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Wrapped in Plastic: Nostalgia, of Televised and Other Kinds

(Note: I was originally intending to write this piece for Jacob Clifton, while he was working for Screener. But a national reading competition, plus teaching three classes at two universities, plus tteaching in Dubai, plus putting my mother-in-law in one nursing home and then another, plus a depressive episode, destroyed me. If you’re an editor and you like this piece,…

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ROGUE ONE, hope, and the urban-rural divide

  “Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.” Like a lot of people, my husband and I saw Rogue One last night in an effort to stave off the Sarlacc pit of panic opening its devouring maw beneath our feet and ensnaring the totality of 2016 in its twisting…

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Promising the Stars: How Trump Could Win

One of our favourite activities in this house — at least, one I can comfortably describe in greatest detail — is talking about how Trump could win the Presidency. This isn’t because I want Trump to win. I just see how he can. Papa Bear O’Reilly is right: Trump and Sanders are two sides of the same coin. Both are…

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About that new Ghost in the Shell movie

As you may have heard, actress Scarlett Johansson recently signed a deal to star in DreamWorks’ upcoming adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese transmedia franchise that began as a cyberpunk manga by Masamune Shirow (the author’s pen name) in 1989. There’s a Ghost in the Shell poster hanging above my desk, in my office. (It hangs next to…

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Fun exercise: translating Lovecraft into Hemingway

One dreary afternoon last October, David and I started playing a game. (Not that kind of game.) He would read aloud a passage from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu,” and I would try to communicate the exact same thing, in the style of Hemingway. For example: Lovecraft: The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability…

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The (f)Anthropology of True Detective

Like seemingly everyone else watching True Detective, I had my theories about who the Yellow King was. But for me, that was of tertiary importance compared to learning the answer to another question: Why the Yellow King? (Spoilers ahead, for True Detective and Twin Peaks.)

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How to watch “Love, Actually”

There have been a lot of retrospectives written on Love, Actually this year. The Atlantic hates it. Mother Jones loves it. Jezebel makes fun of it. Having just watched it again last night as I do every year, I have my own issues with it: that “Colin goes to America” plotline is absolutely abysmal, a weird wank-fantasy in an otherwise…

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