‘American Sniper’ Is Not Your Culture-War Talking Point

Last night, in a typically loathsome and infuriating appearance on The Daily Show, Mike Huckabee laid out, for all us dense coastal elite liberal types, the problem with our worldview. “There’s a real clash of cultures and there’s a disconnect between people who live in the ‘bubbles’ of New York, Washington, and Hollywood, versus the people who live in the land of the ‘Bubbas,’” he explained, which Stewart interpreted as a contention that “people who live on the coasts are not ‘real.’” It was, in a nutshell, Huckabee (and the book he was there to promote) attempting to jump-start that reliably contentious pseudo-political issue, the culture war. And, Huckabee insisted, the fault lies with the people in the “bubbles,” because “those of us who live in ‘Bubba-ville,’ we get the people in the bubbles — because television shows and movies are all about the people in the bubbles.” Yet according to the paper of record, “Bubba-ville” got its very own motion picture this weekend, and a controversy to go with it — all of which would be much more convenient if the film in question actually were the simplistic flag-waver that it’s being labeled as, on both sides of the political/cultural divide. … Read More

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Taylor Swift, John Boehner, and the New Intergenerational Condescension

Millennials, eh? Short attention spans, smartphones, narcissism, et cetera — how are you supposed to get through to them if you’re a good old-fashioned Republican looking to convince the majority of the American electorate to vote directly in contradiction to its own interests? (Again?) They don’t go in for patriotism, they’re skeptical of rhetoric about terrorism, and in general, they’re not big on old white men in suits. Well, unfortunately monikered House Speaker John Boehner reckons he has the answer: Taylor Swift GIFs! … Read More

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A Week On, ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Has Become a Symbol of Everything and Nothing

A week ago, 12 people were murdered in cold blood at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. In the seven days since, the magazine has become a symbol of… well, of what, exactly? It all depends on how you look at it. If you’re of a liberal persuasion, Charlie Hebdo became a symbol of the liberal values you hold so dear. If you’re on the right, it became a symbol for some self-serving rhetoric about free speech. If you’re far left, it became a symbol of racism and oppression. If you’re Glenn Beck, it became a symbol of how Islam is an inherently violent religion, or some such nonsense. If you’re a hardliner in Pakistan, it’s a symbol of Western contempt for Islam. If you’re Richard Dawkins, it probably became a symbol of the awfulness of religion in general. And so on. … Read More

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Satire, Terrorism, and Why We Need to Understand ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in All Its Complexity

When something awful happens, our immediate reaction is generally to wring our hands and look at the sky and ask, “Why?” It’s often far less clear, however, whether we want a genuine answer to that question. The question of how we can understand the actions of those who seem bent on destruction is a thorny one: it’s easy to conflate explanation with justification, and it’s far easier to just speak of people being “bad” or “evil” or “stupid” or whatever else. So bear with me here. … Read More

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Tinder for Politicos? New Political Dating App Aims at Young Voters

A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with a friend about whether she would venture to go on a second date. She had a nice time and the pair connected well on the first date. The only problem: his views on foreign policy, which were problematic, to put it gently. … Read More

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‘Citizenfour’ Production Team Being Sued by Former Kansan Politician

Laura Poitras’ illuminating documentary on Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal, Citizenfour, has stunned audiences and is rumored to… Read More

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Tyler, The Creator and Erykah Badu to Appear in Upcoming Police Brutality-Themed Episode of ‘Black Dynamite’

Tyler, The Creator and Erykah Badu will make cameos in an upcoming episode of the Adult Swim blaxploitation parody, Black… Read More

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