The Spectacle Blog

Artists Don’t Owe You Anything

By on 4.10.14 | 11:20AM

Popular works of entertainment, be they mutant teenagers flying across the big screen or young heroines flourishing in post-apocalyptic scenarios on the printed page, are subject to endless criticism. Richard Roeper has made a career doing this very thing.

However, in the age of the Internet, a new form of criticism has emerged. I call it Goldilocks syndrome. This is defined as criticizing art based on the critic’s view of what the art should be. In other words, this porridge is too hot (based on what? Your subjective tastes? What about the creator’s desire for the porridge?) or this porridge is too cold. True evaluation of art has to take the work on its own terms in its own context. Another way of phrasing this would be to ask the question: "What was the artist’s goal in creating this work and how well did he achieve it?"

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Morning Round-Up 4-10

By on 4.10.14 | 10:06AM

Feature of the Day: Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. Police Seek Motive of School Stabbing Rampage

Politico

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Aaron on Aaron

By on 4.10.14 | 12:08AM

When I wrote my tribute commemorating the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th career home run last night, I was not aware of his comments likening Republicans, conservatives and others who disagree with President Obama to the KKK to which Larry Thornberry has drawn our attention.

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Israel ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in Kerry

By on 4.9.14 | 5:59PM

According to the New York Times, an unnamed official in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Netanyahu is "deeply disappointed" in Secretary of State John Kerry for blaming Israel for the collapse of peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 
 
During testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Kerry said Israel's announcement of the construction of 700 homes in East Jerusalem was to blame. Kerry said, "Poof, that was the sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are."
 
Deeply disappointed is putting it mildly.
 
Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin rips Kerry to shreds over his outlandish claim.
 

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Ladies: You Can’t Have It All

By on 4.9.14 | 5:07PM

In a low-blow attempt to make Republicans look like evil, money-hungry white guys who don’t care about women, Democrats recently introduced equal-pay legislation for the third time since 2010.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans voted no:

Republicans said the bill would make it hard for companies to award merit pay or offer flexible work hours in exchange for lower pay and expose employers to costly, frivolous lawsuits.

Ignoring the tired debate over whether Republicans hate women, let’s ask the relevant question: Do women really make less than men?

The 23 percent pay gap myth was already busted. Megan McArdle argued today that if you compare apples to apples—a man and a woman of the same age who work the same number of hours in the same profession with the same educational status—the gap shrinks to 5 percent.

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Slugger Is Way Off Base

By on 4.9.14 | 4:22PM

What a miserable old blister Henry Aaron has become. In connection with the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record, he told USA Today that Republicans and conservatives who oppose Barrack Obama and his policies are racists, little better than ku kluxers.

A sample: “Sure this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all the Republicans with the way he’s treated…back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Charming.

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A Monumental Step in Medicare Transparency

By on 4.9.14 | 3:33PM

In a monumental transparency effort, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Studies has released Medicare payment data covering $77 billion given to 880,000 practitioners in 2012.

For the first time in 35 years, the public can see how and where their Medicare tax dollars are being spent. The American Medical Association has fought this release for years, fearing that people would jump to misinformed assumptions about the data.

According to Bloomberg, Medicare paid nearly 4,000 physicians $1 million or more each in 2012:

The listing, gleaned from 880,000 providers paid by Medicare, was released this morning. The data, the first look at physician payments by the agency in more than 30 years, showed that most spending fell to a small group of doctors, with less than 3 percent taking in about 28 percent of the $64 billion paid out to individual providers.

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Will There Be Calls for Knife Control?

By on 4.9.14 | 2:31PM

There have been two mass stabbing incidents today. The first (which has received the lion's share of attention) took place at a high school outside of Pittsburgh where 21 people have been injured, nine of them in critical condition. The assailant was a student at the high school. North of the border, four people were stabbed at an office building in Toronto and one woman is in critical condition. They were apparently stabbed by a fellow employee who is in police custody. 
 

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Reverend Al: Government Snitch

By on 4.9.14 | 1:49PM

The oft-entertaining website The Smoking Gun came out with a bombshell report on Monday that Reverend Al Sharpton, civil rights leader cum racebaiting, attention seeking cad, worked as a stoolie for the FBI who helped build a case against the mafia. He performed this government service during his 1980s salad days of custom track suits, outrageously large medallions, and enough pomade to choke a horse. The Smoking Gun does not mince words in their must-read:

When friends and family members gathered recently at the White House for a private celebration of Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday, one of the invited partygoers was a former paid FBI Mafia informant.

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Brandeis’ Disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali No Surprise

By on 4.9.14 | 12:43PM

I wish I could say I am surprised that Brandeis University has withdrawn its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Brandeis was set to give Hirsi Ali an honorary doctorate, but she wasn't good enough for the Coalition of the Oppressed.

In October 2010, I went to Brandeis to accompany my roommate Christopher Kain who was invited to give a poetry reading there. When we entered the main campus building we were greeted by this sign:

FREE GILAD SHALIT
 AND THE 6,011 PALESTINIANS BEING HELD IN ISRAELI JAILS

I should explain the font size for AND THE 6,011 PALESTINIANS BEING HELD IN ISRAELI JAILS was at least ten times larger than FREE GILAD SHALIT. 

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