Turn It Up And Be Mad: Why Angry Songs Make Us Feel Good

“Truth Hurts,” by Lizzo, is the next truly transcendent kiss-off song, and it’s even sweeter for having a moment while not actually being new.  After the song finally made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it stands at No. 6 at this writing, the Grammys announced that “Truth Hurts” will be eligible for awards this year. OnContinue reading “Turn It Up And Be Mad: Why Angry Songs Make Us Feel Good”

The Hard Work of the 2020 Instagram Spouse

As social media becomes a critical tool in politics, Instagram is increasingly used as a soft-focus medium to showcase a candidate’s relatability. Even Joe Biden, who is definitively not of the Instagram generation, has a carefully managed feed with 1.3 million followers. His posts, like those of most candidates, have a different voice from hisContinue reading “The Hard Work of the 2020 Instagram Spouse”

The actress who rethought gender in the workplace

Originally published in Politico Magazine To understand the complex dynamics of gender and equality in the workplace, you could read academic treatises, review statistics, absorb a million think pieces in a million magazines. Or you could watch the 49th episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In The Good-Time News, which first aired in SeptemberContinue reading “The actress who rethought gender in the workplace”

Why Matt Lauer’s firing feels different

Originally published in Politico Magazine Even if you weren’t a faithful viewer of NBC’s “Today”—even if you were inclined to feel a little cynical about the whole morning TV enterprise—the news of Matt Lauer’s termination hit like an earthquake. It’s not just that another prominent media name wound up on the list of men behavingContinue reading “Why Matt Lauer’s firing feels different”

Why won’t TV show people who aren’t rich?

Originally published in Politico Magazine This year marks the final season of what might be the most underappreciated sitcom on TV, ABC’s “The Middle.” It’s a single-camera show about an Indiana family—the title refers to its characters’ Middle-American, middle-class existence—and unlike the edgy comedies and tear-jerker dramas that dominate awards time, its humor is unapologeticallyContinue reading “Why won’t TV show people who aren’t rich?”

Why I wouldn’t buy sneakers from Manti Te’o

Manti Te’o and Katie Couric have the same publicist, which goes a long way toward explaining how Couric — as opposed to, say, Oprah — landed the first on-camera interview with Te’o yesterday on her syndicated talk show, “Katie.” It was an unmitigated success for Couric, whose ratings soared to their highest levels since herContinue reading “Why I wouldn’t buy sneakers from Manti Te’o”

Hollywood’s gun fetish

SO I just watched the trailer for “Gangster Squad,” and it goes something like this: Gun, gun, shot of phallic-looking building, Ryan Gosling, gun, firefight, is that Nick Nolte?, firefight, guns getting handed out like candy, someone getting hit with a gun barrel, guy pointing gun in other guy’s face, gun, gun, firefight, explosion, raid involving guns, casingsContinue reading “Hollywood’s gun fetish”

Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o, and the power of the story

YOU’VE GOT to hand it to Oprah. She has established herself as America’s confessor, which, in a way, makes life easy for her interviewees. Oprah’s not going to absolve you or coddle you. She’s going to raise her eyebrows with majestic skepticism and speak grandly, for the nation. And so the person in her crosshairsContinue reading “Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o, and the power of the story”

A TV list for 2011. Just because.

In my previous job, covering TV for the Globe, I took it upon myself to write an annual top-10 list. Not all critics like doing this; my friend Wesley Morris is always trying to bend the rules, coming up with 11 or 21 entries, or expanding the definition of a “list.” But I like reading lists, and IContinue reading “A TV list for 2011. Just because.”

Courage, cowardice, and TLC’S ‘All-American Muslim’

IT HAS BEEN  deeply amusing to see companies twist themselves into knots to explain why they pulled ads from TLC’s “All-American Muslim’’ — specifically, why caving to a miniscule group of religious extremists does not, by definition, make them companies that cave to a miniscule group of religious extremists. “We have a strong commitment to diversityContinue reading “Courage, cowardice, and TLC’S ‘All-American Muslim’”