe House of Cards meets The Good Wife, but fails epically at emulating either. As the Washington Post put it, Scandal…

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    Culture, Television

    2 Comments

  • robert-downey-jr

    Thu. March 19

    Robert Downey Jr., Superhero

    Mark Tapson

    Robert Downey Jr. won the internet last Thursday, posting on his Facebook page a touching video of his presentation of an Iron Man-style robotic limb to a young Florida boy born with an underdeveloped arm.

    The previous weekend, first-grader Alex Pring, whose right arm ends just above his elbow, was ushered by his parents into an Atlanta hotel room where his mom had told him they would meet with Albert Manero and another specialist working on an upgraded robotic arm for the boy. Manero is a University of Central Florida engineering PhD student who started the volunteer group Limbitless Solutions to make free bionic arms for kids through 3-D printing technology (is there nothing 3-D printing can’t do?). Alex had received his first robotic arm last summer, then later had it upgraded to resemble a Transformers arm.

    Alex’s mom wanted to get him one of the bionic limbs because…

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    Culture

    2 Comments

  • Image for Real Men Don’t Join Fraternities

    Wed. March 18

    Real Men Don’t Join Fraternities

    Mark Judge

    A story in the Washington Post reveals that Kappa Delta Rho, a fraternity at Penn State University, is under investigation for posting photos on the internet of passed out, naked women. The postings also include crude and abusive comments from Kappa Delta Rho brothers.

    This comes on the heels of a group of Oklahoma University frat brothers singing a racist chant. It reinforces something I’ve believed for thirty years: Real men do not join fraternities.

    I’ll be the first one to defend guys being guys. I grew up with two brothers and went to an all-boys high school. I was an athlete and got two concussions playing football. I like women now just as much as I did when I was 18. I hate political correctness and know that the jokes that men make about women—like the jokes women make about men—can be a healthy way of dealing with…

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    Culture, Movies

    11 Comments

  • The Glamour Of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014 - Private Dinner

    Wed. March 18

    Dolce & Gabbana under Fire for Defending the Traditional Family

    Mark Tapson

    The fashion community and its celebrity devotees see themselves as free-thinking, liberal-minded individuals, but in fact, artistic types tend to cling to politically correct groupthink. So when one of their number goes against the grain on a particular issue, the others often unite in disproportionate outrage.

    In a recent interview with the Italian magazine Panorama, designer icons Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana drew protests from the gay community with their declaration that “the only family is the traditional one.” Children born through artificial insemination or egg donors are “children of chemistry, synthetic children,” said Dolce. “Uteruses for rent, semen chosen from a catalog.” Procreation “must be an act of love.”

    “The family is not a fad,” Gabbana told the interviewer. “In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging… Life has its natural course, there are things that must not be changed. And one of these is the family.”

    This…

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    Culture, Fashion

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    Tue. March 17

    Enough with the “Dark” Batman

    Mark Judge

    I have a suggestion for a Batman story: A sunny, pleasant day in Gotham City.

    That’s it. Oh, Bruce Wayne may prevent a purse snatching, or save a stray dog, but most of the story will be Gotham on a sunny spring day. People are out shopping, playing tennis, falling in love. It would be an antidote to the Dark, Darker, and Darkest Knight ethos that has saturated the Batman character in recent years. Bruce Wayne has always been a victim of trauma—his parents were gunned down in front of him when he was a boy—but nobody, and no city, is perpetually enmeshed in darkness. And the recent video game release of Batman: Arkham Knight indicates that things are only going to get bleaker.

    But there is another version of Batman, one that is closer to his roots. I was reminded of the delight that can be…

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    Comics

    1 Comment

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    Tue. March 17

    Must Humor Be Politically Correct?

    Melissa Langsam Braunstein

    Rom-Coms are my favorite kind of movies. Yet Hollywood’s releases have become increasingly formulaic, unfunny, and anything but romantic. (Is Bridesmaids really the best we can do?) So, I was thrilled to encounter Serial (Bad) Weddings at the Washington Jewish Film Festival a few weeks ago.

    The French film, subtitled in English, is uproariously funny. That is, if you’re willing to laugh at some seriously politically incorrect humor. And it must be asked: In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, are Western audiences still willing—and able—to do that?

    The Jewish Daily Forward reports:

    Released in France last year under its original title, Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu? (literally, What Have We Done To God?), the movie grossed more than $104 million in its native country, becoming the highest grossing film of [2014].

    But speaking to French magazine Le Point last fall, [movie distributor]…

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    Movies

    1 Comment

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