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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‘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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