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    Wed. July 29

    Yes, Those Ashley Madison Users Got What They Deserved

    Chelsea Samelson

    The recent hack of the adultery website AshleyMadison.com was the kind of digital earthquake that sends devastating, long-lasting shockwaves through the Internet. For many, the first shock was learning that a website devoted exclusively to facilitating infidelity even exists. Then, there was the aftershock that the site boasts close to forty million American users. Finally, there was the knowledge that a data breach of this scope and magnitude was executed with relative ease and has yet to be resolved.

    But nothing disturbed me more than seeing how many people rushed to the defense of the Ashley Madison “victims,” decrying the inexcusable violation of their privacy rights.

    The Internet has been abuzz with essays arguing that online privacy trumps all, and that if it is violated, it is a crime worse than any other it could expose. While I can appreciate trying to take a principled approach to this issue,…

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    Culture

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    Tue. July 28

    Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston, and Intergenerational Addiction

    Erin Vargo

    No one loved the late Bobbi Kristina Brown more than her mother, the late Whitney Houston. In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, she gushed:

    “Having Bobbi Kristina, I could never do anything to top that… There’s been nothing more incredible in my life than having her. God knows, I have been in front of millions and millions of people, and that has been incredible, that give-take thing. But man, when I gave birth to her, and when they put her in my arms, I thought: ‘This has got to be it. This is the ultimate.’ I haven’t experienced anything greater.”

    If there is peace to be found in the death of Bobbi Kristina, it is the image of her mother welcoming her at the pearly gates of heaven, arms outstretched and a megawatt smile, singing “Your Love is My Love”. After six months of purgatory on earth, the…

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    Celebrities, Culture

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    Tue. July 28

    Sex and Violence Sell—Except That They Don’t

    Bryan Dik

    A show like HBO’s Game of Thrones enthralls viewers because of its complex, unpredictable plotlines and its compelling characters. But wow, there is a ton of sex and violence in there, too. Is so much really necessary? A less graphic version would likely be just as gripping, but we’ll never see it. Why? Because sex and violence sells, duh. Right?

    The “sex and violence sells” assumption is pretty much ironclad in the entertainment industry, an unquestioned truism that we’ve heard so many times by now that it seems self-evident. Our desire for sex and attention to violence helped us evolve. As a result, we are still drawn to it like mosquitoes to a bug zapper. According to Ohio State researchers Robert Lull and Brad Bushman, nearly half of the 100 highest rated TV programs, 100 top-grossing films, and 50 top-selling video games between 2009 and 2014 carried ratings…

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    Culture, Television

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    Tue. July 28

    We Need More Apology Parents

    Julie Gunlock

    I’m an apology parent—the type that apologizes for nearly everything my child does. I often utter the words, “I’m so sorry” even before my child does anything wrong. I apologize the moment I enter an airplane, in church, in most public settings. In the grocery store, I often lock eyes with people and give them that, “I’m sorry” look and on the playground, I’m quick to accept blame on behalf of my kids if there’s a commotion involving one of them. My apology is almost always followed by a stern order to whichever kid is standing nearby to “Say sorry!” before I even know the details.

    I’m not sure it’s the best way to parent. I often fear my kids are growing up with some sort of guilt complex or are nurturing a deep seeded hatred of me because I never stick up for…

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    Culture

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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