Category: Popular Culture

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Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic is one of the most powerful artists of our time. Her medium is performance, the human body as a maker and object of art. In the arresting and illuminating documentary “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present,” about her landmark 2012 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art — entitled “The Artist is...

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We Didn’t Know

If, like us, you don’t watch much television and, therefore, effectively shield yourself from the indignities of all the marketing/messaging/propaganda used to sell products and “lifestyles,” when you come face-to-face with the fire-breathing beast, your ignorance of Basic Ideas might take your breath away. It did ours. We were forced from our hermetically sealed cave...

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The Healing Power of Carbon Neutrality

Terrific news! We’ve discovered a handgun company, Gang Green Firearms, whose entire product line is certifiably carbon neutral. They have certificates that say so. Their pistols and automatics do what all other guns do – shoot bullets that kill living creatures – but, even so, you’ve got to admit that a carbon neutral gun has...

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The Battered Bastards of Baseball

It seems impossible today. But from 1973-1977, before corporate control of America became nearly absolute, the Portland Mavericks, a Class A minor league baseball franchise, played independently, without any Major League Baseball affiliation. Competing against future Yankees and Dodgers (and the giant organizations that bankroll them), the Mavs improbably ruled the competitive Pacific League, fielding...

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Century of the Self

Originally released in 2002, Adam Curtis’s “Century of the Self” was a four-part series on the BBC that examined how Sigmund Freud’s theories of human psychology have been employed (and refined) by the rich and powerful to control the dangerous impulses of the masses. Much of this dazzlingly entertaining yarn focuses on Freud’s nephew Edward...

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The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek is a charming public intellectual whose accented-English, absentminded nose-wiping, and obvious enthusiasm for Ideas make him a kind of ambassador of deep thinking. In the 2012 documentary “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” directed by Sophie Fiennes, Zizek delivers dazzling deconstructions of many popular films, showing how they function as instruments of...

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Poem: What’s in There?

You could say our addiction to convenience and comfort has been successfully repackaged as the highest end for our brilliant technological means. Or, you could say that we’re in the grip of a nationwide plague. Of…A.D.D. Or, you could say we’re simply a country of poorly developed adult minds with the collective attention span of...

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Matt McCarthy

Comedians have their strengths. Some are good with “paper”  — prepared written material. Some are expert improvisers. Some create indelible characters. And a few, the rare ones, can do it all. Matt McCarthy, a longtime New York comic currently destroying Los Angeles, has got the magic. We’ve seen him in several realms, including bar-raising sets at Troy Conrad’s...

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Brandon Wardell

Remarkable comedic talent in young people is easy to spot. It presents itself insistently and clearly. What the precocious possessor of the talent will do with it — develop it or let it wither — is hard to predict (as demonstrated by our previous comedy New Discoveries). In the case of DC-raised, Los Angeles-based comedian Brandon Wardell,...

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Redskins Forever!

The Washington Redskins have the coolest nickname in all of sports. Their logo – a stone-faced Indian wearing 19th Century feathers – is also pretty awesome. Here’s how you know the name “Redskins” isn’t a slur against a conquered and marginalized people but is actually a part of the NFL’s long tradition of diversity and...