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Classics for Pleasure

By Michael Dirda

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Interview   |   Book Excerpt   |   Book Feature   |   Book Review   |   Essay   |   Film Review   |   In the News   |   Music   |   Poetry   |   Television Review   |   Theater   |   Visual Arts

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Colbert
Wikimedia Commons / David Shankbone

Stephen Colbert, Seriously

It’s been a couple years since Comedy Central faux-publican Stephen Colbert took masterfully aimed pot shots at former President George W. Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner—i.e., the night Colbert almost threw himself under a Washington, D.C., bus. Quite a bit has changed ... (continued)

Posted on Dec 23, 2009 READ MORE


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Forster
http://www.todayinliterature.com/biography/e.m.forster.asp

Reconsidering E.M. Forster

Novelist E.M. Forster was a writer who might be said to have been simultaneously ahead of his time—or at least better suited to take on certain topics like homosexuality that couldn’t be treated frankly during his heyday—and resistant to some of the modernist impulses he saw arising among authors from the generation following his own.

Posted on Dec 22, 2009 READ MORE


wildmen

Tony Platt on Ishi—the Last of the Yahi

A new book by Douglas Cazaux Sackman gives us new ways of thinking about the last man “uncontaminated” by modernity and explores our continuing nostalgia for the “wilderness.”

Posted on Dec 18, 2009 READ MORE


Martyr's Square statue
Wikimedia Commons/Vladanr

Lebanese Rappers Make Their Case for Peace

Young hip-hop artists in Lebanon are using their music to deal with their lives in the wake of years of violence, reaching across religious and sectarian divisions and promoting nonviolence, and they’ve joined forces with pro-peace organizations while they’re at it.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE



Mark Fellman / WETA courtesy 20th Century Fox

Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Awes the Skeptics

The film industry has produced no shortage of spectacles over the last hundred years, from “Ben Hur” to “Star Wars.” In terms of technological sorcery and visual wonder, James Cameron’s “Avatar” now ranks chief among them.

Posted on Dec 15, 2009 READ MORE


moviegoers
AP / Robert F. Bukaty

Box Office Sales Buoyant in 2009

Which industries actually thrive in the midst of a crippling recession? There are many ways to approach that question, but over the past year, Americans looking for low-impact escapism on a budget went to the movies, and they did so in numbers that might put some of the hand-wringing about the impact of the Internet and the economy on the film business on hold, at least for the time being.

Posted on Dec 14, 2009 READ MORE


Gone With the Wind
warnerbros.com

‘Gone With the Wind’ Turns 70

For a film that’s far from issue-free, what with its petulant, privileged protagonists and its sometimes squirm-inducing portrayal of racial and class politics during the last days of the Old South, “Gone With the Wind” has aged remarkably well over the last 70 years, and it still figures among the top cinematic success stories of all time.

Posted on Dec 14, 2009 READ MORE


Woods
AP / Charlie Riedel

Tiger Woods Bows Out of Golf ... for Now

To what degree does the image of a sports icon become tarnished by his or her off-field activities? Should it matter? And does it all ultimately come down to what advertisers care about, or are there any interests beyond the financial in play in the case of Tiger Woods’ decision to take an “indefinite break from professional golf” ... ? (continued)

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 READ MORE


bookcover

Richard Ellis on Dinosaurs

A revelatory new book by Scott D. Sampson, one of our leading dinosaur paleontologists, suggests we have much to learn about extinction, global warming and energy flow from the biological experience of the charismatic beasts that roamed the Earth more than 60 million years ago.

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Downsizing Charlie Brown’s Christmas

The cartoon “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a classic that offers us an endearing and memorable message against yuletide commercialism. But ABC must not have been paying attention, as it cut several key scenes from the program to add even more space for—you guessed it—advertisements.

Posted on Dec 10, 2009 READ MORE


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