New York Magazine’s powerful cover

nymag cover

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about the purpose of this blog. I had mentioned at some point to her that I don’t want to intentionally court controversy, and that I want the blog to stay focused on what it was designed to: to focus on what is happening in popular culture right now. Well, right now, something is happening that is controversial, but could change the way that the media reports on…well, anything.

Last night, New York Magazine released this powerful magazine cover (above), and in the process of doing so, demolished the aggressive smear campaign that Bill Cosby and his team of expensive lawyers has been running following the numerous allegations of sexual assault brought to light earlier this year. Cosby has largely denied the allegations, and then attempted to discredit his victims.
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When will Taylor Swift grow up?

swift minaj feud

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard that Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift got into it on Twitter, and now everyone has picked a side. With the exception of Taylor’s pal Ed Sheeran, the side is pretty exclusively Nicki’s.

After the nominations for MTV’s Video Music Awards were announced, Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to vent her frustration about how the deck is stacked against women of color in white-dominated media.

Taylor Swift, who is normally very composed on social media, immediately took offense since her music video for “Bad Blood” was nominated and filled with her model pals.

Phew. Ok, Taylor. We get it. You’re a feminist (even though you’ve said in the past that you’re not). But here’s the thing about Taylor Swift: she created the woman vs. woman problem when she called Nicki out. Prior to the immature tweet from T. Swift, Nicki was railing against the establishment. Taylor, unfortunately, is the establishment. Taylor could use her influence to actually enfranchise women of color, but instead took it deeply personally instead.

Here’s how Taylor could have been more gracious about this entire thing. Firstly, she should not have taken to social media to do it. Secondly, since she’s super expert on open letters, she could have written one about how the industry doesn’t reward black women the same way that it does white women. Finally, if she wins the award, she should have dedicated the award to Nicki Minaj and pushed MTV to be more inclusive and diverse in their picks.

Here’s why Taylor won’t do that: she is a corporate shill who works for herself and only herself.

But God bless her, she has some great tunes.

Edit: it appears that Taylor has apologized.

Image cred here.

Relish in the new Spectre trailer

I’ve posted about the new installment in the James Bond saga before, but considering that I’m obsessed with James Bond, here’s a more thorough look!

A more detailed trailer for Spectre was released yesterday, and it appears that James Bond will be taking on bad guys, wooing beautiful women and being his usual cheeky self in this installment. Daniel Craig’s fourth take on James Bond looks to be as exciting and fun as his other ones (if you can forget about Quantum of Solace).

You get your first look of Ralph Fiennes as M (RIP Judi Dench as M) and the legendary Christoph Waltz as the villain and “the author of all your [Bond’s] pain”, Franz Oberhauser, though it has been speculated that his actual name is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the villainiest villain to ever grace the Bond franchise. You’ll also see Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux as Bond girls, as well as Naomie Harris reprising her role as Eve Moneypenny.

Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes, graces theaters on November 6.

Have you checked your Netflix recommendations lately?

short term 12

Sometimes, something totally unexpected comes your way, and you have no way of stopping it before it changes your life forever. No, I’m not talking about love. I’m talking about Netflix recommendations.

Netflix recommendations are based on two separate algorithms, and focus on ensuring that all options that show up on your homepage are recommendations. Essentially, everything on Netflix is a recommendation. The algorithms were part of a million dollar project…but have you looked at the the “Top Picks for Insert Your Name Here” lately?

If you haven’t, you should. I finally took a peek at the list that Netflix had generated for me, and found a little gem of a film called Short Term 12. Starring the brilliant Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr., Short Term 12 follows Grace (Larson) as she works at a facility for troubled teenagers, navigates her relationship with her co-worker/live-in boyfriend Mason (Gallagher) and battles her own demons while trying to connect with a new kid at the facility.
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‘Homeland’ season 5 teaser trailer AKA preachy Saul Berenson

Let’s kick off this week by watching a little Homeland teaser, and over analyzing it, shall we?

Season five of Homeland will start off with a time jump, which we discussed here. Carrie is now no longer working for the CIA, but that won’t stop Saul from calling her “naïve and stupid.” You can always count on Saul for a patronizing and demoralizing speech about your life choices that don’t mirror his own. Ok, Saul.

Saul does, however, ask the one question that I predict this upcoming season will spend most of its time trying to answer: “What are you atoning for?” Whatever Carrie is doing, it’s clear that she’s trying to make up for some of the choices she’s made in the past–like almost drowning her baby or being the Drone Queen when she was the station chief in Islamabad. There’s also the matter of losing Farah or not being more proactive in Quinn’s departure to Syria. The fact is that Carrie has been burdened with a lot, and Saul’s preachy tendencies aren’t going to help her come to terms with it.

What might help her come to terms with it is getting kidnapped. Yup, the teaser does indicate that Carrie is indeed kidnapped rather unceremoniously with a black bag over her head. But for what cause? And will that drive her back to the CIA, as she is wont to do?

Homeland is filming in Berlin right now, and will air back on Showtime this fall.

Have a feisty weekend, friends!

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It’s the weekend–wahoo! It’s supposed to rain all weekend, so I’ll be inside reading, doing yoga and enjoying some podcasts. Here’s some stuff to do, read, listen to this weekend!

First, Indianapolis people, it’s Indy Crit this weekend! Go see some serious cyclists do some serious urban cycling.

Did you hear that legendary actor Omar Sharif died of a heart attack today? You can read his insanely touching obituary here.

I love this newsletter series by Liz Galvao, called Weird Personal Emails. 

The first pictures from the new all-woman Ghostbusters cast are out! How cute is Melissa McCarthy, though, seriously?!

“Amy” documentary aims to change Winehouse’s legacy

Legendary songbird Amy Winehouse died of alcohol related problems in 2011 at the tender age of 27, after struggling with drugs, alcohol and eating disorders throughout her adult life. Her struggles were frequently exploited by the media, and she became known largely for her nervous behavior and antics instead of her incredible singing voice.

Asif Kapadia’s new documentary, Amy, seeks to re-evaluate Amy Winehouse’s legacy by exploring her early life and her extraordinary talent.
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Rainy day movies

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There’s a massive downpour in the Midwest right now, so I’ve been spending my days working inside and…watching movies on Netflix, of course! Here are some of my top picks to get you through these next few rainy days.
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Two incredible documentaries on Netflix

Stories We Tell

Directed by Sarah Polley

This lovely documentary combines interviews and sneaky home movies to tell the story of a family. Sarah Polley illustrates the story of her family and her complicated late mother in documentary format. Interviews with her father and siblings are intersected with home video of her mother, who died of cancer prior to the filming of the documentary. This semi-autobiographical film highlights the secrets our loved ones keep and what happens when we learn those secrets in their absence.

Stories We Tell is streaming on Netflix right now!

I Hate Christian Laettner

Directed by Rory Karpf

I was surprised by how thoroughly I enjoyed this documentary. As an avid hater of Duke University athletics in all forms, the humanization of Turdface McGee–I mean, Christian Laettner–really enriched my understanding of not only Duke, but of college sports in general. This ESPN produced documentary highlights the anti-Duke culture and the role of Christian Laettner in that. The film also seeks to clarify some key misconceptions about Laettner and about the infamous Duke vs. Kentucky stomping incident.

You can watch this great documentary on Netflix.