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Harold Pinter Dies, George Clooney Throws Pies, and Other Cultural News

Harold Pinter takes his final pause: The famed British playwright died yesterday at 78 after suffering from cancer. As the Guardian reports, when Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature back in 2005, the committee claimed he was “generally seen as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century.” On the 40th anniversary of our favorite of Pinter’s works, The Homecoming, New Yorker critic John Lahr once wrote: “The Homecoming changed my life. Before the play, I thought words were just vessels of meaning; after it, I saw them as weapons of defense. Before, I thought theatre was about the spoken; after, I understood the eloquence of the unspoken. The position of a chair, the length of a pause, the choice of a gesture, I realized, could convey volumes.” [Guardian]

Ahmadinejad asks WWJD?: If you’re in Britain and feel like indulging in a Christmas downer tonight, tune into Channel 4 where Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will deliver viewers a special holiday message. According to the Daily Beast, the more naughty than nice leader plans to take a jab at the United States saying, “If Christ was on Earth today undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.” Good thing the scariest thing we have to deal with on TV stations in the US is seeing A Christmas Story more than once. [TDB]

No Dark Knight in China: Due to several scenes shot in Hong Kong which Chinese censors found offensive, the popular flick won’t be getting released in their country. While Variety says that Warner Bros. has already seen foreign grosses top $465 million for Dark Knight, just think what a billion more in ticket sales could have done to that number. Might be something to keep in mind for round three. [Variety]

Because Hollywood doesn’t break for X-mas: Lindsay Lohan has a new half-sibling for her mother to exploit; DJ AM is hopping on board the lawsuit train with Travis Barker, the only other survivor of their September plane crash; Michael Cera is the one pumping the brakes on the Arrested Development movie; and George Clooney once threw a bunch of pumpkin pies at that guy from Everybody Loves Raymond on Christmas.

The year’s buzziest terms: Thank heavens for the New York Times , who decided to drop their list of the buzzwords of 2008 on an extremely slow news day. Seriously, we struggled to find five interesting things happening in the world of culture that we could share with you — apparently we weren’t the only bloggers who spent the majority of their day opening gifts/watching The Curious (and Extremely Long) Case of Benjamin Button. There are plenty of obvious words in the roundup — fail, change, Obamanation — but less likely suspects — frugalista, staycation — which we want to believe couldn’t have been used by more than a handful of people, made the cut too. The most upsetting one we spotted: pregorexia…which is exactly what it sounds like. [NYT]

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