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The Gospel’s Steady Work of Reversal

The Gospel’s Steady Work of Reversal

David Brooks’ most recent op-ed discusses the late career of Ernest Hemingway, how he became in his later years “a prisoner of his own celebrity.” Hemingway was a famous writer by 25 and by middle age he was simply “playing at being Ernest Hemingway.” Of course, this is where most of us might roll our eyes, and say few are so lucky. It’d be nice to a prisoner to your laurels instead of your demons. But when it comes down to it, Brooks isn’t just talking about fame. He is instead talking about works righteousness in a most literal sense: that becoming righteous (or noteworthy,…

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Trumping to Conclusions

Trumping to Conclusions

In September 2009, after being fired by Air America for the third time, comedian Marc Maron began the WTF podcast. It was born of necessity. Maron was 45 years old with a mediocre comedy career behind him and nothing on the horizon. But he knew a bunch of other comedians, so he sat down with them and recorded hour-long conversations, hoping that people would listen. Since then, Maron has recorded almost 700 such conversations, starting with comedians but expanding to writers, actors, directors, and, last year, the President of the United States. With a technique honed in therapy and a series…

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On Being Southern, and Human

On Being Southern, and Human

Pat Conroy died a couple of weeks ago. If you aren’t familiar with the name, then you’ve probably heard of at least one of his novels–most likely The Prince of Tides, which was made into a movie in 1991, starring Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand. (Three other books of his were also made movies, but to less fanfare and star wattage.) As far as celebrity deaths go–literary celebrity deaths, at least–this one hit me pretty hard.

I was a fan of Conroy’s from the time I stole my mom’s copy of Beach Music. I was probably…

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RBF: What Has It Brought Us?

RBF: What Has It Brought Us?

This one comes to us from Bronwen Newcott:

Memed, laughed at, and dropped in conversation for the past few years, RBF has taken on new life as the public, including scientists, have jumped into the mix. RBF: Resting Bitch Face (alternatively known as “bitchy resting face” which came from a parody Public Service Announcement in 2013.) is a “condition” of looking angry, bothered, or irritated when one’s face is at rest.

In August 2015, The New York Times published an article called, “I’m Not Mad. That’s Just My RBF” in which they explored the sexist implications of the term. Women, in…

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Jim Carrey and the Terrible Search for Fulfillment

Jim Carrey and the Terrible Search for Fulfillment

Every now and again, I think I’ve got all the plates spinning at once. I’ve done enough, and I can be satisfied. I strut down the grocery aisle like it’s a dance floor, giving nods and high-fives to strangers, like Heart’s “Barracuda” is my cool and easy life’s soundtrack.

Then, suddenly, my son pitches a Grade-A Hissy Fit right there in the store because the cereal he wanted five minutes ago is not the cereal he wants now. In the midst of his public hysteria, my phone dings and I see that I’ve received another: “This is great, but not for…

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The Results We Never Asked For: The Tragedy of Lawrence Phillips

The Results We Never Asked For: The Tragedy of Lawrence Phillips

Former Nebraska Cornhusker football star Lawrence Phillips’ apparent suicide in prison has been lodged in my mind as few celebrity (speaking broadly) deaths ever have. To be clear, I’ve never been a fan of Phillips, and I hadn’t thought about him enough to follow his post-Nebraska life. The story touches so much of who I am, though, that I can’t quite make sense of it.

A bit of background: Phillips was the star running back on the 1994 National Champion Huskers team, and he was a leading favorite for the Heisman Trophy at the beginning of the 1995 season. That ended…

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From the Archives: The Modern State of The Charming Man

From the Archives: The Modern State of The Charming Man

This was written in light of news that Vince Vaughn was chosen to be the star in a film based on the 1970’s television show The Rockford Files, starring James Garner.

Grant had developed a new way to interact with a woman onscreen: he treated his leading lady as both a sexually attractive female and an idiosyncratic personality, an approach that often required little more than just listening to her—a tactic that had previously been as ignored in the pictures as it remains, among men, in real life. His knowing but inconspicuously generous style let the actress’s performance flourish, making…

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Just Like That Bluebird: The Mortal Prayers of David Bowie, RIP

Just Like That Bluebird: The Mortal Prayers of David Bowie, RIP

Gutted by this morning’s tragic news about the death of David Bowie. His incredible new single “Lazarus” had actually been on repeat in our office the past couple weeks. By way of paltry tribute, here’s the reflection from the back of A Mess of Help, slightly embellished. The world will be a duller place without him:

Rumor has it that David Bowie lobbied for the role of grand elf Elrond in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of The Rings. As good as Hugo Weaving was, Bowie would have been better, and not just because he played more or less to type in…

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Three Hard to Absorb Letters

Three Hard to Absorb Letters

Here’s one from our podcasting guru, Scott Jones:

This week Charlie Sheen revealed to the world he is HIV positive. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Sheen describes the moment he received the diagnosis:

… it started with what I thought based on a series of cluster headaches and insane migraines and sweating the bed, completely drenched two, three nights in a row, that I was emergency hospitalized. I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over. Um… after a battery of tests and spinal taps, all that crap, it uh… they walked in the room and said, ‘Boom….

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Introducing Covetton House

Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! And this particular gift couldn’t be more timely, given Jeff’s post on The Century of the Self yesterday. Some of you may want to fast forward to the 3 minute mark.

Jordan Spieth: There’s No “I” in Golf…Huh?

Jordan Spieth: There’s No “I” in Golf…Huh?

I’ve always had respect for the players and coaches in any sport who use the first person plural when they’re interviewed after a win, and the first person singular when things went poorly for them or their team after a loss. Derek Jeter was like that, so were Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw and Buc’s Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy. That vantage point is counter-intuitive. To sit at your locker in front of a reporter after a loss and continually answer every question with “I…..” after a loss, but  “We…..” after a win, is a discipline that very few in…

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The Agony of Getting Everything You Want

The Agony of Getting Everything You Want

Newly minted billionaire Markus Persson of Minecraft fame (if you don’t know what Minecraft is, ask any boy aged 8-12) is not happy. A series of tweets from early Saturday morning went as follows:

4:48am: The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance.

4:50am: Hanging out in ibiza with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I’ve never felt more isolated.

4:51am: In sweden, I will sit around and wait for my friends with jobs and families to have time to do shit,…

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