Our paranormal epics, action flicks, and monster movies are stuffed with metaphor. The billion-dollar success of Christopher Nolan’s bleak Dark Knight alerted studio executives back in 2008: metaphorical thinking was in. Summer blockbusters could grapple with bigger themes and darker allegories without turning off their sebum-soaked ticketholders. This gimmick has seeped across all the blockbuster industries: graphic novels, television, young adult books. You’re surely familiar with the biggies by now: The mutant struggle for assimilation is about gay civil rights. Vampires represent our anxiety about dying alone or, worse, never dying alone. Zombies, their uprising, and our anticipated armed struggle against the undead horde is metaphor for plague—specifically, AIDS.
Around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, the 300 people who have been occupying the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall for the past three weeks split themselves into two hostile camps.
Occupy LA’s decision-making body, the General Assembly, has been responsible for conducting the encampment’s business. As in most other cities, the participating members handle everything from ensuring the nightly meeting take place to doing financial research on Los Angeles-based bankers to cleaning up the trash. But on Wednesday, a large group of dissenters decided to occupy the General Assembly’s usual outdoor meeting space and assert themselves as the new regime. One man, standing at the center of the swirling [...]
Cat shows are far more populist events than dog shows. Having a show dog can cost a fortune. Beyond paying large sums for the creature’s pure bloodline, there’s also training, kennel fees, handler salaries and all sorts of other costs. Less so with the kitties. You can get a purebred cat for well under a thousand dollars and because cats aren’t bred to do much more than live in total domesticity (lying about, sunning themselves, sprawling out inappropriately on piles of work papers, kneading air muffins) the rest comes rather cheaply. The owners of show cats mostly consider themselves to be hobbyists and regard an event like the Cat Fanciers' [...]
If I knew the world was coming to an end, I would fuck with impunity. I would crunch birth control pills between my teeth like they were pink Pez all day long. With the specter of annihilation on horizon, all would be carnage and I would need to start regularly shaving my legs.
I have a picture of every man I ever slept with. I’d pin each photo up on my living room wall, use a marker to rank each one based on looks, IQ and technique. I’d invite my friends over to drink and comment on the exhibition. I’d tell them all the secrets I was supposed to [...]
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Post-war Harry is surprised with a card delivered by a mystery man that reveals that not only is Draco Malfoy alive, he is rentable by the hour.
Sirius felt a twist of fear in his guts. "Do you want to stop?" he asked. "Just be friends again?" Could he go back to being "just friends" with Remus after knowing the taste of his mouth and the feel of his body pressed against him?
For the rest of the Ministry, the interdepartmental challenge was merely a failed attempt to restore trust between workers. But for Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger, it was the catalyst for an unexpected [...]
By the time Sharon Angle conceded to returning Senator Harry Reid, well past midnight, her victory party at the Venetian's ballroom had thinned out to a couple hundred diehards: bleary staffers, despondent volunteers, long-time (Republican) party contributors. Noticeably absent were the tea partiers. At the beginning of the night and throughout the campaign, they were easy to spot: they are a dustier sort of Republican, outfitted in jeans, zany political shirts and always gripping signs with slogans like “Trust God Not Government.” After the Las Vegas Sun called the race in favor of Reid at 9:43 p.m., nearly all had disappeared. Except one.
After John McCain closed out the Sharron Angle rally on Friday, her campaign coordinators played a bit of amateur propaganda. Pictures of foreclosed houses, stock photos of agonized couples looking at stacks of unpaid bills, a chart of unemployment rates, all flashing by quickly to a soaring soundtrack. At the crescendo of all this pictorial despair appeared the image of First Lady Michelle Obama. In it she is reclining on a beige chaise lounge in a sleeveless violet dress, one hand cupped along the side of her neck, revealing her diamond wedding ring that matches her teardrop diamond earrings, and above her is the big word Vogue, the [...]
An hour into today's rally for Democratic candidates, and two-thirds of the gymnasium at Canyon Springs High School is full. Representatives Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley have each gotten up and announced that we are in attendance at not just a Michelle Obama appearance but also we are at the "largest phonebank in the history of the world!!!" They also suggested we take out our "cellulars to call someone so we can be the largest phonebank ever!!!"
Posted inside all the phonebank cubbies at Sharron Angle's Las Vegas headquarters, there’s a sheet that instructs her volunteers how to deal with anyone who has questions regarding Sharron Angle's relationship to the Mormon Church. This is because Angle's pastor has denounced the LDS Church—of which her opponent, Harry Reid, is a member—as a "cult." So concerned people are to be given the number of a "well known leader" and "Friend." I called to speak with this former bishop of the LDS church.
If there’s anything that could save Harry Reid from getting ousted by Sharron Angle on Tuesday, it would be his campaign’s ability to run a competitive ground game: tight coordination of precinct canvassing, disciplined phone banking, targeted literature distribution, quality control over hundreds of volunteers and—above all—clean, up-to-date voter lists.
Based on what I saw yesterday at Democratic Party headquarters in Las Vegas, it’s not happening for Harry Reid.
Live from Vegas: McCain Tries to Embrace Tea Party, Throws Gays Under Bus — #url#
I spent yesterday at Sharron Angle for Senate Campaign Headquarters, in a strip mall in northern Las Vegas. The phonebank volunteers were targeting likely Angle supporters in rural parts of the state to take advantage of early voting, which ended last night. Most of my fellow volunteers (I was, I believe, the only fake volunteer) were over fifty—with the exception of Summer and Jordan, two bubbly seventeen-year-olds who both had family in the military—and white and not originally from Nevada. By coincidence, the three women in my adjoining cubby were from all from Pennsylvania, having moved to Nevada after their children were grown. The ladies, with their various shades [...]
Don's right-about one thing, at least: teenagers are sentimental. The cynicism with which adults rebel comes from the nihilism of doing what you know is bad for you because you're old enough to understand that these things usually go unpunished. The kind of joyless self-indulgence that adults traffic in doesn't exist for teenagers. For the young, it's unfathomable that act of self-indulgence can bring anything but joy. In the twilight of childhood, you're not sure what's like to be an adult but you know what it feels like to not be a child. Every brush with adult behavior-anything from smoking, to sneaking out, to driving, to fucking-is wrapped in [...]
Who knew that the advertising industry housed so many men of integrity? The ad above is by Bill Bernbach, a founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach and the Great Father of modern advertising. It was Bernbach who popularized the technique of counter-intuitive advertising. "Now I'm not talking about tricking people," Bernbach said. "If you get attention by a trick, how can people like you for it? For instance, you are not right if, in your ad, you stand a man on his head just to get attention. But you are right to have him on his head to show how your product keeps things from falling out of his [...]
Don! Since the beginning of "Mad Men," all have been agog about Don Draper's magnetism. What is it? Why do women wilt and men follow? How does his staff endure his endless floggings? (Ahem.) And how does he turn the most banal products into objects of desire? Granddaddy sociologist Max Weber provides an answer: Don is a charismatic. Charismatics draw their power from the mystic and divine. For the early Christians, a charismatic was a human vessel through which a god revealed its power. Charismatics are theatrical, eloquent, and fervent. We first saw a glimpse of Don's supernatural power when he coolly walked around a conference table of skeptical [...]
All case summaries via SCOTUSblog.
16. Snyder v. Phelps: "Does the First Amendment protect protesters at a funeral from liability for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the family of the deceased?"
15. General Dynamics Corp. v. United States: "Whether the government can maintain its claim against a party when it invokes the state-secrets privilege to completely deny that party a defense to the claim."
For drama, in the Greek sense, to resonate with the modern viewer it needs have three elements: Acknowledgement of the universe's benign indifference, recognition of the utter loneliness of human existence and a commitment to something or someone outside oneself even in the face of those two principles.
I don't need to tell you what going through puberty feels like, with all its urgency, eroticism, and ugliness. You went through it yourself. If you didn't go through it as a female, I can tell you that the desire to appear adult is consuming. Whenever there's role-playing to be done, the pubescent female will assume the role of Teacher in School, Doctor in the Hospital, Mother in House-and beware the girl who played student, patient, baby. For young girls, the thinking goes, if they exude an air of maturity, they'd be chosen to enter the world of adults. A young girl's desire to play cook is not only [...]
Watching Don Draper emerge from chlorinated baptismal waters, gasping for breath in a cavernous public gym, brings to mind John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer," from 1964. "I've been a little out of sorts, lately," Don confesses to his date. Likewise Cheever's main character, Ned Merrill. Beginning at the public pool, Ned, in an attempt discover Bullet Park's hidden topography, decides to swim through the private and public schools of his Westchester neighborhood, creating an aquatic trail back to his home. Ned starts the expedition with great hope, as he enjoys the sensation of swimming: "He had been swimming and now he was breathing deeply, stertorously as if [...]
â€¢ One myth that arose from some proponents of the women's liberation movement is that a terminated pregnancy doesn't change a person. The idea that it does was reasonably considered fodder for the other side-that this view enhanced the notion that not caring for a child conceived in your body is an abandonment of biological and moral responsibilities. In reaction then, a PR move has often been adopted into an unconvincing pro-choice ideology: a woman can go through a pregnancy without some lasting change to her psyche and system. The enlightened woman, the idea was, could go through terminating a pregnancy or putting a child up for adoption without [...]