Stunning Portraits Depict Superheroes as the Subjects of Delicate Flemish Paintings

If you were The Hulk, wouldn’t you tire of the constant, uncontrolled transformation into a green version of the Governator? Wouldn’t people’s reliance on your pea-colored, tumescent masculinity get a little old? And eventually, wouldn’t you just want to hop over to the Renaissance Faire, buy a pretty ruff, some breeches, and sit for a portrait that’d express not just your superhuman physique, but also the inner turmoil (and, perhaps, the inner Renaissance fetish) that physique stirs? … Read More

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Why Do We Call Movie Previews “Trailers”?

When you work the movie beat, the question you get most often when people find out what you do is the obvious one: “So, what’s out now that’s good?” (It’s a question too often answered, particularly in early spring and late summer, with eyes cast upward and a lengthy “Ummmmm….”) But, at least in this writer’s experience, the second most oft-posed question is one that’s popped up more frequently as previews for forthcoming movies have become more omnipresent in not just film culture, but pop culture in general. Why, I am asked, are such previews called “trailers”? … Read More

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‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 8 Recap: “Teachers”

First things first: If, prior to watching this episode, someone said that “Teachers” would feature a roommate who doesn’t know how to do laundry and doesn’t know how to use a ruler, who would you guess? Nick, right? Right! Instead, it’s Schmidt and Winston, respectively, and it’s two character decisions that throw me off but… Read More

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Undermining Traditions, from Objectification to Turkey Dinner: Links You Need To See

The great Lindy West — one of the voices that rises above the chatter of the crowd with essays that are to the point — has a piece at the Daily Dot that is a punch to the gut of misogynists and purported “nice guys” alike. The ironically clickbait-y title—”The One Basic Thing Men Still Don’t Seem to Understand About Women“—disguises a super-simple premise: “women are people.” That’s the thing that men often don’t understand. An excerpt: … Read More

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2014′s Word of the Year, Vape, Is Ridiculous — So Let’s Change Its Meaning

My initial reaction after hearing that the Oxford Dictionaries have chosen “vape” as its word of the year for 2014: this is dumb as hell. Why, I thought, do they always have to cull the word of the year from techno-cultural fads and chat room gibberish? And as a word of the year, vape is without question a thoroughly British selection: both the sound of the word and its action come across as unduly Victorian and literally steampunk. But the obvious problem with “vape” as a word of the year selection is that it may have a short lifespan. E-cigarettes are increasingly banned in cosmopolitan areas, even if their prohibition is hasty and ill-founded. So vape is in danger of becoming a “word of the year” in the sense that, having vanished, it may be uniquely tied to the year 2014 as a kind of period piece. How long before “vape” vapes? Its usage is already in decline after peaking in April. … Read More

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A Love Letter to the Modern World: On Emily St. John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’

Historically, prestigious prizes like the National Book Award are reserved for realist fiction, or at least historical fiction from a realist angle; and, for many of us, these books can make for dull reading. Thankfully, it appears that the tide is turning towards a wider variety of voices, settings — and genres. Most indicative of this turn is the recent success of Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in October. The winner will be announced on November 19. … Read More

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8 Books That Illuminate the Crisis in Mexico

“Mexico is on the brink,” the LA Times wrote last week, “and America is largely oblivious.” On November 7th, after more than a month of confusion over what became of the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School in Guerrero, Mexico, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam announced that they had been executed and incinerated in the municipal dump of Cocula. The news, according to Francisco Goldman at the New Yorker, only deepens the feelings of “horror, indignation, sadness, disgust, and fear” for Mexicans, who are left wondering why anyone would murder so many innocents, who were apparently stopping in the city to get gas for a trip. … Read More

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Progressive, Tea Party, or Anarchist: Whose Side Is Katniss Really On?

Since I began turning its pages, I assumed The Hunger Games was a rallying cry for like-minded progressives and radicals. This was thanks to its pretty upfront indictment of state-inflicted violence and, in particular, of hunger caused by gross economic inequality. Occupy Panem! I thought. Redistribute the wealth! … Read More

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That’s Enough, Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce) has been a Famous Cat On The Internet since 2012, when her picture was uploaded to Reddit. The combination of her underbite and feline dwarfism gives Grumpy Cat the appearance of being, well grumpy. That’s it. That’s the whole schtick. This cat looks displeased with the world around her. Sure, some Grumpy Cat memes were funny enough, but the problem is that they kept — they keep — going. … Read More

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25 of Music’s Most Obnoxiously Misogynist Songs

As long as there’s been music, there have been unpleasant lyrical descriptions based on the subject’s gender — songwriters have long been relying on stereotypes and/or on demonizing the opposite sex as a way of expressing their pain and heartbreak and resentment and whatever else is troubling them. None of this, of course, means that doing so is anything less than obnoxious, so as an exercise in symmetry, over the next couple of days, we’re looking at both misogyny and misandry (because, y’know, that’s a real thing!) in music. First, then, the misogynist side of the… Read More

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