There’s a strange, magical little corner of Twitter and the rest of the Internet you may not have heard of unless you’re an author or an enthusiastic reader: the world of book bloggers. It’s where people get together for Twitter parties, hold cover reveals on their favorite blogs, and connect with readers on Tumblr. It’s also where some of most vicious, bizarre, and chilling wars of the Internet take place, all beneath a facade of politeness because everyone is too terrified to say anything for fear of jeopardizing their position in the publishing industry or their role in the book blogger hierarchy. Keep reading »
Last week, the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office released a slew of sexually explicit emails, pictures and videos that had been discovered in email exchanges between eight staffers of Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. The imagery was allegedly circulated when Corbett still served as the state’s attorney general, a position he left in January 2011 when he was elected governor. Corbett, who is currently running for re-election, claims he had no knowledge of the emails at the time and that while he was told about “inappropriate” emails in May, he hasn’t seen the imagery in question. Attorney general Kathleen Kane, whose team made the discovery, initially refused to share the explicit emails with the public but eventually allowed a select few journalists to view the footage in the company of armed agents. Keep reading »
Gwyneth Paltrow, who loves juice cleanses and is responsible for bringing the term “conscious uncoupling” to the mainstream, is no stranger to insults. The skinny, rich, blonde Hollywood star gets plenty of flak for her lifestyle brand GOOP, where she sells eco-friendly nail polish and monogrammable reclaimed-wood skateboards while sharing stories from her fabulous life and namedropping her celebrity pals.
Paltrow’s tone deafness at trying to come across “accessible” to her largely female fanbase is ripe for criticism, and it has become a touchstone of the way that many stars fail at appearing relatable to us regular folks. But there’s one word in particular that keeps coming up in criticisms of Paltrow and others like her that deserves a closer look: “smug.”
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This weekend, Kira Kazantsev from New York won the 88th Miss America pageant at Atlantic City, which was inevitably followed by a slew of blog posts viciously skewering Kazantsev and the Miss America pageant in general. Gawker honed in on Kazantsev’s “rhythmless red-cup percussion“ rendition of “Happy,” inspired by the movie “Pitch Perfect.” Salon, in an otherwise sympathetic post, called the pageant “a collective American Nelson Muntz moment.” And Bustle redubbed Ms. America ”Miss Symbol of Conventional Gender Mores.”
Every year, I read these posts lambasting the Miss America pageant for being sexist, lame, irrelevant, and outdated, and the contestants themselves for being little more than a dumb person’s idea of ideal American femininity, anthropomorphized celery stalks liberally smeared with self-bronzer and Bonne Bell purple eyeshadow. And I agree with them, to some extent. (That flip-cup rendition of “Happy” wasn’t stellar, let’s just leave it at that.)
But mostly they just make my eyes roll into the back of my skull. Keep reading »