Monica Lewinsky is back—and her return to the public sphere has been greeted with both applause and derision throughout the media and general public.
Abby W. Schachter
When it comes to feeding children, there is a lot of hypocrisy and very little reason.
R. J. Moeller
Charitable organizations assume such nonsense is the only way we’ll pay attention to altruistic efforts going on around us every day.
Melissa Langsam Braunstein
Hollywood stardom emphasizes youth and beauty more than nearly any other career, but is her makeover an attempt to stay professionally relevant or an outward expression of inner turmoil?
Ashley E. McGuire
Brittany Maynard’s suicide will be just as tragic as Robin Williams’ and that of every other person who follows in their path. 'People' can do better than profiting off of death.
Brittany Maynard's poignant story raises difficult and uncomfortable questions about an issue most of us prefer not to think about at all—our own passing.
Tue. October 21
A few months ago, Marvel Comics got into some hot water when it revealed the cover of the first issue of its new series, Spider-Woman . The artwork is by Milo Manara, a comic book artist known for his erotic depictions of women. Spider-Woman, aka Jessica Drew, was drawn in a posture that liberals and feminists have decried as dehumanizing. In response, Marvel promptly canceled two additional Manara covers that had been planned.
Of course, these same feminists don’t seem to have much of a problem with equally sexual things like twerking. Furthermore, if Manara’s drawing had been of, say, Sarah Palin and conservatives wanted it banned, there would have been earsplitting howls on the left about the Torquemada right-wingers trying to censor comics. Bill Maher would have gone nuts.
The liberal outrage at the art of comic books is nothing new. I should add that I don’t completely…
Tue. October 21
Over the last week, I bet every person in America has either heard or said the word “Ebola” at least once. Maybe twice. Maybe a thousand times. Ebola fever has literally and figuratively made it to America.
Fear, frustration, and confusion abound. Hand sanitizer has never sold so fast. People are prepping. Twitter is exploding. And yes, even celebrities are talking about it.
Rapper Chris Brown took to Twitter last week to say this: “I don’t know . . . But I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. Sh*t is getting crazy bruh.”
His comment came on the heels of this tweet from the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan: “Methods of depopulation: disease infection though bio-weapons such as Ebola and AIDS, which are race targeting weapons.”
Right, because there’s no better way to discuss a disease than to make wildly inappropriate, incendiary claims that lack any…
Mon. October 20
My summer ended with a treat: seeing Colbie Caillat in concert at Wolftrap, Washington D.C.’s outdoor music venue.
It wasn’t a treat just because she is a favorite artist. It was also a delight to see a female artist who is self-possessed and dignified, without any trace of the promiscuity or emotional baggage that seems to burden stars these days. She was radiant, calm, and happy throughout her entire show.
Seven years after her debut with the hit song “Bubbly,” Caillat is still…bubbly. Infectiously so. Here are four reasons I love Colbie Caillat, and have since the get-go:
1. Her music is overwhelmingly positive. Not only is it clean, it’s happily clean. It’s not prude-ish or naïve seeming. Quite the opposite, in fact, her music is strikingly mature for a 29 year-old. It just sounds like the music of a woman who has chosen her own…
Mon. October 20
Earlier this month, I posted an argument in defense of divas, specifically lauding female singers for their “extravagance and willingness to be bold.” Incidentally, the same week, a cadre of women assumed all five spots on Billboard’s top hits—a record that hadn’t been achieved since 1979. It is in this context that I’d like to take a moment to comment on the significance of female singers in general. We are in the midst of a cultural crossroads of sorts, and it’s important to evaluate how we can maximize the opportunity before us.
Women need artistic mentors. According to the Davidson Foundation—a wonderful and unique institution devoted to developing the talents of young people—women make up a miniscule share of influential artists (visual, musical, mathematical, and more). One article elaborates in detail on a wide range of studies analyzing the reasons for women’s lesser impact in the…
Mon. October 20
Action flicks these days aren’t solely the domain anymore of chiseled, one-note actors like Van Damme, Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Statham (although those icons have found a home in The Expendables series). Now the leading men of the best “actioners,” as they’re known in Variety-speak, are heavy-hitting thespians like Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington, whose acting chops elevate the genre to a whole new level. In The Equalizer, for example—his newest—Denzel brings compelling depth to a character that might be one-dimensional in lesser hands: a chivalric hero in a world without knights.
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
Denzel (and let’s face it, he has reached the stratosphere of one-name celebrity now, like Sting or Madonna) plays Robert McCall, a quiet, mysterious loner whose unassuming demeanor belies his devastatingly bloody special ops training. Living like a monk while working at a Home Depot-type store, the widowed McCall flies under everyone’s…
Fri. October 17
Last month an Arkansas high school student caused a stir when she was asked to change her t-shirt, which read “Virginity Rocks!”, because the message was potentially provocative to the other students. But what’s more interesting than the free speech brouhaha it raised is that the message represents one more sign that virginity is making a comeback among American teens.
Losing one’s virginity is a profound rite of passage not to be treated lightly. Since the sexual revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s, though, it hasn’t been especially prized in American culture. It’s viewed as an embarrassing condition, like acne, to get rid of as soon as legally possible or be marked a loser. I suppose it has never really been valued highly for males—losing it is a badge of honor for them—but there used to be the shared cultural assumption that saving oneself for marriage, unrealistic though that…
Fri. October 17
In a bout of third trimester insomnia last night, I found myself looking through the People magazine write-up of George Clooney’s wedding to lawyer Amal Alamuddin. One thing jumped out at me: their ages. She is 36. He is 53.
I’m always struck by the way huge age gaps in celebrity marriages are overlooked, whereas in mainstream and even elite America, such a gap would be considered pretty scandalous. Or sketchy. Or something along those lines. Seventeen years is a pretty big chasm.
The age gap stood out, because I had just read in TIME magazine about a new study that found that men of all ages prefer women in their mid-20s. This study, done in Finland with a very respectable pool size, aligned with data seen on dating websites like OK Cupid which found that men are looking for women in their early to mid-20s. Women, on the other…
Thu. October 16
For my money, the most interesting man in the music world is rocker Jack White. His music is fun and eclectic. His style and fashion are unique. He’s an entrepreneur and innovator. He has his own recording studio and record store in downtown Nashville that I stopped in recently while visiting the Music City. He seems to be able to create and swap in and out of successful bands the way most people change their Facebook profile pictures.
And from observing many of his interviews—including this most recent one with legendary journalist Dan Rather—he seems to be one of the few relevant, credible entertainers in our culture that is unafraid to admit that he has a (fairly) thought-out worldview and that his religious convictions are slightly deeper than Christina Aguilera praying with her dancers before a show that they “kill it on stage tonight, ya’ll.”
Thu. October 16
Recently A.O. Scott posted a piece in The New York Times entitled “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture,” which stirred up online discussion about whether our grownup culture has shifted into a protracted childhood. What was largely absent from the observations is where this arrested development is taking us.
Scott argued that in doing away with certain iconic TV characters of the last decade—Tony Soprano, Walter White, and Don Draper—we have “killed off all the grown-ups.” Meanwhile Hollywood cultivates movie franchises that promote “an essentially juvenile vision of the world.” The same complaint goes for literature, Scott says; American fiction, which introduced “a new crop of semi-antiheroes in flight from convention, propriety, authority,” is all young-adult fiction now. He concludes that we now perceive adulthood as “the state of being forever young.”
Vulture’s Adam Sternbergh admired Scott’s piece and responded with “The Death of Adulthood and…
Thu. October 16
Yesterday, the better part of America raised a collective eyebrow at the news that Apple and Facebook would be covering egg freezing as a benefit for female employees.
As The New York Times put it:
Some doctors say egg freezing could be as influential as the birth control pill in freeing women from the confines of biology. Childbirth coincides with prime career-building years, and balancing both is a perpetual challenge. The cover of Bloomberg Businessweek in April blared, “Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career.”
Where to begin?
Perhaps an interesting starting point was the general reaction: outrage on the Right, skepticism on the Left. It seems as though free egg freezing might be too Huxleyan even for the cheerleaders of reproductive technology.
Plenty of people raised concerns about the implications, such as the appearance that employers were essentially paying women not to have children or that the “perk” would stigmatize…
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