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Don’t Believe the Media. Arkansas is Not the Riyadh of the West

Is Arkansas the new Saudi Arabia? You’d think so from recent news accounts about the state’s new abortion restrictions. “In Arkansas, women will need permission from men to get abortions,” a headline on HuffPost said. Other publications, including The Independent in the UK, and Allure and Glamour magazines, used the same wording in headlines and … Continued

Politics

Couples Don’t Need Wedding Loans. They Need More Modest Weddings

It’s been fifty-four years since Jessica Mitford skewered the funeral industry in The American Way of Death, and twenty-five years since she followed up with The American Way of Birth, which was equally scathing. Unfortunately, Mitford died without writing the third part of what should have been a trilogy. Missing is an exploration of the … Continued

Culture

Why Rage Rooms Don’t Work

Angry Americans with too much money and time now have an outlet for disposing of both. The emergence of “rage rooms”—where people can beat objects senseless—is heralded as solution to the existential wrath that simmers on AM radio and cable news shows and in the driver in your rearview mirror who thinks you’re not going … Continued

Culture

Hallmark and the Marketing of the Happy Divorce

Hallmark has built a brand synonymous with love and family. The Hallmark Channel is famously filled with happy endings; its slogan is “the heart of TV.”  Even celebrations derided as “Hallmark holidays” are all about love nurtured and sustained against the odds. So it’s a little jarring to peruse Father’s Day and anniversary cards at the … Continued

Culture

The Worried Parents’ Guide to K-Pop

If you suffered through the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, you may know that a Korean pop group called BTS bested several American bands and singers in a category called “Best Social Artist.” Being best social artist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an especially good singer or musician. It means that your fans voted more frequently … Continued

Entertainment


Oprah, Henrietta Lacks and the Little Red Hen

Michael Finkel is a writer in Montana who read the news on his smartphone one morning and came across an intriguing story. Police in Maine had arrested the elusive Sasquatch of a man known as the “North Pond hermit,” a loner suspected in more than 1,000 burglaries over a quarter of a century. While thousands … Continued

Entertainment

Is it Sexist to Call Women ‘Joggers’ Instead of ‘Runners?’

It’s marathon season, and so the nation’s streets are full of “joggers,” or so most headline writers in the U.S. would have us believe. In newspapers around the country, it’s not runners, but “joggers” that are assaulted by strangers, hit by cars, pelted with fireworks, or bitten by a rabid fox. I’ve been ranting about … Continued

Culture

Why We Should Bring Back “Ma’am” and “Sir”

The ever winsome Rachel Maddow won kudos last week for her response when a New Jersey congressman called her “sir” on the air. “It’s all right, I answer to both,” she said, laughing, after Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat from Paterson, quickly corrected himself with a “ma’am.” The exchange is notable for two reasons: … Continued

Culture

Media Perplexed: Four Children are “Work”

You don’t have to be a fan of Kellyanne Conway to be angry at how the headlines treated her last week. All you have to be is a parent blessed with a large family. In the latest public skewering of an advisor to the president, Conway was roundly mocked for the reason she gave when … Continued

Culture, Parenting, Politics