The First Citizen

Emperor Augustus / Wikimedia Commons

Augustus is the greatest ancient Roman leader. He ended decades of civil strife, brought order to a vast empire stretching from the coast of Normandy to the Nile Delta, and created the quasi-monarchy that lasted two centuries and gave Rome its most successful and stable years.

And yet, Augustus remains something of an enigma. The general public realizes he is important, but knows little about his motivations or personality, beyond caricatures in literature (the ruthless and dishonest Octavian of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra) and television (the well meaning, but doddering old man of I, Claudius). So his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, and his nemesis, Marc Antony, rate higher in the popular imagination than Augustus, despite the fact that he succeeded where they failed.

Against Celebrating/Viewing Hacked Nude Celeb Selfies


I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in my Twitter feed yesterday. I went out for dinner and a movie, came back, and found a ton of people salivating in my timeline over a cache of nude photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton that had been illicitly obtained and dumped onto the Internet. Lots of leering, lots of onanistic jokes. Makes me think that Alan Jacobs is on to something when he writes essays such as this. I just want to briefly make two points.

The Year the Culture Bifurcated

Passion of the Christ Fahrenheit 9:11

Armond White has an essay in the latest issue of National Review in which he argues that 2004—the year the media trashed Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ and the film establishment lavished praise on Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11—is “The Year the Culture Broke.” Here’s White:

Review: Season of Saturdays

Tom Osborne

Only when it comes to college football do we believe that the deaths of a girlfriend and grandmother will spur a 21-year-old to lead his team to victory, and accept that a 22-year-old sprained his ankles from leaping off a three-story balcony to rescue a drowning nephew. The NFL may be played on Sundays, but college football is religion, with each team steeped in its own obscure mores, traditions, and believers.

Wisconsin, LSU, and the State of NCAA Football


Of all this week’s match-ups, there’s no better example of the state of college football than Wisconsin/LSU. The gap between the Big Ten and SEC has been widening for years, and Saturday’s game is a barometer for whether it will persist.

Angelina Jolie Is a Movie Star Because She’s Talented, Famous, and Sells Tickets, I Guess?


There’s an odd piece by Tom Scocca over at Defamer headlined “Why Is Angelina Jolie a Movie Star?” This is a weird question to ask. One could easily rephrase it thusly: “Why is this tall, attractive, charismatic Oscar-winning actress who is pretty reliable at the foreign and domestic box office while maintaining a high public profile a movie star?”

It’s a real mystery, I guess.

Granted, I’m biased. If you can’t tell from the opening grafs of my Maleficent review, Angelina Jolie’s one of my favorite people in Hollywood. I hold Hackers and Gone in 60 Seconds in bizarrely high esteem. Even still, though, I think Scocca’s question is a strange one. The meat of Scocca’s argument is thus: