Since When Can You Say Vagina on TV?

Cindy Y. Hong Photo of Whitney star Whitney Cummings by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images As Slate’s June Thomas recently pointed out on Brow Beat, there’s been an uptick in the number of vagina jokes on television this season. You can now catch Kat Dennings complaining about her customers’ attitudes toward her vagina, or Whitney Cummings … Continue reading

The El Cheapo Guide to Culture

An eight-step approach to entertaining yourself economically Matthew J.X. Malady For outdoor concerts, set up camp just outside where you have to pay to enter.Enough is enough. Over the past 10 years, I’ve spent far too much on concerts, scholarly lectures, flamenco performances, off-Broadway plays, and a host of other events. I recently tallied up … Continue reading

PHD Comics Movie

providing an inside view of science Kunio M. Sayanagi Earlier this year, graduate students suddenly found themselves deprived of a major source of procrastination when updates of the Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD) Comics suddenly reduced to trickles. The hiatus led to a widespread speculation that Jorge Cham, the creator of the comics, fell victim … Continue reading

Baccarat, a Target for High-Tech Cheaters

Inside the world of high-stakes sneakery Andrew Rosenblum 007 Takes on Largo at the Baccarat Table Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Over the past year, casinos around the world have lost millions of dollars to baccarat cheats. Between the antics of the globe-trotting Cutters syndicate, the Chinese nationals who hacked auto-shuffler machines in Macau, and the South Korean duo … Continue reading

Telling War Stories

The Civil War and the meaning of life. Drew Gilpin Faust On a hot Saturday in September 1962, I crowded with my brothers and cousins into my aunt and uncle’s station wagon and drove off to war. Passing through our county in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, we headed toward Charles Town, West Virginia, then crossed over … Continue reading

Netflix Passes Piracy in U.S. Net Traffic

Ryan Singel Netflix streaming movies now fill more of the U.S.’s internet tubes than any other service, including peer-to-peer file sharing, which long held the top spot — to the consternation of Hollywood. That means for the first time perhaps in the internet’s history, the largest percentage of the net’s traffic is content that is … Continue reading

Pioneer Ups Apple’s Ante With AirPlay-Ready Receiver

Pioneer VSX-1021-K · $550 Reviewed by Christopher Jones  It hasn’t taken long for iTunes and iPods to worm their way into our car and living room stereos, but it’s been a bumpy ride along the way. Mixing and matching traditional stereo components with newfangled computer software and devices is too often a prescription for a … Continue reading

Naughty but nice

Contemporary pornography is a hideous distortion of the joys of sex. Yet, argues Nina Power, it could all have been so different by  Nina Power What would humanist pornography look like? Chances are that even the most adamant defender of the charms of adult material would struggle to find much evidence of compassion or affection … Continue reading

The secret history of Super Mario Bros. 2

By Chris Kohler, Super Mario Bros. 2’s long, strange trip to the top of the charts in 1988 began with a prototype video game that failed miserably. The 8-bit classic, which became a massive hit for the Nintendo Entertainment System, grew out of a mock-up of a vertically scrolling, two-player, cooperative-action game, Super Mario … Continue reading

Polygamy’s Strange Charm

As TLC’s hit polygamist reality show Sister Wives returns, the threat of criminal charges against the Browns looks unlikely. Joyce C. Tang talks to them about shaking the stigma of plural marriage. by Joyce C. Tang Since “coming out” to the world as Mormon polygamists on TLC’s reality series Sister Wives, the Browns have had … Continue reading

25 Years of Zelda

By GeekDad Rewind In 1986, on February 21st, a game unlike any other was released to the Japanese public. With its sprawling world and labyrinthine dungeons, that game would break the mold of traditional console games forever. The first cartridge game to sport an internal battery for saving data, it gave players a one-of-a-kind adventure … Continue reading

Why do funny ladies like the ladies? The over-representation of lesbians in comedy

By Jesse Bering  Recently I noticed a queer pattern—something that appears, for whatever reason, to have eluded serious academic consideration. Jerry Seinfeld might have opened up this can of worms by saying, "Have you ever noticed how female comedy is dominated by lesbians? Not that there’s anything wrong with that." Not all comediennes, of course, … Continue reading

‘War of the Worlds’ Induces Panic (Oct. 30, 1938)

By Jenna Wortham  Orson Welles, master of early radio. Long before Ashton Kutcher began punking celebrities, a talented young actor with a wicked sense of humor pulled off one of the biggest pranks in American history. Oct. 30, 2008, marked the 70th anniversary of Orson Welles’ legendary radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds," … Continue reading

Fun in Abu Dhabi

Geoffrey Kemp  For those looking for new thrills, Abu Dhabi’s latest tourist attraction may be the answer. Ferrari World, set to open on Wednesday, October 27, is the world’s largest indoor theme park and is dedicated to the famous sports-car manufacturer. The park will boast the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, which will reach … Continue reading

Nintendo bringing classic Mario games to the Wii for $30

By Ben Kuchera Nintendo knows how to sell you Mario, and it knows how to do that very well. On December 12 there will be a new collection of Mario games for the Nintendo Wii, released for $29.99. What do you get for that money? Sadly, not much in the way of new content, but … Continue reading

Super Mario turned 25

By Chris Kohler  Super Mario Bros. turned 25 this year. The character, which first appeared in Donkey Kong, has stolen the spotlight in a string of Nintendo hits over the years. Before Mario became the plumber we all know and love, he was simply a carpenter named "Jumpman" in Donkey Kong. Avoiding the barrels thrown … Continue reading

The "Just Do It!" Trap: Why Radio "Docs" Help Few

Why Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura won’t solve your problems By Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld A woman who had been married for 14 years called into Dr. Laura’s radio show. The woman says she recently realized that she has never loved her husband, and she informs Dr. Laura that she has told her … Continue reading

Venice Film Festival: Three Chinese Movies Make a Splash

By Dean Napolitano Media Asia Films/Enlight Pictures Qi Shu and Donnie Yen in “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.” Three Chinese movies holding their world premieres at this year’s Venice Film Festival represent the increasing potency of China’s movie industry, commercially and artistically. The three movies are “Legend of the Fist: The … Continue reading

Beijing Opera, a Historical Treasure in Fragile Condition

Elisa Haberer for the International Herald Tribune Zhang Qi rehearsed for the main role of Hu San Niang in the opera Hu Jia Zhuang in Beijing. By RICHARD BERNSTEIN BEIJING — “Watch out for that sword,” the rehearsal director shouted. “I don’t want anybody’s head getting cut off because you don’t know what you’re doing.” … Continue reading

Does Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Have a Hidden Agenda?

by John Lopez Robert Rodriguez’s new film, Machete, knife-fights its way into theaters this weekend, leaving behind a gratuitous trail of carnage and scantily clad ladies. The Mexploitation masterpiece promises to sate fans’ rabid enthusiasm for the fake trailer first seen in Grindhouse and answer such burning questions as where to hide a cell phone … Continue reading

And you thought the NYC mosque row was bad

Posted By Andrew Swift Just when I was starting to think that the U.S. was (sadly) catching up with Europe on Islamophobia comes this gem from Austria: A far-right party in Austria has sparked outrage by launching an online video game which allows players to shoot down minarets and muezzins calling for prayer. The game’s … Continue reading

The Really Quiet American

George Clooney in a contemplative spy thriller. By Dana Stevens Violante Placido and George Clooney in The American The American (Focus Features), the second film by the Dutch photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn (Control), is like a James Bond fantasy for very patient Europhiles. The story, loosely based on a novel by Martin Booth, contains gunplay, exotic … Continue reading

Do Freelance Assassins Really Exist?

They’re huge in Hollywood. By Brian Palmer George Clooney stars as a professional assassin in The American.In the new movie The American, George Clooney plays a mysterious professional assassin. The American got the Explainer wondering—are there people in the real world who commit murders for a living? Probably not full-time. Lots of people kill for … Continue reading

Inception is a clunker, but lucid dreaming is cool

By John Horgan Inception is an absurdly complicated, clattering contraption of a movie that impresses only in a mechanical, Rube Goldberg–ish way. My intellect had to work so hard to figure out what was happening that my emotions never got engaged. But the flick gives me an excuse to revisit a topic that’s fascinated me … Continue reading

Video: Terrorism suspect sings Avril Lavigne in Canadian Idol audition

Posted By Joshua Keating This is so ridiculous I’m almost waiting to hear that it’s a huge hoax, but here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Canadian Idol audition of Dr. Khurram Syed Sher, who was arrested, along with two others, on terrorism charges in Ontario yesterday.  Sher, 28, appeared on the reality show "Canadian … Continue reading

Buying used games? Developers, publishers don’t care about you

By Ben Kuchera  Game developers and publishers have complained about the sales of used games for a long time. It’s a contentious topic: gamers want to be able to buy and sell their games as they see fit—they bought them, after all—and developers realize the same game is often sold multiple times without any of … Continue reading

I Was Almost a Chinese Dating-Show Star

But my episode got censored because foreign guys aren’t supposed to get the girl. BY BENJAMIN HAAS Several times a day I hear the theme song from If You Are the One, the hit Chinese dating show, blaring from my co-worker’s cell phone: It’s an embarrassing techno mix with a man’s voice wailing, "Can you … Continue reading

Ars reviews StarCraft 2

By Ben Kuchera. Gamers have expectations for StarCraft 2 that will be impossible to meet. Players have waited a decade for a sequel to what is widely considered to be one of the best real-time strategy games of all time, and one of the world’s most-played PC games, period. Blizzard certainly isn’t afraid to make … Continue reading

Napster killed the convergence box

By Jon Stokes. One of the initial reasons that Microsoft allegedly got into the console market was that, like every other tech exec and pundit in the 90’s, they saw "convergence" coming to the living room. In the popular tech imagination, the home theater of the new millenium would be built around a single, very … Continue reading

With Katrina’s Specter Receding, What Will Treme’s Second Season Look Like?

By Julian Sancton. The first episode of Treme, David Simon’s novelistic TV series about New Orleans and its culture in the wake of Katrina, ended with the Treme brass band following a hearse to the graveyard to the tune of the traditional dirge “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Last night’s season finale also ended … Continue reading

Miley Cyrus simulates lesbian kiss

Her sexy outfits and newfound rebellious streak has often seen Miley Cyrus being compared to fellow ex-Disney star Britney Spears. Appearing on Britain’s Got Talent last night, the 17-year-old appeared to be emulating Britney Spears and Madonna’s famous kiss when she pretended to lock lips with a female dancer. Unlike Spears and Madonna’s on-stage antics … Continue reading

Myley Cirus simulates lesbian kiss

Her sexy outfits and newfound rebellious streak has often seen Miley Cyrus being compared to fellow ex-Disney star Britney Spears. Appearing on Britain’s Got Talent last night, the 17-year-old appeared to be emulating Britney Spears and Madonna’s famous kiss when she pretended to lock lips with a female dancer. Unlike Spears and Madonna’s on-stage antics … Continue reading

Baghdad’s tepid nightlife

Older, beefy men gather as the whiskey flows, young women dance to loud Arabian rhythms. When the police crack down, there is always a higher higher-up to get the party started again. By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times: Reporting from Baghdad Cops stormed in and shut the place down. Up the stairs and out into … Continue reading