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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Oscars 2016 Post-Mortem: Leo and “Spotlight” and Bears, Oh My!

February 29, 2016, 12:45 pm

Seven times, movies primarily about journalists were nominated for Best Picture: Citizen Kane, Network, All the President’s Men, Broadcast News, The Insider, Good Night and Good Luck, and Frost/Nixon. (That’s not a terrible list.) And then there are all the reporter-centered movies that should have been nominated for Best Picture, and weren’t: The Front Page, His Girl Friday, Meet John Doe, Foreign Correspondent, Ace in the Hole, Sweet Smell of Success, The China Syndrome, The Year of Living Dangerously, Salvador, […]

Media Fails, Occam’s Razor Succeeds in Explaining Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Pre-Emptive Obstructionism

February 26, 2016, 10:42 am

Perhaps you have heard that The Honorable Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently died, leaving a vacancy on the Supreme Court with the potential to ideologically “swing” the Court’s votes for the next generation. Perhaps you’ve also heard that within hours of Justice Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pre-emptively announced that the Senate would refuse to consider any nominee of President Obama’s. The exact quote which rocked the political world was: “The American people should have a voice in […]

Special Person of the Week

February 24, 2016, 11:47 am

Dar is this week’s Special Person in his kindergarten classroom. Most of the other kids have already had a turn as the class’s special person, because his teacher goes in alphabetical order by last name, and Dar is hovering near the rear with his connection to the world’s many Smiths. In this case, that came as a relief, because I was able to see what other parents did before having to do it for Dar himself. So the teacher gave […]

This Year’s Oscar Race in Review

February 22, 2016, 1:12 am

The 2015-2016 season has already confounded all the political pundits. Why not the Oscar pundits, too? If the #oscarssowhite tsunami hadn’t overwhelmed everything else, the big story of this Oscar year would have been the difficulty of picking Best Picture, and the consistent inconsistency of this year’s prediction-industrial complex. Seriously, this season may be giving professionals a complex, considering they were already worried about losing their stature and amount of twitter followers to teenagers with an Android and a wordpress […]

Two Ways of Seeing Populism in February 2016

February 19, 2016, 4:56 pm

Welcome to the first Freedom Friday without Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia! In Scalia’s Jesuit spirit, I have a confession: this is difficult to admit, but…it’s 2016, and I still receive magazines in the mail. Well, okay, one magazine. And yes, the issues pile up all over the house. Still, I was thrilled to receive this week’s The New Yorker and see the cover’s celebration of African-American culture! Sumptuous and splendid. I thought: hey, what if every writer inside is […]

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’, Ticklin’, Grabbin’, Hittin’

February 17, 2016, 11:53 am

Apologies to Journey, but on our journey, Dar is getting handsier. First, this manifested itself in his yanking my arm or my wife’s arm every time he wanted something around the house. We weren’t loving that. So we would tap our own arms as a guide to how he should do it. (We looked like that sergeant in Good Morning Vietnam who points to the stripes on his arm and says to Robin Williams, “Three up three down, what does that […]

2016 Oscar-Nominated Best Animated Shorts in Review: We Are All Doomed

February 15, 2016, 8:29 am

This was supposed to be a post about this year’s nominees for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. But instead, it’s a post that says: what makes Americans squeamish reveals us to be a sick, twisted, demented, Puritanical society. We’re deviants who shouldn’t be raising children. That’s the entire point of this post. If you agree, you can stop reading. If you feel that point needs support, keep reading. (I say this knowing that only my fellow self-aware deviants […]

“The Crest of the Populist Wave?” Uh, No

February 12, 2016, 10:05 am

After the results came in from 2016’s first Presidential primary, in New Hampshire, whereby Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump each walloped their closest rivals by 20 percentage points, mainstream reporters, made to place Sanders and Trump in the same headline, have been very belatedly finding commonalities between them. “Voter anger” and “outsiders” and “populism” have been declared triumphant. “Mainstream media” is an easy term to define: go to the homepage of and look at all the linked sites. “Populism,” […]

How Waaaambulance Wednesday Begins

February 10, 2016, 12:31 pm

Every week here at Waaaambulance Wednesday, often before I prepare the blog post for you kind readers, I awaken to a crystal clear reminder of Dar’s condition in the form of his weekly 8 a.m. speech therapy appointment with Dee. This week seemed particularly illustrative, even symbolic, of all of Dar’s hopes and challenges. At 7:54, we arrive on the second floor and Dar pulls my hand to Dee’s door. This makes me happy: he knows where we’re going. I […]

“Hamilton” Is About Two Revolutions

February 8, 2016, 11:44 am

The new musical “Hamilton,” written by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, deserves all of the fulsome, effulgent, even ecstatic praise it has received. It’s a hip-hop-flavored reinvigoration of Broadway traditions and a vertiginous 21st-century remapping of a crucial piece of Americana. And it’s fun, incredibly sung, and even more fantastically danced and staged. But today I want to talk about the part that most critics find hard to talk about – the show’s re-situation of racial identity into America’s foundational narrative. […]