Our Narcissistic Age Could Use Some ‘Casablanca’ Values

Casablanca never could have been made today. The classic movie, which turned seventy-five this year, features themes that would never fly in today’s world: that personal happiness is not the most important goal; that feelings ought to be ignored at times; and that romantic love isn’t always worth pursuing. Talk about retro values. In case … Continued


What Harvey Weinstein Reveals About Hollywood Values

Harvey Weinstein is the latest powerful Hollywood executive to be accused of repeated sexual harassment. These aren’t just examples of dirty old men, however—these abuses have been covered up for decades, thanks to Hollywood’s toxic culture of fame, power, and sex. It’s a tale as old as Hollywood itself. A powerful producer calls a young … Continued


Keyshawn Johnson: Father of the Year?

For sports fans of a certain age, the name “Keyshawn Johnson” is not one closely associated with terms like “humility” and “wise counsel.” Drafted as the overall #1 pick in 1996 by the New York Jets, for more than a decade the hot-shot wide receiver from the University of Southern California made headlines and football … Continued


Hollywood’s Moving Tribute to Vets

On the night of Veterans Day, hundreds of thousands of people attended “The Concert for Valor” on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall (also available on HBO and Ustream), a three-hour concert that included a dozen musical acts, comedians, and gracious hosts, interspersed with emotional video vignettes about exceptional servicemen and women. Only a week after an … Continued


The Values of the Twitterverse

It’s been a busy few weeks for the zeitgeist-chasers who populate Twitter—busier even than usual.  Watching social media as Conversations of Great Importance unfold is a crash course in social posturing. First, there was Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay in The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” and certain denizens of Twitter proceeded to climb over one another … Continued


Beyoncé’s Soulful Feminism

I happened to like Beyoncé’s halftime show at the Superbowl. But I also happen to like Beyoncé. Perhaps it’s because Beyoncé, whether she means to or not, promotes a pro-family version of feminism. She more or less said in an interview that her husband, Jay-Z, is the only man that she has ever slept with. … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Fashion, Parenting

Judd Apatow’s Family Values

I’ve done more than my share of decoding culture for political subtexts. But sometimes cultural messages are best articulated in terms of values rather than politics. Last week, for example, an interviewer for Film Comment commented to director Judd Apatow that Time and again, you show us couples trying really hard to work out their … Continued

Culture, Movies