April 29, 2013
In the Bible, salvation regularly occurs by the most unexpected of paths. In a world that gave everything to the eldest boy, the Bible finds its heroes regularly in the younger son. In a society that rooted a woman’s status in marriage and children, Scripture turns to the barren and the widowed. And before a landscape of mighty powers, each more dangerous than the next, the Old Testament declares God has chosen for his own the tiniest of nations, while the New Testament proclaims liberation...
March 11, 2013
Odds are, if you have checked out the entertainment section of a newspaper recently, you have heard something about House of Cards, Netflix’s first major original series. Perhaps you have heard the fact that in February Netflix released all 13 episodes of the program’s first season at once; or that any number of people watched all 13 episodes in the first weekend (they are known by the flattering term “binge viewers”); or that the quality is quite...
February 25, 2013
Perhaps I am cynical, or perhaps it is simply because I live in California, but the term enlightened primarily evokes images of Lululemon yoga pants, chi excavation and quasi-Eastern sayings wrapped up firmly in the latest issue of O, the Oprah magazine, which sits untouched on the floor of a bright shiny S.U.V. So when I read that HBO had given the green light to a series titled Enlightened back in 2011, my pupils reflexively headed northbound...
October 15, 2012
The conventional wisdom is that this year’s three presidential debates, the first of which airs on October 3, are Mitt Romney’s best chance at a “game changer” that erases President Barack Obama’s small but persistent lead in the polls. “Romney’s bid to become the next president could come down to a few hours onstage on Wednesday night,” writes Nancy Cook of the National Journal....
June 18, 2012
One day last fall, an explosion of texts and tweets about police brutality began to appear on the Internet concerning an incident at the Occupy Cal protests on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley. Because most college students have camera phones, many captured on video footage of officers beating students, dragging a professor across the lawn by her hair and kneeling on the neck of a student being handcuffed.
May 7, 2012
Crime dramas have been a staple of American television since its inception. What possible new angle can there be? Women have long since become detectives; even criminals and psychic mediums have joined the force. When television’s loosened mores made sex a staple of prime time, the genre inherited a seemingly endless trust fund, but even that’s been spent. The developments in forensic science offered a new frontier for crime drama, which homesteaders quickly claimed.
April 16, 2012
God Is the Bigger Elvis," airing on HBO April 5, is a recently Academy Award-nominated documentary about former actress Dolores Hart, who left a becoming-major career in Hollywood to become a cloistered nun. Hart, who gave Elvis his first onscreen kiss and costarred with him in two of his pictures, seemingly left “it” all.
April 9, 2012
When Marlo Thomas mussed her hair for the first time during the opening credits of “That Girl” in 1966, the gesture marked a shift in how single women were perceived. Since then, stronger gestures have been made, like Mary Tyler Moore’s tossing of the beret. In the nearly 50 years since Thomas’s character, Ann Marie, flew her kite around Central Park, the life of...
March 26, 2012
2012 is senior year at McKinley High for several members of the Glee Club. Rachel and Kurt are both bent toward the bright lights of Broadway. It will be hard to see them go, but there’s a natural limit to how long adult actors—some of whom will see 30 not long after graduation—can play teenagers. The...
March 12, 2012
The first words of the first episode of the first season of Downton Abbey, two years ago, were “Oh, my God,” a locution probably not as common in Edwardian England as it is in Obaman America. In this case, though, the words are perfectly appropriate to the news being received by the North Yorkshire telegraph operator we see at work on April 15, 1912, who has just learned of the sinking of the Titanic.