Swift Boating: Why Do We Care if Taylor Swift Dates a Kennedy?
August 23, 2012

Taylor Swift's calculated innocence collides with the Kennedy clan.

From Library Records to iTunes
February 22, 2011

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, West Point cadets were permitted to check books out of the library only once a week: “On Saturday afternoon,” the 1857 regulations state, “any book that a Cadet may have been reading during the week, may be taken to his quarters, on the approval of the Librarian, and shall be returned on the succeeding Monday. If not then returned, he shall be reported by the Librarian.” Decades of Saturday borrowing activity are recorded in handwritten ledgers now preserved in the archives.

WWJD? Fill out His Census Form.
December 28, 2009

It's appropriate at Christmas time to think back to the origin of the holiday: the birth of Jesus Christ. Most people know this story: Jesus was born to Mary & Joseph in Bethlehem, in a stable because there was no other place for them to stay. While Biblical scholars believe it was probably not actually a stable, but rather a ground-floor room of a house where Jesus was born, the fact remains that Joseph and Mary were visitors from out of town who needed lodging. What made them travel 70 plus miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem when Mary was pregnant?

The Movie Review: ‘Precious’
November 13, 2009

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire may be the worst-feeling feel-good story ever committed to celluloid. The protagonist, Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe), is 16, morbidly obese, and illiterate. Her indolent mother, Mary (Mo’Nique), treats her like a slave, beating and abusing her incessantly. Her father, on the rare occasions when he shows up, seizes the opportunity to rape her. These violent attentions resulted in her bearing him a child when she was twelve; as the film begins, she is pregnant with another.

Seeing and Believing
October 30, 2009

Are representations of the Prophet Muhammad permitted in Islam? To make or not to make images of the Prophet: that is the question I will try to answer. It is an unexpectedly burning question, as the newspapers regularly demonstrate. But both the answer to the question and the reasons for raising it require a broader introduction. There have been many times in recent years when one bemoaned the explosion of media that have provided public forums for so much incompetence and ignorance, not to speak of prejudice. Matters became worse after September 11, for two additional reasons.

Along Went Ben
June 08, 2004

Ben Stiller has the rare distinction of starring in two of the funniest American films of the last decade, the Farrelly brothers' There's Something About Mary and David O. Russell's lesser known Flirting with Disaster. Stiller also has the rather more common distinction of starring in a lot of utter rubbish. It will probably come as no surprise that Along Came Polly, out on video this week, falls into the latter category. In Polly, Stiller plays Ruben Feffer, an insurance risk assessor who is predictably terrified of any risk in his personal life.

The Mystic Smile
July 22, 2002

Becoming Mona Lisa: The Making of a Global Icon by Donald Sassoon (Harcourt, 337 pp., $30) One of the most extraordinary but least remarked upon features of paintings and sculptures is their persistence as actual, physical objects from other times and places.

You Had To Be There
August 28, 1989

Going to Woodstock was interesting. Getting out of there was ecstasy. Four of us set out on the morning of Friday. August 16. 1969--me, fresh out of the Navy; my college friend Phil; and our girlfriends, Karen and Mary. We had spent Thursday night at my sister's farm in Rockland County, not too far from where the festival was to be held. She and her husband wanted to come with us, but they had a small child and decided to stay home. They waved goodbye to us from their porch as we pulled out in Phil's beat-up Volkswagen bug. We knew we were in for an adventure of some sort. Why did we go?

Liberalism: Illusions and Realities
June 24, 1970

Does Kirk's "Conservative Mind" make any sense?