Left-wing television personality and failed politician Stephen Colbert aired his final show on Thursday. Unemployed millennials and members of the media were hardest hit. Salon called the finale “pitch perfect … a hilarious moving coda.” Reporters at the New York Times made a video in which they gushed groveling gushy gush about the cultural significance of Stephen …Read More
I just read two competing reviews of a dragon-based role playing game. And, what’s worse, the main focus of both reviews is the political implications of the dungeons and dragons rip off. So, dear reader, after the kind of torture I just went through you’d better read this entire piece.
I mean, this is an actual line in one of the reviews: “healing magic, for example, has been entirely removed from the game.”Read More
So, Sony has pulled The Interview—its upcoming comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong Un by James Franco and Seth Rogen—due to threats of violence. A bunch of hackers who appear to be affiliated with North Korea warned of a 9/11-style terrorist attack if the release went forward. Many people (including myself) are not thrilled by the development and have called the studio cowardly for kowtowing to a gout-riddled tinpot dictator with a horrible haircut presiding over “a nation of racist dwarfs.”
Others responded, rightly, that Sony and the theater chains engaging in this cowardly behavior would be sued out of existence if screenings went ahead and such an attack were to go down. Jonathan Chait suggested the United States should promise to make whole any organization that was sued as a result of an (incredibly unlikely) attack. That’s not a terrible idea. I’d like to focus my attention, briefly, on this entirely accurate, utterly insane sentence of Chait’s, however:Read More
In a surprising move, President Obama announced Wednesday that the United States would resume full diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Many praised President Obama’s decision to ease travel restrictions between the two countries and negotiate an end to the decades-old American embargo.
Others, including Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), were outraged, as were many former prisoners of the Castro regime.
They weren’t alone.Read More
Negotiating with people who oppose everything that America ought to support has always been a fetish for the Obama administration. Candidate Obama made it quite clear in his 2008 campaign that, in his view, American foreign policy was plagued by unilateralism and triumphalism. Humility and dialogue were needed. The United States, in his view, had been morally compromised by the Bush administration, and an Obama administration would be able to achieve impressive foreign policy results simply by reaching out to foreign regimes we had foolishly considered to be adversaries, when all they were was misunderstood.
It has been a very disappointing six years for these hopes. Things have hardly ever been worse with (deep breath) Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, most of the Middle East—with a special mention for Syria—not to mention with regimes that ought to be friends, or at least friendly, like the governments of Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Israel, and a terrified eastern Europe.Read More
It has been interesting to watch a number of the people who decried “the fappening”—the theft and release of nude photos of dozens of female celebrities—rally ’round the wagons and defend their reporting on the hacked Sony emails.
After all, we’re dealing with remarkably similar situations. Both the fappening and the Sony email dump have been described by the media as “leaks”—suggesting intent on behalf of some party to the conversations to get the offending documents out there—as opposed to “hacks,” or, better, “thefts.” (Words matter, people.) With the theft of the nude photos, you have personal, private communiques in the forms of photos that were stolen and widely disseminated for little more than the titillation of third parties. The theft of the Sony emails is arguably even more troubling: We have a situation in which private communiques in the form of emails were stolen in order to a.) extort money from a business, and b.) blackmail that business into not releasing an implicitly political document (The Interview, a movie about the assassination of North Korea’s tinpot dictator).Read More
The infamous People issue featuring Hillary Clinton was total flop, according to data. The cover created some controversy. For example, some argued it was a subtle attempt by People to portray Clinton as elderly and differently-abled by creating the impression that she was using an old person’s walker. Efforts to deny the walker claim only served to raise further questions. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus investigated the matter.Read More
As I noted yesterday, I’m somewhere between ambivalent and opposed to all the reporting on the hacked—hacked as in “stolen,” not “leaked,” as some have described them (words matter!)—Sony emails. On the one hand, Aaron Sorkin comes across as kind of a pompous doof here. On the other hand, he’s right: A group of hackers working for an unknown power (likely North Korea) stole the docs; the hackers then tried to use them to blackmail Sony into not releasing their upcoming comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong Un, The Interview; and, after their blackmail threat failed, they’ve leaked gigabytes upon gigabytes of emails with the intent of embarrassing Sony employees.
Now, the hackers are threatening our very way of life. Our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at the multiplex. Buzzfeed’s Matthew Zeitlin reports the “Guardians of Peace,” as the hackers call themselves, are threatening movie theaters showing the film:Read More
Before Monday’s terror attack in Sydney came to its violent and tragic end in a pre-dawn raid, Catherine Burn, the deputy commissioner of the New South Wales Police gave a press conference. The BBC reported that in the presser Burn said, “Our approach is to resolve this peacefully. It might take a bit of time but that is our priority.”
With respect, this is deeply misguided, as subsequent events cruelly illustrated. Two hostages–Katrina Dawson, 38 and a mother of 3, and Tori Johnson, 34–were killed, and three other hostages, all women, were also shot. The police raid that ended the crisis was not planned, and reportedly happened after Mr. Johnson, the cafe manager, made a brave play for his captor’s gun and got shot. To make an obvious observation, unpredictable circumstances like this are likelier and likelier to come about the longer such a situation continues.Read More
Filling in for Andrew Sullivan, Phoebe Maltz Bovy wants you to know that you should feel bad if you’ve laughed at the “you had one job” meme. It’s a running Internet gag goes something like this: Find something horribly, obviously wrong, and slap the tag “You had one job!” on it. For instance:Read More