Culture

Dallas Ebola Apartment Available to Rent

on 10.6.14 | 3:48PM

This morning, the CDC declared victory over Dallas's Ebola outbreak, noting that they've managed to track down and quarantine everyone the Dallas Ebola patient might have had contact with while he was contagious with the disease. The several Ebola scares from the weekend have all cleared, and the one Ebola patient who "woke from the dead" after being placed in a body bag, appears to have never been dead in the first place. So unless you're planning a vacation to Liberia or trying to bring about the Zombie Apocalypse, your concerns about bleeding from your eyes from a deadly foreign virus can be somewhat abated.

And, if you're looking for a snappy place to live in the greater Dallas area, you may also be just in time to snag a cheap rental. The "quarantine apartment," where Thomas Eric Duncan rode out the first wave of his Ebola in style is now squeaky clean and ready for a new inhabitant, NBC News DFW tweets.

Hannity and Levin Dance: A JibJab Must-See

By on 10.1.14 | 4:00AM

Ya gotta admit. Sean Hannity and Mark Levin got rhythm. Just look-see right here at Jib Jab, the site working with the two for months — OK years — to get them honed to Dancing With the Stars quality. 

Come on. Give it up for the JibJab Boys! What’s a conservative revolution if you can’t dance????

Dinesh D’Souza Avoids Time In The Slammer

By on 9.23.14 | 3:08PM

Congratulations are in order for controversial conservative journalist Dinesh D'Souza who received sentencing today after being found guily a few months back of campaign finance violations. He will spend 8 months in something called a "community confinement center," the New York Times reports, and will pay a $30,000 fine, but will avoid prison time.

D'Souza is perhaps best known of late for his work as a filmmaker. His "2016: Obama's America," released before the last election raised eyebrows with the suggestion that the president is carrying out an anti-colonialist agenda passed on to him by his deadbeat dad. More recently, he released "America: Imagine a World Without Her," which pulled in over $14 million at the box office, and published a companion book which hit the number one spot on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. I bet the folks at the Gray Lady just loved that.

Boob Tube

‘The Cosmopolitans’: Worth Watching Even If There’s Only One Episode

By 9.16.14

The Cosmopolitans, Whit Stillman’s new project about American expats in Paris, is several different kinds of experiment: It’s Stillman's first foray into television. It’s a return to the slightly more naturalistic style of earlier movies like Metropolitan, rather than the more stylized approach of 2011’s wise and winsome Damsels in Distress. And it's a commercial experiment, since Amazon is offering the pilot for free; the pilot’s ratings will decide whether Amazon picks up the whole series as part of its Prime content.  

That experiment deserves to succeed. Judging by the pilot, The Cosmopolitans will please fans of Stillman’s movies. There’s culture-clash comedy of manners, amiable and opinionated youth, and some very fun dialogue. (“This is my friend Hal. He’s lonely and craves the company of maternal women.”)

Boob Tube

With ‘The Cosmopolitans,’ Whit Stillman Has Evolved

By 9.11.14

Whit Stillman’s reputations rests upon a small body of work. After The Last Days of Disco (1998), he seemed, for a time, to be done. Twelve years later when he released Damsels in Distress, his fourth film, its reception was somewhat mixed; Damsels in Distress was cute and candy-colored, not much like the more muted and sophisticated Last Days of Disco. The dialogue, however, was still pure Stillman: neurotic WASPs worrying over the same customs and declining social mores, striking poses they don’t quite have the weight to hold onto. It wasn’t an altogether successful update, though it’s hard not to love a light-hearted romantic comedy that is constantly cracking jokes about suicide—or perhaps that’s just me.

Serve and Volley

Federer Improves—And the Yanks Are Knocked Out Cold

By 9.2.14

You can say that the first week of a major in tennis represents the triumph of hope over percentage: the world is wide open, anything is possible, the bold will be rewarded.

You can then add the sobering reflection that the second week, in the thick of which we find ourselves at the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows, Queens, represents the triumph of percentage over hope: the world has doors that slam on you when you thought they were unhinged.

Maybe you were unhinged, intoxicated with your own dreams.

Eminentoes

Bradley Manning Is Not a Victim of Cruel and Unusual Punishment

By 8.14.14

Is Bradley Manning suffering from vaginal dryness? Is his hair thinning out? Are his breasts getting smaller while his tummy swells like a gourd? How regular are his periods? What about his personality: is he behaving shrewishly toward his jailers at Fort Leavenworth, haranguing them about the toilet seat? The world wants to know. Or at least I do.

Flick Story

Watch ‘The Giver’ to Remind Yourself Why We’re Fighting

By 8.13.14

What do progressives want? If you want to know, to really see, then pack up the wife and kids and head to your local movie theater on August 15.

Based on the Lois Lowry novel, a new movie called The Giver is going to change the way people think about the nanny state. The movie is not some sort of right-wing propaganda film. In fact, it has such Hollywood heft as Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Brenton Thwaites, and — a casting decision that will please my 15 year daughter Lucy — Taylor Swift. The novel’s author is, in fact, an Obama supporter.

So why do I say all conservatives should see it? Because it shows us what’s at stake.

The movie includes a totalitarian government like we’ve seen in The Hunger Games and Divergent, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these themes keep popping up under and administration that regularly erodes our liberties and targets its perceived enemies.

‘The Giver’ Movie: Translating Big Ideas From a Little Book

By on 8.8.14 | 3:35PM

Filmmakers adapting Lois Lowry’s The Giver to the silver screen — fitting to the monochromatic utopia she created — have a tall order. I attended a prescreening of the Weinstein and Walden Media film on Wednesday (signing in the process an embargo not to review the movie until next week), but I can probably say that the adaptation remains true to the themes highlighted in the well-loved novel.

The story’s protagonist, Jonas, is the new “Receiver of Memories,” a historian a la George Santayana in a history-less society. He who must dispense wisdom for the present based on memories of the past must grapple with the guilt of moral knowledge as a member of an amoral society. 

Special Report

From Boob Jokes to Ukraine: A Talk With Robert Evans of Cracked.Com

By 7.31.14

Gallows humor is one of the most traditional and least savory elements of esprit de corps. For cops, doctors, soldiers, social workers—anybody whose job site is the miserable human heart—gallows humor puts the “against the world” into us-against-the-world. In a Venn diagram of “jokes cops post in online forums” and “civil rights violations,” a lot of material would fall in the overlap area. Emergency-room abbreviations like CTD (Circling the Drain) or FDGB (Fall Down Go Boom) cauterize the emotions, triaging competence at the expense of empathy. When gallows humor enters journalism it’s often dehumanizing without the excuse of necessity: I’ll always love the tabloid style, but one day I realized that HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR describes the death of some mother’s child. 

In this hard-bitten landscape, the journalistic experiment in empathy Cracked.com has embarked on is an outlier. Cracked, which started out as MAD Magazine’s kid brother, now looks more like a punk version of the Washington Post.

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