‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is an exercise in empathy in a polarizing election season

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor “Never be like these fucking losers who think the deck is stacked against them. You can do anything you want to.” This was the advice that author J.D. Vance often heard from his grandmother, whom he knew as Mamaw, while growing up in Jackson, Kentucky and Middletown, Ohio. Following his Mamaw’s advice, Vance has built a successful life for himself. He served in Iraq, received degrees from Ohio State and Yale Law and is currently a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. But his story is a rare one. In his recent...

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“Mr. Robot” continues its tale of harrowing hacktivism with second season

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor Contains minor spoilers for Season two of “Mr. Robot” I don’t know much about hacking. Sure, I took a half-semester BASIC programming course in high school, but unless all it takes is a few nested if statements, I’m probably not going to be hacking into any major networks anytime soon. That being said, as an entertainment critic, what I do know is this — when it comes to hacking, Hollywood gets it horribly wrong. For years, I’ve watched plenty of films and television programs that feature computer “experts,” stereotypically clad in thick glasses and...

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Emmys reflections: Why we watch awards shows

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor I like to think that I know a thing or two about television. I write regular reviews of new shows and seasons. My Twitter feed is filled with thoughts from famous showrunners and critics. There’s a copy of the brand new “TV (The Book)” on my bedside table. I do what I can to turn what many consider a dumb hobby or a worthless mode of procrastination into a passion, an exciting area of study. Which is why I felt completely lost during Sunday night’s 68th Emmy Awards. Whenever a friend, fresh off their...

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Fall TV preview: Which new shows you should be watching this semester

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor Some call it the Golden Age of Television. Some call it Peak TV. No matter what label you throw on it, however, the fact remains — television is better now than it’s ever been before. While this is great as it provides viewers with more access to high-quality programming, there is a downside. With the industry growing at such an unprecedented rate, networks and streaming services are ramping up their production levels and putting more and more shows on the air. Citing research from his company, FX President John Landgraf predicted this past summer...

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The Long Trail: Conquering Vermont’s famous footpath

By Devon Shuman, Culture Editor The worst part was the dread. I could cope with the rest of it — the sharp, stinging hail that was pelting my face at a seemingly horizontal angle, the sour mix of precipitation and perspiration that was dripping into my eyes and clouding my vision, the relentless wind that was repeatedly pushing me over onto my side like a weighted punching bag. That I could deal with. But the dread, that nauseating sense of impending doom, that horrible feeling that we had screwed up to a point where making it off of this...

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