The Good Wife: Everything is Ending

Four years ago, after a spate of increasingly ridiculous sex scandals (vacation to Argentina, anyone?), CBS asked us to consider the woman standing on the side of the stage. They sold us a bleak scenario; home in tatters, a woman past her prime is forced to start over, not only to take care of the family, but to find her misplaced self. That woman evaporated years ago, leaving us one of the most dynamic characters this side of Walter White ....more

Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children

I did not want to love The Emperor's Children. In short order, Claire Messud fixes us into a particular milieu - the wealthy, white, overeducated, and purposeless - the only story anyone ever wants to tell about Generation X. However, this is no Reality Bites or Rent ....more

Do the Right Thing

Canadian indie band Stars once sang that when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire. I can think of no better way to convey the shocking final 15 minutes of Spike Lee's...more

On J.K. Rowling's "Cuckoo's Calling"

In this edition of Law & Order: Private Detective, TotallyNotRowling rips a story straight from the headlines. Row-Braith takes the sordid tale of Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty and wraps it all in a entertaining-if-predictable bow. After a string of improbabilities and coincidences, Detective Cormoran Strike is called in to investigate the death of Not!Winehouse, which had been written off as suicide by the tabloids and the police ....more

Only God Forgives, Or, No Forgiveness for This

By the time Detective Chang jabs a fifth chopstick into Van Gogh's brain, we're not just covering our eyes, we're wondering why. The senseless act perfectly mirrors the senselessness of the story: Chang's trying to find out who put out a hit on him, but when he begins his chopstick dance, we already know the answer to that question and so does Chang. This scene, like so many others in Nicolas Winding Refn's disaster of a movie, made the impossible possible: falling asleep while a man's limb is severed, falling asleep when a sword passes through a woman's body, falling asleep while Ryan Gosling just stands there, waiting ....more

Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Trial

I've struggled to record my exact feelings on yesterday's acquittal. The court delivered an awful verdict that suggested that certain key questions are beside the point: What is the crime? Who committed it? ...more

When Bill Clinton asked Octavia Butler to Imagie the Future

For whatever reason, I went down a mad Octavia Butler-related rabbit hole yesterday, which led me into, among other things, the classification of a movement called "afrofuturism", and the musical legacy of that terribly named movement. My favorite find, however, was this little nugget from Essence Magazine (full pdf here) Now, I'm ashamed to admit the total failure of my Google-fu, but I can't seem to locate the actual memo! I've scoured blogger, Google search, and even Clinton's digital archives to try and find the actual work, but I've been unsuccesful! ...more

Great Effing Novels: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

In brief: I have one thing to say: Mockingbird is one of the best novels I've ever read. I never thought I'd be moved to say such a thing at my age, but there you go. The rest of this review goes into why, but the point is simple: read it, then talk to me about it. It also corrected my belief that no one could read anything original about New York ...more

On Apple's iOS 7.0 "Refresh"

Coworkers put up Apple's WWDC keynote on a giant projector screen, and hilarity ensued (and swiftly turned to horror). Five comments from work that perfectly capture the complete and total awfulness of Apple's new iPhone operating system: ...more

The Peculiar Orientalism of The Orphan Master's Son

Have you ever consumed an Eton mess? A popular English dessert, it earned its name from looking like what remains after a bunch of teenage boys beat each others' brains out and then have a drunken orgy with a dingo ....more