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'Mad Men' dolls

‘Mad Men’ Gets the Barbie Treatment

They don’t come with the full range of accessories to complement their onscreen characters—e.g., cigarettes, cocktails, someone else’s dog tags—but Mattel’s new line of “Mad Men” Barbie dolls at least includes a mistress, in the form of a plastic Joan Holloway. But Joan’s famous assets ... (continued)

Posted on Mar 10, 2010 READ MORE


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Wikimedia Commons / National Portrait Gallery

Where Does Genius Come From?

Tracing talent to its origins probably isn’t ever going to be a precise science, but there’s a particular and pervasive brand of genetic determinism that butts its way into discussions, in scientific circles and in the media, about everything from health to intelligence to the roots of genius. According to author David Shenk, this line of argument leads us to make the wrong conclusions about human potential.

Posted on Mar 8, 2010 READ MORE

‘Hurt Locker’ Wins Big at Oscars

It was the first Iraq war movie to really break through, and now “The Hurt Locker” has won six Academy Awards, including best picture and best director, marking the first time an Oscar for directing has gone to a woman. The movie opens with a quote from Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. (continued)

Posted on Mar 7, 2010 READ MORE

Los Angeles Times

Hollywood’s Woman Problem

It’s Oscar night, but that should not cause us to ignore the results of a recently released study of the 100 top-grossing films of 2007 showing that men filled almost all the directing jobs, with women accounting for only about 3 percent. Writing and producing find similarly problematic, but less pronounced, gender gaps.

Posted on Mar 7, 2010 READ MORE


Steve Wasserman on the Fate of Books After the Age of Print

Will publishers and booksellers, writers and readers be able to survive and thrive in the Digital Era now engulfing us all?

Posted on Mar 5, 2010 READ MORE

Tom Hanks
Wikimedia Commons / Angela George

Hanks to Take On JFK Murder Mystery

It seems that wherever Tom Hanks goes, a historical miniseries is soon to follow. There’s his latest foray into World War II storytelling, “The Pacific,” which airs this month on HBO, and then there’s the small matter of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which Hanks plans to tackle soon.

Posted on Mar 4, 2010 READ MORE


Sarah Palin Shopping Alaska-Themed TV Show Around Hollywood

We keep trying to read the tea leaves each time news or rumors about Sarah Palin’s blossoming media career hit our radar—i.e., does this mean she’ll be too busy to run for, you know, president? What would it mean for her chances at the White House, for example, if she were to appear in a television show about Alaska she created with the help of reality TV megaproducer Mark Burnett?

Posted on Mar 4, 2010 READ MORE

Hurt Locker

U.S. Soldier Sues, Claims He’s ‘Hurt Locker’ Character

He and his lawyer waited until the Oscar ballots were in, but on Tuesday, Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, a U.S. Army soldier who worked as a bomb disposal specialist in Iraq, filed a lawsuit claiming that he had provided the real-world inspiration for actor Jeremy Renner’s character in “The Hurt Locker.” Why did he wait until the votes were cast?

Posted on Mar 3, 2010 READ MORE

Spider-Man Loses His Job

Not even superheroes are safe in this economy. Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, is going to get fired in the next issue of the comic book. Marvel says the unemployed webslinger will have to figure out how to pay his rent and buy web fluid without his photography gig.

Posted on Mar 2, 2010 READ MORE

writing hand
Flickr / tnarik

How to Write Fiction, by Actual Fiction Writers

Hey, aspiring fiction writers: Watch your adverbs closely and lay off the exclamation points! Those are just two how-to tips (or maybe how-not-to tips) from crime writer Elmore Leonard’s “10 Rules of Writing,” which, as the title suggests, offers handy guidelines for would-be authors.

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 READ MORE

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