Culture Clips: Time’s Person of the Year Is a Hashtag Movement

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Each December, speculation builds about who Time magazine will select as its Person of the Year. That tradition that dates back to 1927, when Charles Lindbergh was selected as the inaugural honoree (according to Wikipedia’s entry on the subject.) Past recipients include almost every U.S. president since then (with the notable absence of Gerald Ford), […]

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Why “This is Us” is Sweeping the Nation

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Over the last two seasons, NBC’s This is Us has become must-see TV for many a viewer, many of whom watch the show with a box of tissues handy. While the show has its content problems—and really, how many popular TV programs don’t?—it also showcases compelling, deeply emotional narratives that, for many, hit close to […]

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Culture Clips: The Most Hated Man in Nerd-dom?

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Luke almost didn’t come back. Mark Hamill portrayed Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, launching him into the kind of superstardom few ever actors ever achieve. No wonder he was a bit tentative about reprising his iconic role. “I was just really scared,” he told the New York Times recently. “I thought, why […]

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Culture Clips: Distracted to Death?

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Today’s vehicles are packed with more safety and collision-avoidance technology than ever before. But traffic-related deaths in the United States have nevertheless risen sharply over the last two years, up 14.4% after decades of generally trending downward. Curiously, certain kinds of folks are increasingly prone to be involved in fatal car accidents than others: pedestrians, […]

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Television Learns That It’s Nice to Be Nice (And It Makes Money, Too)

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the good doctor

We’re in the heart of the new television season, and I’ve noticed something a little odd about it. It’s trying to be nice. Strange, right? For the last several years, television has been besotted with undoubtedly gripping, unbearably grim prestige TV. HBO’s Game of Thrones revels in its episodic cruelties, both physical and political. Hulu’s […]

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Bronies: What’s this Dog and Pony Show All About?

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Brony

Some things in life we know with certainty: The sun will come up tomorrow. Fish will swim in the sea. Kevin Sorbo will star in yet another Christian movie. And when the My Little Pony movie comes to theaters this weekend, standing in the ticket (and popcorn) line will be tens of thousands of adult […]

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Culture Clips: How True Are ‘Based on a True Story’ Movies?

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We’ve seen it many times at the outset of a movie: “Based on a True Story.” And if you’re taking a careful look at what’s in multiplexes this week, you might notice that many films being screened right now deliver a version of that statement. Stronger, which opened last week and rolls wider this week, […]

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Culture Clips: Emmys Put on a Red Shawl

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The Handmaid's Tale

Back in the day, television was considered something of a cultural unifier—the very definition of mass entertainment that would serve as a focal point for familial, communal, and even intergenerational gatherings. Yeah, about that. The Emmy awards—from the tone of the show to the awards themselves—illustrated a certain cultural divide. “In an age of hyper-polarization, […]

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The Great Television Content Rush Gets a Bit … Purer

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Hitting the Breaks

Way back yonder, folks came out West to find a new life, raise families and … well, who am I kidding, get stinkin’ rich. They’d travel to the gold fields of California or Colorado or the Yukon, visions of shiny yellow metal flashing in their nugget-hungry noggins. Some of them indeed struck it rich. Many […]

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A Lesson From the Game of Thrones. (No, Really.)

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Sam Tarly Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones wrapped up its seventh season last Sunday, gearing up for a frenetic, likely salacious sprint to the finish next year. But for all its many weaknesses, the show sometimes offers—albeit unintentionally—a kernel of truth. And I found one this week. Despite all the criticism for its penchant for titillation and its […]

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Culture Clips: The Dragon and the Swift edition

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Game of Thrones dragon

On Sunday night, two television titans squared off against each other in a clash of old and new, awards-show glitz against prestige-TV glam. It wasn’t even close. Despite going head-to-head against MTV’s once-vaunted Video Music Awards show, HBO’s salacious sensation Game of Thrones set yet another high-water ratings mark, drawing 12.1 million viewers for its […]

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