What Those Statues Are Really Thinking

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“WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO ME MAKE IT STOP IM SO DEHYDRATED”

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“Behold! I am both man and woman.”
“Wait, where the fuck is your nose?”

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“Hey! You guys. Hey!”
“Ugh, what Emperor?”
“Look how big my hand is!”

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“I’m dead, I’m dying, I’m literally dead.”

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“Ugh, whatever. Size isn’t everything.”

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“Just two more minutes, please.”

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“I have had it with these motherfucking dragons on my motherfucking pedestal.”

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“Someone fetch me my selfie stick STAT.”

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Ellie Puckett is My Every Woman

As I’ve recently shared, I love “Are You The One?”. This MTV masterpiece has everything – lust, physical violence, men crying, and the promise of more of that happening during the reunion episode. For ten weeks I followed the cast members through their connections and conflicts, cheering them on when they found their “perfect match” and being as devastated as they were when they didn’t.

The second season ended this week, leaving a gaping hole in my heart. It was a very satisfying ending; eventually everyone sobered up enough to match accordingly and win a collective $1,000,000. They could all pat themselves on the backs and ride off into the sunset with their soul mate. With one exception: Ellie.

Ellie was my favorite cast member from the outset. When she bravely asked about the status of everyone’s dildos within the first ten minutes of the premiere episode, I knew she was the catch of the house. And I also knew that no one would realize this.

Ellie spent the season attempting to form relationships with guys who put her on the back burner. Sure, they hung out constantly,opened up to her, and told her she was the best girl in the house. But did that mean she got all the nookie? Nope.

Just heartache and unlimited Jager Bombs.

And why not? What made her so undesirable, compared to the other “Are You the One” ladies? Was it her ability to put people in their place?

Or her unrelenting self-awareness?

Maybe the ease with which she shared her thoughts?

Or her proclivity for having a blast over worrying about the haters?

It was all these things that put poor Ellie in the Friend Zone. Her easy camaraderie hurt her chances at finding her match. While the other women in the house spent their time fighting with each other over one guy, Ellie focused on having fun, making friends, and being herself. She was unapologetic in how little she cared about playing the game, which made her a pariah every time a match ceremony came around.

I’m not faulting any of the other women of “Are You The One” for not acting like Ellie. I’m just saying that I get it. I understand Ellie. I am Ellie, and proud of it. And guess what? Come reunion, her “match” knew what he’d missed out on. Because a real woman isn’t afraid to let her dildo flag fly.

I salute you.

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Publish or Perish

I was much more interested in events leading to the release of “The Interview” than in seeing the movie. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re familiar with the premise – two American journalists are tapped to assassinate Kim Jung Un, who hates the West on an ideological level but loves its pop culture. The film was announced and denounced nearly in the same breath; I had barely turned off the trailer before I heard rumors of its cancellation.

North Korea threatened mass destruction if “The Interview” made it past the production room. Movie theaters pulled it, because you can’t make money from something that people are too scared to see. YouTube picked it up hours later, and everyone who was interested in “The Interview” watched it anyway. The world turned, Sony still made money, and the rest of us continued to avoid Seth Rogen movies.

Let’s discuss another recent world event – last week’s massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Much like the creators of “The Interview”, the staff of the French satirist publication create work that is as entertaining as it is provocative. For this, they were brutally murdered. They’d also been warned by their attackers. They knew the dangers, and kept on keeping on.

These are dramatically different situations, but the most troubling dissimilarity is how the media reacted to each. Here, when a whisper of potential repercussions of “The Interview” was heard, doors immediately shut. Despite general dissent, cancelling the movie seemed justified –  it could potentially put people’s lives in danger, ruin holiday theater profits, and it was “silly” anyway. We became terrified of terror.

Meanwhile, the staff of Charlie Hebdo received (and ignored) requests from the French government not to publish the very material that became the fodder for their slaughter. They prioritized their ability to share their work with the public over their fear of what might happen when they did. They’re continuing to do so. The people of France stand behind them, taking to the streets to show support for the magazine’s right to print; in comparison, Americans demonstrated support for “The Interview” by streaming it from the comfort of their couches.

In a country that defends its right to free speech with religious fervor, we allow ourselves to be backed into corners by the people trying to take it from us. Is “free speech” a right we expect from our own government, and are willing to give up to any other entity?

Art exists to make a statement, prove a point, and change ways of thinking. While we may not refer to a Seth Rogen movie as “art”, it still is, and should be as fervently defended as the work of Charlie Hebdo. It deserves fearless supporters who won’t allow it to be cast aside because extremists – whether they be political, religious, or moral – threaten us with backlash. Free speech can only exist if we don’t let anyone silence us, and the only backlash we should be concerned about is losing our voice.

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Battle of the Commutes: New York vs Los Angeles

 
I visited a friend in Los Angeles last month. I can see why people like SoCal – the weather, the beaches, the lack of sarcasm with which people say, “Have a nice day”. There’s a lot to love.

There is no way I could live in Los Angeles though, and that is due to one inescapable aspect of life there – driving.

My friend, also a native New Yorker, agreed that this was her issue with California life. She told me lots of stories from her daily commute, where she sits in traffic so stagnant that it sometimes takes her an hour to get 10 miles.

I’m impatient, so I hate traffic. I hate it so much that being in it makes me physically uncomfortable. I twitch and grind my teeth. I shout obscenities at random. I bash the steering wheel with my fists. Sometimes I even cry. Reading that back now, I realize that it must be terrifying to share a car with me.

As seen in my nightmares.

My trip made me think about the differences between east and west coast commuting. I have evaluated key concerns to determine who has it worst:

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6 Good Podcasts Other Than “Serial” To Listen To

Now that you’ve started to put your podcast app to good use after becoming obsessed with “Serial,” it’s time to explore some of the other good podcasts out there. Not being an aficionado like some others, all I can offer you are some solid basics with which to build your library.

1. “Slate’s Culture Gabfest”

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This is probably my favorite podcast. The Slate writers focus on film and TV but will talk about anything else looming in the cultural sphere. Funny, smart, and just so good.

2. “Filmspotting”

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Two guys intelligently discussing the latest movies without being at all pretentious.

3. “This American Life”

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Totally obvious but amazingly some listen to “Serial” and not its parent podcast. “Life,” though is not the best podcast and is pretty hit or miss.

4. “The Moth Podcast”

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The amazing storytelling organization brings its amazing stories weekly to your phone.

5. “NPR: Hourly News Summary”

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This five-minute podcast is a great and easy way to pretend you know what’s going on in the world.

6. “New Yorker: Fiction”

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What I enjoy more than hearing the New Yorker archive stories is why the authors who read them made their choice. The discussions that follow the readings are a nice burst of intellectual stimulation.

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