George Bernard Shaw

The Last Words of 20 Cultural Icons

Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, who died last week at the age of 74, was laid to rest in Dublin yesterday. During the memorial, his son reveled that his father’s last words were sent in a text message he wrote to his wife just minutes before he passed away: “Noli timere” – Latin for “don’t be afraid.” In a world full of second chances, you can only utter your final words once. Here’s how a selection of cultural icons bid farewell to this… Read More

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Fascinating Early-20th-Century Color Photos of Famous People

There are some historical figures who we always think of in black and white. After all, the world trucked on in monochrome, Pleasantville-style, until the middle of the 20th century, right? Well, not exactly. In fact, color photography dates back to the mid-1800s — the first three-color process photo was taken in 1855, but it wasn’t until 1907 that the first commercially viable method of color photography, Lumière Autochrome, was invented — and perhaps unsurprisingly, photographers jumped to take snapshots of their famous friends. Below, some notable characters, from Mark Twain to Auguste Rodin, whom we usually see in black and white, showing their true colors. … Read More

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10 Famous Authors Who Dropped Out of School

This time of year, we often find ourselves thinking about the origins of our favorite writers — how they found themselves on the writing path, what they read, how they learned. And we’ve been surprised to realize how many successful and even legendary writers dropped out of school and ended up teaching themselves. Here are ten who went on to achieve great success with independent… Read More

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10 of the Best “Makeovers” in Literature

Yesterday, Emma Straub’s excellent debut novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures waltzed onto bookshelves everywhere. We loved the book, which follows a young girl’s rise to stardom in Old Hollywood, as she transforms from a sunny country bumpkin to a savvy brunette bombshell to something else entirely. Inspired by the novel, which is full of many transformations, both literal and somewhat more metaphorical, we’ve put together a few of our favorite makeovers in literature — from the kind achieved with a little spit and polish to the sort that requires a vast internal sea change. Click through to see which we picked, and let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments. … Read More

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10 Classic Rom-Com Epiphany Moments

If you just saw Friends with Kids and are considering procreating with your best friend in the hope that it will awaken some latent attraction and end this tortuous search for love already, you’re not alone. But as cultural critics we feel it’s our job, no duty, to point out that although this new rom-com is wonderful and refreshing, it still employs some of the same devices as its predecessors, namely the late-game epiphany. You know what we’re talking about. The moment in which one of the leads realizes their soul mate has been in front of them the whole time. Thanks to dramatic denouement and proper timing, rom-coms have led us to believe it’s a perfectly good idea to date our sex buddies, stepbrothers, and sparring partners. Just click through some of our favorite examples to see what we mean. And as always, we invite you to share your favorites in the comments. … Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds In Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we were just as excited as everyone else on the Internet was about OK Go’s music video for their cover of the “Muppet Show Theme Song.” We were saddened by the news that Frank Potenza, better known as “Uncle Frank” from Jimmy Kimmel Live!, has passed away… Read More

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Blue Streaks: 10 Writers of Profane Prose

By now, you’ve probably heard about Nicholson Baker’s controversial new novel, House of Holes, which is an incredibly dirty, madcap adventure which details the lives of sexual deviants. (If not, find a brief excerpt here.) As you might imagine, the language that Baker uses is pretty colorful — but it’s certainly nothing groundbreaking. To prove our point, we decided to round up a few authors who broke boundaries when swearing wasn’t as common as it is today. So read on, dear readers, and tell us what “vulgar” reads we missed. … Read More

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