What is evil? Like any philosophical argument, the question of what evil is, how it manifests itself and how it is best dealt with can descend quickly into abstraction. That said, no matter your views on good and evil, it can be objectively agreed upon that within the darkest corners of our society there exist men and women who personify the concept. Men like Adolf Hitler confound us with their propensity for committing evil. ISIS, the North Korean government and white nationalist terrorists are boogeymen haunting the newsrooms of CNN and MSNBC. But there is something relieving to the...Read More
He was “too weird to live, too rare to die,” but live he undeniably did, and death even he couldn’t escape. Hunter S. Thompson was the drugged-out, sleep-deprived, counter culture icon America needed in its awkward, adolescent and spirited young adult phase. He’s most widely remembered today for his intense originality, unyielding weirdness and humongous appetite for mind-altering substances. But what is so often lost in our retrospective gaze is just how damn fine a writer the man truly was. Hunter, had he not possessed an almost super-human ability to bend the English language to his whim, would have likely turned out much like Jimi Hendrix had his military discharge been the result of the loss of his left hand rather than a sprained ankle. Whether it was his genius that incited his weirdness, vice versa or some combination of the two, Hunter occupied the role of virtuosic writer first and foremost, and played the twisted up, tweaked out product of the love generation that he’s known for today in whatever space remained. That’s not to say that Hunter Thompson the writer and Hunter Thompson the man were two different people, but derivatives of the same condition which inspired both his brilliance and his incessant urge to seek out novelty. It’s unfair and inaccurate to portray him as a partier who wrote just as it’s unfair and inaccurate to...Read More
Max Matson, columnist It’s 1983, and Roberto Duran is geared for a comeback following the large stain on his boxing record that was his “No Mas” fight against Sugar Ray Leonard. Over the years, Duran had fallen into a slump. He looked beat up, he looked old. But on the day of his championship bout with young Jr. middleweight champ from the Bronx, Davey Moore, Duran looked like a snarling animal, months of vigorous training culminating in one final moment of excellence. From the second the bell rung to the second that referee Ernesto Magana finally ended the beating in the eighth round, it was clear that Moore had no business being in the same ring as the elder Duran. By the time that Magana pushed the two men apart, Moore’s right eye was swollen completely shut, his battered body slumping onto whatever surface presented itself in front of him (unfortunately for the majority of the eight rounds, that surface was Duran’s fists). It would be easy to romanticize Duran’s comeback as many people did at the time. But amidst the celebration there was an uneasy tension in Moore’s locker room that night – not the uncomfortable silence that typically follows a loss, but something much worse. Davey Moore from the Bronx wasn’t the first Davey Moore to lose this way… Let’s jump back in time to March of...Read More
Oct 31, 2017 | Entertainment
When a character in your film coughs up a human eyeball, you may have gone too far. “The Neon Demon,” released in 2016, currently sits at a forgettable 58 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. With scathing review quotes such as “Pretentious and self-indulgent” (James Berardinelli) and “each character is astonishingly boring and unlikable,”(Julia Raban) I wouldn’t fault you for skipping it. “The Neon Demon” felt like a youngest child in both its self-importance and penchant for shock value over substantive storytelling. Never a director known for his subtlety, Nicolas Winding Refn’s most recent effort is comparable to walking around in...Read More
Another day, another mass shooting … How long will gun violence be an issue in the United States? As long as Americans are American and guns are our standard for coolness. Ask a crowd of right-wing gun nuts what their favorite book is and they’ll almost certainly tell you it’s the Bible. Ask a crowd of gun-control favoring left-wingers what their favorite movie is and they’re just as likely to name some R rated shoot-em-up by Quentin Tarantino. The point is, when it comes to guns, we’re all hypocrites, it’s ingrained in our DNA. I’m not unaware of the fact that enjoying fictional violence does not necessarily imply an enjoyment of real-life violence. And while watching Keanu Reeves shoot people in the face is admittedly a treasured hobby of mine, I can’t help but feel that just as Jesus ~probably~ wouldn’t have supported the rights of average Americans to stockpile mountains of weapons in their living rooms, it can’t possibly be healthy for my psyche to watch geysers of blood spray on screen feet from my face every day, even if it isn’t real. In an ideal world, guns wouldn’t even exist (before you type up that comment calling me a libtard, think about how non-controversial that statement actually is). Killing is not an unintended consequence of gun ownership, nor is it even the main intent of owning a...Read More
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