Understanding the Collective Freak-Out Over Melania Trump’s White House Christmas Decorations

The holidays are the season for high-caloric treats—and so far there’s been nothing so high-caloric as the Christmas pudding of fruity overblown rhetoric from the media mavens horrified over First Lady Melania Trump’s White House Yule decorations. No sooner did Melania unveil her winter wonderland with a videotaped walk-through than press people began scrounging every … Continued


‘Lady Bird’ and the Power of Place

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age film set in Sacramento, California, is dazzling audiences as much as it’s dazzled critics. Despite its limited release four weeks ago in arty theaters, it’s still among the top ten films for domestic box office, grossing more than $17 million to date. And for good reason: It’s a lovely movie. … Continued


Good Riddance to ‘Teen Vogue’

Just a little more than year ago, Teen Vogue, little sister to the grown-up fashion magazine Vogue, got woke—to wild cheering from the rest of the media. Under a brand-new editor, Elaine Welteroth, then aged twenty-nine, Teen Vogue started to add to its mix of celebrity gossip and style and makeup tips for adolescent girls … Continued


How Hollywood Ruined Jo Nesbo’s ‘Snowman’

The Snowman, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s Hollywood adaptation of Norwegian mystery novelist Jo Nesbo’s 2007 serial-murder thriller of the same name, is just as awful a movie as all the critics have said it is (“dreary as a Nordic winter and almost as long”). By the time I saw the film on November 2, at … Continued


Sex Addiction, #MeToo, and Open Secrets

The Harvey Weinstein “Perv-gate” scandal, now nearly a month old, has gone from the sordid to the ridiculous and back again. The latest—and surely one of the most revolting of all the allegations of Hollywood- and media-linked sexual improprieties—has been forty-six-year-old actor Anthony Rapp’s statement that just-terminated House of Cards star Kevin Spacey had thrown … Continued


Power Poses, Shoddy Social Science, and Sexism

Amy Cuddy is a victim of mean men. That’s the theme of a New York Times magazine story about Cuddy, the inventor of the theory of the “power pose.” Cuddy’s theory was that holding a couple of space-filling bodily positions (feet apart, arms akimbo) just before, say, a job interview, could help you get the … Continued


Reminding Women to Use Common Sense in the Workplace is Not ‘Victim Blaming’

When the Harvey Weinstein sex-scandal story broke earlier this month, fashion designer Donna Karan quickly leaped to his apparent defense. Referring to the dozens of accounts by Hollywood actresses who said Weinstein had engaged in disgusting and/or coercive sexual behavior when they visited his hotel room ostensibly to talk business, Karan, a longtime friend of … Continued


Was Hugh Hefner a Lecher or a Visionary? Both.

The much-publicized death of Hugh Hefner on September 27 turned the ninety-one-year-old founder of Playboy magazine from a nearly forgotten pajama-clad oddity into a cultural force—but a force for good or ill? In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Camille Paglia declared that Hefner and the men’s magazine he started in 1953 had “absolutely revolutionized … Continued


Now, Even Dr. Seuss is Politically Incorrect

On September 26, Liz Phipps Soeiro, school librarian at the Cambridgeport Elementary School in upscale Cambridge, Mass., wrote a “thank-you” letter to First Lady Melania Trump for a gift of ten Dr. Seuss books Melania had made to the school in honor of Read a Book Day. The letter would make Miss Manners blanch. It … Continued