I guess the good ol’ boys of Texas get started early.
The progressive Texas politics blog Burnt Orange Report reported on Friday that nearly 1,000 high school-aged boys gathered in early June for the annual, nonpartisan Boys State conference, where they learn firsthand about politics. The students are split into two fake parties, the Federalist Party and the Nationalist Party, and are meant to learn basic civics lessons such as how to run for office and pass legislation. Another conference for young women in Texas, called Girls State, is held separately. Sounds as wholesome and American as apple pie, yes? Keep reading »
The image of Nigella Lawson with her then-husband’s hands around her throat is seared into my memory. If you remember, back in 2013, Lawson and businessman/art gallery owner Charles Saatchi were seated in a London restaurant, arguing, when he placed his hands around her neck as if to choke her. A photographer happened to catch the incident, which went on for close to 30 minutes, as Lawson cried. The fact that it was caught on camera was a rare and disturbing reminder of the ubiquity of domestic violence, even among the wealthy and powerful.
So what are we to think then, exactly, when several artists have created artwork depicting Nigella Lawson being strangled and posted it on Saatchi’s web site? Keep reading »
Kristen Wiig knocked it out of the park with “Bridesmaids,” proving that she could fill movie theaters by running on funny. But contrary to what a lot of ex-”SNL” stars might do, she hasn’t just made the same comedy over and over again. She played slightly more serious roles in “Friends With Kids” and “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” and now she’s back for what looks to be even darker comedy. In “The Skeleton Twins,” Wieg and Bill Hader (AKA Stefon from “SNL”) play estranged siblings who are brought back together when both are at a crossroads in their lives. He’s a failed actor still damaged by an old relationship, while she’s unhappily married to bro-tastic meathead. Together again, they’re trying to patch things up and confront the past. Complicated relationships with siblings FTW!
The Supreme Court ruled today [PDF] that employers with religious objections to birth control are not required to cover contraception in health insurance plans for women under the Affordable Care Act. The court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores owned by evangelical Christians who oppose birth control. The Obama administration had made a variety of concessions for religious employers like churches and religious non-profits, but this ruling affects for-profit businesses. (According to Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog, this ruling will not apply to publicly held corporations, just family-owned businesses when the owners in question are clearly religious.)
Update: Keep reading »
Well, that’s one way to get attention. Adokiye Kyrian, a Nigerian pop singer, ruffled some feathers this week when she (jokingly?) offered up her virginity if the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram would release the 200+ school girls they kidnapped back in April. She told Vanguard’s Showtime:
“This is 11 p.m. in the night and do you know what I am thinking about? Those little girls, where they are and what could be happening to them. It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange. They are between 12 and 15 year old girls for Christ sake. I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents.” Keep reading »
There’s awkward errors and then there’s really awkward errors: subtitles on a BBC News weather report this week accidentally warned Glastonbury Gestival-goers to prepare for “rape” instead of rain. This Instagram pic shows the “unfortunate typo,” as a BBC spokesperson put it. I’m sure most newswatchers put it together themselves when the subtitles showed the newscaster advised packing one’s “wellies” — not a good deterrent of sexual assault. [Independent UK]
YA novels — that’s “young adult” novels, for the uninitiated — have had a rough go of things lately. Slate.com came out swinging against the popular genre, claiming grownups should only read grownup books or else we’re all repressed babies. Or some such nonsense. Books are just books — they’re for people. Typically YA novels have more characters who are teens/children, but that’s about the only difference. There is still sex, drugs, violence, and everything! Ultimately, the YA genre or the “New Adult” genre are phrases used by publishers’ marketing departments.
I’m a passionate and voracious reader and genuinely saddens me that anyone would discourage people from reading anything. So, I thought I would ease some of the YA-averse into checking out some novels that are similar to popular “grownup” books — recommendations I’m making based on similar themes and tone. If you read and enjoyed the “grownup” novel, you’ll probably really enjoy the YA novel. And vice versa.