Monthly Archives: October 2012

Zombie History Lessons

A darker Halloween lesson from writer Amy Wilentz, reminding us of the origins of one of our most popular goulies.


“There are many reasons the zombie, sprung from the colonial slave economy, is returning now to haunt us. Of course, the zombie is scary in a primordial way, but in a modern way, too. He’s the living dead, but he’s also the inanimate animated, the robot of industrial dystopias. … The zombie is devoid of consciousness and therefore unable to critique the system that has entrapped him. He’s labor without grievance. He works free and never goes on strike. You don’t have to feed him much.”

via A Zombie Is a Slave Forever –

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The Opposite of Sincerity is Hypocrisy

Not irony.

Linus reminds us of this and other great truths of life.

I hope all of you see the Great Pumpkin tonight!

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Risotto With Brown Rice?

Yes, all your hippie foodie prayers have been answered. You can do it. Be free, young wanderer.

Mark Bittman said so.

Also, Alyssa Rosenberg took the time to articulate for us how a show with comedy god/desses Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph and Christina Appelgate—plus special guest Buster!—could go so wrong. And be such a waste. And disappointment. And cringe-fest. In a terrible Halloween party way.

Can you tell that I’m strenuously avoiding natural disaster talk? And impact-on-campaigns talk? And even climate-change talk?

And if you’re further avoiding thinking about little NICU babies getting rescued from the NYU hospital, even though they actually did get rescued by amazing staff who squeezed breath into their tiny lungs by hand, because the thought of such a thing going the other way is too difficult, you can read Rosenberg’s homage to Leslie and Ben, from our nation’s best network comedy.

Yeah, I said it. Best network comedy. Bring it, Modern Family.

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Comparing Candidates, Philanthropy Style

Is anyone undecided still?

If so, you should review the best comparison of the candidates on almost every important domestic issue is from the nonprofit sector’s top publication, The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

It’s weak on foreign policy, but it does offer helpful information about both candidates’ approaches to foreign aid. Guess which dude wants to shuffle off even more foreign aid into the private sector?

Meanwhile, Here’s Joss Whedon on why he supports Romney. I thought our society was headed like a blazing rocket into an alien apocalypse. But Whedon makes a good case for zombies.

“They’ll be out there, and they’ll need brains.”

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Lunchtime Tear/Laugh-Jerkers

“Mr. Akin, I think you are confusing the phrase ‘legitimate rape’ with the phrase ‘competitive gymnastics.'”

For those of you who didn’t catch Tina Fey’s calculated rage of bon mots, here’s your chance:



Plus, Lana Wachowski got an award from the Human Rights Campaign for being a visible and tremendously successful transwoman. You can see her speech at Alyssa Rosenberg’s page—I can’t get it to embed here, bother. But it is beautiful. You can skip the intro, because you saw the Matrix movies and know who she is, and winnow it down to a 20 minute commitment. Do it. She talks about crying in a locked stall after giving her high school valedictory speech because she could not imagine the world she tried to conjur in her speech. She describes being pummeled by her nun-teacher for lingering in between the boys and girls lines. The kind of thing whose generalities we may imagine—we all felt irredeemably outsider in one way or another—but whose particulars may be familiar only to other trans people.

Also, Mama Wachowski is awesome. So’s the Wachowski dad. Do you think that’s why Lana is now a Hollywood superstar? Beating the odds for trans and queer youth?


Then, also, Lesley Gore made a lovely PSA where many women (coulda been more women of color, but still) lip-sync to Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” to remind us the stakes of this election for the health of women and families.

Happy Friday, friends!

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Yellow Rain, Richard Dawkins, and Other Otherness

The other day, while I was wiping down my countertops, I heard an astonishing podcast by the hitherto acclaimed Radiolab. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Molly Ringwald called them the “This American Life of Science!” in another podcast.

I wipe down countertops a great deal.

The Radiolab team so infuriated an interviewee that she yelled at them and ended the interview. Then they all talked about it, without getting a whit of follow-up from her. More below.

I also ran across a startling item in Slate. Green-haired skeptic! Rape threats! Richard Dawkins is truly a “Dick”!

The moral of today’s post: Free speech isn’t all that free if spoken by an Estrogenned-American.

Kao Kalia Yang stands up for multiple truths

Continue reading

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