Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
6

Which Kind Of Annoying Contrarian Are You?

Yesterday morning, Armond White was removed from the New York Film Critics Circle. He got the boot because last week, at their annual awards, he heckled Twelve Years A Slave director Steve McQueen, mid-acceptance speech, loud enough for much of the room to hear. (White absolutely denies this heckling and the quotations attributed to him; other accounts of his group's behavior included someone from their party yelling "fuck you" repeatedly and carrying on throughout.)

White's behavior, whatever he yelled, wasn't particularly surprising, and not only because he's had similar incidents over years and years. This latest outburst makes sense in context because White [...]

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5

The Couple Who Marcel The Shell's Together

Life can get pretty boring sometimes. There’s simply no avoiding it. The best any of us can hope for is to find an ally in the battle against boredom and stick to him or her like glue. Lots of couples do silly things to amuse and distract each other, though rarely do such inside jokes end up actually amusing anyone else. But over the past year, Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp have watched as their little pastime project blossomed into a bona fide phenomenon.

If you haven’t heard of "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" by now, it’s not for lack of opportunity. The short, charming character the couple [...]

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112

What Kind Of ‘I Don’t Own A TV’ People Do You Have In Your Life?

You know the tone people employ when announcing that they don’t own a TV. Casually tossed off, yet firmly resolute; it’s the same tone that might be used to dispel any other unflattering misrepresentation (e.g., “Oh, I don’t have syphilis.”). The funny thing is that nobody ever actually asks the question, “Do you own a TV?”

Unfortunately, there are scads of people who seem convinced they’re blowing everyone’s minds with the announcement. Others, meanwhile, manage to keep TV-free homes without ever drawing attention to it. The mere fact of not owning a television does not make a person insufferable (although it certainly does help.) As with so much else [...]

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31

How To End A Conversation

We live in a social hellscape littered with talking heads, salesmen at the quota crisis point and acquaintances whose names we can't remember. We recognize that the exchange of pleasantries must be endured for the world to work, and most of these conversations are well-rehearsed dances—routines that get the job done. But all too many others play out like cringe-inducing conga lines. Oh, the awkwardness! And then the ennui! Dealing with other people can make each day feel like a Double Dare-style obstacle course (look it up, youngs!), with a grand prize of merely not going to jail for assault at the end of it.

Which [...]

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0

Mrs. Show: The Women Behind a Comedy Classic

Anyone who took the “Mr. Show Boys Club” sketch at face value might be tempted to skype Gloria Steinem immediately after watching it. The scene opens with the male cast members lounging in silk robes and cravats, brandishing martinis. They’re surrounded by scantily clad young ladies who are identified as The Mr. Show Objects. Soon a female cast member emerges wearing sparkly short-shorts, a tank top that reads “OBJECT”, and a tiny barrel of brandy around her neck like a storybook St. Bernard. When she accuses the show’s two main stars of running a “boys club,” they respond in the most literal way possible, with footage revealing how Mr. [...]

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0

A Seriously Comprehensive Guide to Comedy Podcasts

It’s official: there are now more essential comedy podcasts than there are hours in the day. We’re fully outnumbered, people. It would be an impossible, Icarus-like ambition to listen to them all and still function as a human adult person. Don’t even try — it’s not worth throwing your life away. Perhaps some of you haven’t listened to any podcasts yet, though, and merely clicked on this link to find out what your nerdy co-worker won’t shut up about. These jaded ears envy your innocence and adventurous spirit. I initially wrote the Fairly Comprehensive Guide to Comedy Podcasts, then spent the next few months digging in deep [...]

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57

Halloween: It's Doomsday for New Couples

Celebrating Halloween is like going to the opera: some people hate it, some love it, some people hate it but pretend to love it, and everybody’s dressed like an Italian swashbuckler. Halloween and the opera are also alike in that they’re both journeys that couples seldom embark upon separately. (Who spends girl's night out savoring the libretto in Don Giovanni?) The couples who enjoy Halloween tend to do so because it’s a chance to show off bilateral creativity while hanging with friends and maybe getting wrecked. At this very moment, legions of couples are anticipating this coming weekend with greater fervor than the Snickers-craving rugrats for whom the holiday [...]

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348

79 Recording Artists Named After Things That Can Kill You

1. Mastodon 2. T-Rex 3. Dinosaur Jr

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49

What I Learned From Watching 180 Deodorant Commercials

People have been wondering for a long time what comes after anti-marketing marketing. When commercials began to target the people who hated commercials-these attempts were almost indistinguishable from SNL spoofs-it seemed like we'd reached the final frontier. Then there were stealth viral vids and customized social media ads straight out of Minority Report. But it wasn't until this week that somebody finally put it all together. I won't insult the effectiveness of this campaign by pretending you don't know what I'm talking about.

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14

Free Corporate-Sponsored Event Was Very Good!

There was a free corporate-sponsored event this weekend! Billed as a multimedia arts venture, the event took place in the meat packing district of some city. It was one of a handful of events that will be held internationally this summer, offering up exciting artistic experiences across several technological platforms. It was a music festival featuring a bunch of hot acts. It was also an art show with interactive exhibitions. There were film screenings, including one from a highly acclaimed director. Some companies provided food, and still other companies kept bars stocked with beverages, both alcoholic and otherwise. All for free. It was an embarrassment of riches!

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45

Sweating the Technique: Hip-Hop and the Jewish Problem

I am a non-practicing Jew and a practicing hip-hop head. I can't be bothered with the five books of the Torah, but I can wax ecstatic about the 36 chambers of the Wu-Tang until your eardrums pop. (That sound you just heard-right before the popping of your eardrums-was my grandmother's wailing.) While hip-hop has quietly been part of my identity for at least fifteen years, Judaism has partly defined me since birth, even though I turned out to be only a High Holidays Jew. These two unrelated aspects of my life are usually able to coexist peacefully, but every now and then homeostasis is disrupted by the odd anti-Semitic reference [...]

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103

Just How Fashionably Detached Do You Need To Be?

This has happened too many times: you pretend not to know anything about some item of zeitgeisty detritus that you, in fact, know plenty about. Whatever subject your friends or coworkers are discussing-Ke$ha, Shia, Padma-it's just too pedestrian, too downmarket, too… well, it's actually not you! So, even though you've somehow managed to absorb numerous nuggets of information about whatever the silly pop thing is, you feign ignorance. Unfortunately, a true lack of awareness is difficult to fake, and everyone probably guessed you were bluffing anyway.

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13

We Have The Fakes And We're Voting Yes

Death Cab for Cutie's sixth LP, Narrow Stairs, inadvertently changed the way I think about music. For 16 months, I played it often and recommended it to at least a dozen people. In ranking my favorite albums of 2008, this one would sit comfortably in the top ten. That's why it was kind of a surprise to recently discover that I'd never actually heard it before.

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