Conan’s guitar: Finding meaning in L.A.

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor I don’t remember what song he was playing. I don’t remember what skit he’d just rehearsed or what notes his producer had made. To be completely honest, I don’t even remember many of the jokes he made during the show later that night. What I do remember about Conan O’Brien was the look on his face as he picked up a guitar and jammed out with his house band during the final rehearsal before taping. Though normally the lanky personification of goofiness, the kind of ridiculous jokester who concludes every entrance by licking his...

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Editors’ pop culture picks

The things we watched, listened to and streamed over winter break “Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System” by Ian Angus C.S. Lewis wrote that nature was “that which is real”, which I take to mean the nonfictional. My interest has been increasingly in the nonfictional as our culture is losing its grip on what is real, relying instead on what doesn’t matter. In “Facing the Anthropocene,” Angus suggests that we must learn how to respond to the increasing but hardly reconciled effects of industrial activity on all aspects of the “earth system.” His...

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Best-selling memoirist J.D. Vance visits Miami

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor Since the release of his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” on June 28 of this year, Middletown native J.D. Vance has often been referred to as the “Trump whisperer.” His book, which paints a hauntingly honest and personal portrait of the white, working class, has been looked to as an explanation of the widespread appeal of presidential candidate, and now president-elect, Donald Trump. But, as Vance explained to a crowd of hundreds gathered in Armstrong on Wednesday, that wasn’t his original intention with the book. Having come from a culture in which upward mobility is close...

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‘South Park’s’ key to effective satire

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor It’s featured superstar rapper Kanye West having intercourse with a fish. It’s shown an obese, acne-riddled fourth-grader defecating violently on his mother while playing “World of Warcraft.” It’s presented three Apple customers being sewn together à la “The Human Centipede” after unknowingly agreeing to it by accepting the company’s lengthy Terms and Conditions. It’s also one of the most intelligent, up-to-date pieces of social commentary on the air. “South Park,” the animated program about a group of potty-mouthed fourth-graders in the titular Colorado small town, has time and again proven to be a conservative...

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The two faces of Eric Andre

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor With his collar propped up and his hair lazily arranged in frazzled cornrows, comedian Eric Andre sits across from a petrified Haley Joel Osment and reads from the notecards on his desk. “Now you tweeted out, ‘Not only am I not a Scientologist, but I challenge their s***bag legal team to come at me guns blazing,’” he says before gesturing to his co-host, Hannibal Buress. “Now Hannibal agrees, but I stayed out of that one.” The look on Osment’s face, a mix of confusion, shock and pure terror, echoes what many viewers think when...

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