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Henry Louis Gates
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Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian would have left little more than lipstick stains in their passing had it not been for the sex videos that lofted them into reality-TV notoriety. Once notoriety has warmed into familiarity, celebrity itself becomes one big 'Brady Bunch' reunion, or a therapy session with Dr. Drew.
Bad acting comes in many bags, various odors. It can be performed by cardboard refugees from an Ed Wood movie, reciting their dialogue off an eye chart, or by hopped-up pros looking to punch a hole through the fourth wall from pure ballistic force of personality, like Joe Pesci in a bad mood. I can respect bad acting that owns its own style.
In the voyeurism of Reality TV, the viewer's passivity is kept intact, pampered and massaged and force-fed Chicken McNuggets of carefully edited snippets that permit him or her to sit in easy judgment and feel superior at watching familiar strangers make fools of themselves. Reality TV looks in only one direction: down.
Book-jacket design may become a lost art, like album-cover design, without which late-20th-century iconography would have been pauperized.
What had brought me to New York in the autumn of 1972 was a letter of recommendation written by Norman Mailer, the author of 'The Naked and the Dead' and American literature's leading heavyweight contender, to Dan Wolf, the delphic editor of 'The Village Voice.'
The days when the words 'Hollywood actor' framed Ronald Reagan like bunny fingers as an ID tag and an implied insult seem far-off and quaint: nearly everybody in politics - candidate, consultant, pundit, and Tea Party crowd extra alike - is an actor now, a shameless ham in a hoked-up reality series that never stops.
Republicans: steely, rational, paternalistic, respectful of authority, easy to herd, the party of No. Democrats: sugary, emotional, idealistic, yearning for novelty, hard to marshal, the party of Oh Yeah, Baby, Make Mama Feel Good.
Everyone is entitled to his own nostalgia.
The whole ecosystem of celebrity has broken down for writers. If you go back to the '50s, '60s, and '70s, writers were on TV a lot, and they were allowed to misbehave a lot.
I understand that one of the purposes of bipartisanship is to cram something difficult and necessary down the American people's gullets for which neither party has the fortitude to assume full responsibility. It's a way of turning a possible gangplank into a teeter-totter.
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As we divest ourselves of once familiar physical objects - digitize and dematerialize - we approach a 'Star Trek' future in which everything can be accessed from the fourth dimension with a few clicks or terse audibles.
It's the contemporary woman that movies don't know what to do with, other than bathe her in a bridal glow in romantic comedies where both the romance and the comedy are artificial sweeteners.
Like Andy Warhol and unlike God Almighty, Larry King does not presume to judge; all celebrities are equal in his eyes, saints and sinners alike sharing the same 'Love Boat' voyage into the dark beyond, a former sitcom star as deserving of pious send-off as Princess Diana.
Being raised Catholic in a pressure-cooker household besieged by alcohol and bill collectors enforced and heightened a sense of sentry duty in me, the oldest of five children and the one most responsible for keeping everything from capsizing. Wild indulgence was for other people, the non-worriers.
One reason I'm such a wayward prognosticator of rightwing trends is that I'm incapable of blacking out enough neural sectors to see the world through reptilian-brained eyes, a prerequisite for any true channeling of the mean resentments and implanted fears that drive hardcore conservatives.
With 'Black Swan,' the ballerina saga flips its tiara and goes on a hallucinatory bender, a scary acid trip where transfiguration and disfiguration meet.
It's one thing to fight for what you believe in, another thing to fight for what others believe in.
It isn't that NPR is matriarchal but that it has dedicated itself to not being patriarchal in its outlook and presentation, stipulating from the outset that its headline voices would not resound across the fruited plains from big male bags of air sent from Mount Olympus.
Even the most piddling life is of momentous consequence to its owner.
The lies the government and media tell are amplifications of the lies we tell ourselves. To stop being conned, stop conning yourself.
I try to avoid Politico to spare myself psoriasis of the brain but so many journalists cite it that I'm forced to be aware of it no matter how big a moat I build.
A lost election can have the jolt of a drop through the gallows door, leading to a dark night of the soul in which the future presses down like a cloud that will never lift.
Used to be, conservatives revered the Average American, that Norman Rockwell oil painting of diner food, humble faith, honest toil, and Capraesque virtue.
I never accepted why there should be some invisible, wavy cutoff line separating Great Fiction from phosphorescent beauties and dollhouse miniatures, novels that contain a whole world in a snow globe.
How can I impress strangers with the gem-like flame of my literary passion if it's a digital slate I'm carrying around, trying not to get it all thumbprinty?
As music migrates into our iPods, CD collections require less and less room, residing in our heads rather than resounding off the walls. The protracted labor of amassing a personal music library has lost its detective zeal.
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