Archive for Popular Culture

Good Luck, What’s-Your-Name

The Grand Duchy of Bloodthirstan wishes to join the throngs, the multitudes, lining the streets to wish Stephen Colbert well.

Maybe we’ll finally watch him for once:

Stephen Colbert’s ratings might have been half those of late-night cable reruns of the “The Family Guy,” but he was adored by our objective, unbiased, not-at-all-liberal media for being a leftist who protected Central Government and savaged anyone who disagreed. And now the media is in universal mourning over the loss of one of their most powerful weapons.

After nine years of protecting The State, the final episode of “The Colbert Report” aired last night, and it should come as no surprise that the media coverage has not only been excessive but a sad spectacle of monolithic gushing.

Time Magazine: The Colbert Report Is Dead. Long Live Stephen Colbert!

Washington Post: The show was so good and so meticulously performed that you could, in fact, not watch it.

Time Magazine (again): Stephen Colbert: A Great Talk-Show Host? No, the Greatest!

You get the idea.

Despite the fact that fewer than 1% of the American people ever watched “The Colbert Report,” because he made himself a useful tool against the political right, the mainstream media artificially inflated his influence (Jon Stewart, Lena Dunham, and Tina Fey are fellow travelers in this regard), and in turn used his clips during “objective” newscasts to undermine the GOP with ridicule.

Not “despite the fact”—due to the fact. Who wrote this, Fox Butterfield?

For not only did Colbert finish behind re-runs of The Family Guy, he finished behind four different re-runs of The Big Bang Theory. Scads more people know Sheldon Cooper than know Stephen Colbert, to the relief of a great republic.

I would also point out that in total numbers (not just 18-49 yos), Robot Chicken, iCarly, Sponge Bob (3 episodes), something called Down East Dickering, and WWE’s Tribute to the Troops all kicked Colbert’s bony ass—the last by about a 50% margin.

I missed the Washington Post’s tribute to Down East Dickering.

The next time we watch Colbert will be the first, so we are no expert. But his shtick reminds us of a typical SNL skit: clever in concept; shaky in execution; clueless on how and when to end. His appeal ran the gamut from A to B: if you hated George Bush and Dick Cheney, you loved Stephen Colbert. We’re sorry for your loss.

PS: It should be noted that he picked up his game as he left it:

“The Colbert Report” signed off on Comedy Central with series-high ratings on Thursday night, roughly doubling its recent averages.

According to Nielsen estimates, the half-hour finale of the long-running fake-news program averaged 2.48 million viewers overall and a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 — building on its “Daily Show With Jon Stewart” lead-in (2.03 million, 0.8) by more than 20% in both categories.

The only cable program to rate higher than “Colbert Report” on Thursday was an NFL game on NFL Network.

Of course, that NFL game was an epic battle between two 2-11 teams, Tennessee and Jacksonville. And in total numbers, Pawn Stars beat Colbert Thursday night—twice.

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The Real Tinsel Underneath

If I’m ever in trouble with the law, remind me never to engage Juan Williams as my defense attorney:

White liberal hypocrisy on race is so delightful for conservatives.

White conservatives are always on defense against charges of hating President Obama because he is black; suppressing minority voters and indifference to the difficulty minorities have living everyday with the legacy of slavery and a culture filled with stereotypes of black inferiority.

We are? Says who and since when? To the debatable extent we hate at all, we hate President Obama for the same reasons independents and liberals hate him: because he’s a lying weenie. Race has nothing to do with it, at least not for us. (As conservatives, we have the least reason to resort to racial animosity: we hate his policies for the content of their character, not the color of his skin.)

And find me one charge of suppressing minority voters that is not laughable on its face.

As for “indifference to the difficulty minorities have living everyday with the legacy of slavery and a culture filled with stereotypes of black inferiority,” I plead guilty to confusion, not indifference. Most conservatives I know would love nothing more than for black people to overcome “the legacy of slavery”, abolished more than 150 years ago by a Republican. We have done everything we can think of to help, from congressional acts to affirmative action to cultural and individual education—to electing a son of Africa to president. I think it’s no longer up to us. If there is a legacy of slavery, we’re not indifferent to it, we’re ignorant of it. Might this conservative suggest it’s in the heads of those who perceive it?

I don’t know what he means by “a culture filled with stereotypes of black inferiority”, and I won’t even try to guess.

But his piece started so promisingly!

This week white conservatives can take a break, step out of the dock and make way for white liberals.

Hacked emails from Hollywood’s white, liberal elite show them belittling the president by assuming his taste in movies is confined to racial stereotypes fitting just another black guy.

“Should I ask him if he likes’ DJANGO?’” asked Amy Pascal, a Sony Pictures’ co-chair. Scott Rudin, a movie producer, responds: “Or ‘The Butler’… or ‘Ride-Along. ‘ I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”

Where to begin unpacking that powder keg of race and class bigotry?

I’ve already come to the defense of my white liberal elite friends. This is immature banter, not racism. (Classist, on the other hand—they’ll need different counsel to defend that charge.) The president, any president, is the last person to be shielded from ridicule. Just ask all the living ex-presidents. We teased Bush 41 about “read my lips”, Clinton about weight and waitresses, Bush 43 about being a war criminal—what else are we going to rib Obama about, his ears? That would make him really mad.

If a conservative had written it, however, we’d need 40 days and 40 nights of rain to put out the fires of indignation (which might explain the deluges in California).

Pascal and Rudin have both apologized for the content of their private emails. “The content of my e-mails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am. Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”

Rudin gave a statement to Deadline.com, explaining that his emails were “written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity,” he understood the notes were out of line. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive,” he said.

Isn’t that enough? Private notes, stolen and exposed, lead to humiliation and apology. That’s a closed circle as far as I’m concerned.

But let Juan Williams make his point:

Pascal and Rudin, on their way to meet the president at a Democratic fundraiser, have no hesitation about painting Obama into this limited, one-dimensional personality. What they have revealed is how demeaning and patronizing their liberal minds can be even when the man is the leader of the nation.

Chris Rock, the comedian and actor, recently said Hollywood is a “white industry… it just is.” He added they don’t hire black men.

I imagine they do hire some black people. But those black people have to color inside the lines of what white liberals think is the right kind of black person. Black conservatives have no chance in that world.

Black intellectuals and even black left wingers have no chance either. But that is a different story. In the restrictive confines of the white liberal world they would be seen as threatening black people.

Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, and Kerry Washington come to mind as obvious refutations, but let’s assume Rock and William mean more than just beautiful actors and actresses.

But while we’re on that point:

But one aspect of the film that shouldn’t have made folks count No Good Deed out of the running for box office glory? Its cast of black stars. In fact, it is the latest in a string of movies led by black actors that have “overperformed” at the box office, any number of which should have put to rest the still-prevailing notion that films with all or primarily black casts don’t do well at the box office.

[M]ovie studios should take a page from their television counterparts and recognize that audiences are hungry for more diversity on the big screen.

After these emails, I think you can take that to the bank.

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Look What the Hack Dragged In!

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of North Korea:

Hollywood film producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures Chair Amy Pascal have been further embarrassed by leaked emails released as a result of the Sony hack, this time mocking President Barack Obama in a set of racist email exchanges.

On the eve of a fundraising breakfast being attended by the President at the home of DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Pascal and Rudin went over things she could discuss with Obama while at the event in October 2013.

‘Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?’ Pascal asks Rudin, a reference to the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained that dealt with the subject of slavery in the antebellum South.

’12 years,’ responds Rudin, referencing another slavery film, this time Steve McQueen’s 2013 Academy Award-winning work 12 Years a Slave, a very violent and brutal look at the injustice and abuse endured by the millions forced into slavery in America.

The pair then keep going, listing as many current films starring black actors as they can name, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler and two Kevin Hart movies, Think Like a Man and Ride Along.
‘I bet he likes Kevin Hart,’ says Rudin at one point.

This all come just one day after Rudin called Angelina Jolie ‘a minimally talented spoiled brat’ in emails discussing who would direct her upcoming remake of the classic film flop Cleopatra.

Ok, so Rudin’s no dummy. We’ve determined that. But he and Pascal are committed Democrat donors, intimately involved with the Hollywood elite. Love it!

To say this is racist is absurd. Lots of people liked all of the movies they named, including lots of black people, I’ll wager. Their comments are indeed mocking, but since when has mocking the president been racist? Hollywood backed this turkey the way they backed Ishtar. Maybe this is how they react in private to backing a loser.

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My Dinner With Barry

Working Title: Hope, Grope & Smoking Dope

It has just been announced that a new film, Southside With You, will tell the story of the very first date Barack and Michelle Obama took back in 1989.

And while the role of Michelle has been cast in the independent feature, it is still not certain who will be playing a young Barack.

Today’s Barack would be easy to cast. Keep your calendar open, would ya Morgan?

Tiki Sumpter, best known for her roles on the television shows Gossip Girl and The Haves and the Have Nots, as well as films such as Get On Up, has landed the role of Michelle, this in addition to penning the screenplay.

Sumpter wrote the script with Richard Tanne, who will direct the picture.

Ladies and gentlemen, the First Lady of the United States:

I wish!

But back to the young Barack, back to his wild, impetuous Barry years. I wish Richard Pryor were still with us. But who else…?

Jaden Smith?

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That sounds like our man.

Definitely our man.

Imagine the sequels! My Big Fat Vegan Wedding, Barry and Michelle’s High (and I do mean high) School Reunion, Young Al Franken(stein), I Am Legend, (Illegal) Alien, Caligula. One could go on.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Rappers

Hands up! Don’t shoot!

Rapper Beanie Sigel, a one-time protege of Jay Z, was shot in the stomach inside a home in New Jersey on Friday.

The bullet went through Sigel’s stomach and out his back, Pleasantville police Chief Jose Ruiz said on Friday.

Authorities and Sigel’s lawyer initially called the wound life-threatening, but hospital officials told police that the 40-year-old rapper was awake Friday afternoon after surgery.

Thank goodness!

He has been in and out of courtrooms over the past decade, sometimes with Jay-Z and Beyonce looking on from the gallery.

In August, Sigel was moved from federal prison to a halfway house after serving a two-year tax-evasion sentence and then released to home confinement in September.

Authorities said he failed to pay more than $700,000 in taxes.

In 2006, Sigel was shot multiple times in the arm in Philadelphia after an attempted robbery.

He was able to drive himself to a hospital for treatment. He was found not guilty in an attempted murder trial in 2005.

Dirty rotten cops.

Investigators were waiting to talk to Sigel, 40. A second man who was injured at the home refused medical treatment and has been uncooperative with police.

No wonder! A black man isn’t safe around cops in America these days. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Beanie.

PS: Though getting shot is becoming almost a necessary career move for rappers.

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Hey, Whoopi Goldberg, Is This Rape Rape?

Try not to let this story destroy your faith in dumpy exhibitionists with a loose grip on reality:

Breitbart News was (un)able to verify [] Dunham’s story of being raped by a campus Republican named Barry.

On top of the name Barry, which Dunham does not identify as a pseudonym (more on the importance of this below), Dunham drops close to a dozen specific clues about the identity of the man she alleges raped her as a 19-year-old student. Some of the details are personality traits like his being a “poor loser” at poker. Other details are quite specific. For instance, Dunham informs us her rapist sported a flamboyant mustache, worked at the campus library, and even names the radio talk show he hosted.

To be sure we get the point, on three occasions Dunham tells her readers that her attacker is a Republican or a conservative, and a prominent one at that — no less than the “campus’s resident conservative.”

For weeks, and to no avail, using phone and email and online searches, Breitbart News was able to verify just one of these details. Like everyone else interested, we immediately found that there indeed was a prominent Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin at the time in question.

Whatever her motives, Dunham is pointing her powerful finger at this man. But as you will read in the details below, the facts do not point back at him. Not even close. This man is by all accounts (including his own) innocent.

Nonetheless, even though she is aware of the suspicion under which she placed this man, to our knowledge, Dunham has yet to clear his name.

But she does plenty to sully it. In the article (which quotes her bestselling book), she provides gruesome details. I’m sorry, fictional gruesome details.

Anyone with half a brain and access to Google has already discovered that, during Dunham’s time at Oberlin College, there was a prominent Republican named Barry who was politically active and quite well-known.

Breitbart News is not going to name this man. Instead, we will refer to him throughout as “Barry One.”

Last month, Barry One told National Review’s Kevin Williamson that “he has never met Dunham and had no relationship with her.”

Our independent investigation backs that up.

Under scrutiny, Dunham’s rape story didn’t just fall apart; it evaporated into pixie dust and blew away.

You can read for yourself.

I am left as I am often left with Ms. Dunham: sick to my stomach. If she was raped, it was not as she tells it. Maybe her recall is faulty, though she went out of her way to implicate someone who would appear to be innocent of the crime. Why? Was she raped by a different man, but she hung the rap on an innocent Republican? Why? Was she not raped at all, but borrowed the gore from a real victim’s account? Again, why? Did she just make the whole thing up, down to the last lusty pant? If so, one can speculate as to why.

PS: You might think this stellar example of investigative journalism would be congratulated. No, you wouldn’t, not really. And you’d be right:

Slate writer Amanda Marcotte ripped into Breitbart News over an investigative piece published Thursday that calls into question Lena Dunham’s story of being raped as a 19 year-old by a campus Republican named Barry.

Responding to a tweet from Bloomberg Politics’ Dave Weigel that linked the story, Marcotte tweeted back, “It’s really time for people to understand that rape denialism is like Holocaust denialism: Broad refusal to accept reality.”

Wait, I thought global warming deniers were like Holocaust deniers. Godwin’s Law strikes again!

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How to Succeed in Self-Promotion

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You may not recognize her with clothes on. Or without an entire cake in her gob.

After Truth Revolt published an article claiming she sexually abused her little sister when they were children, Lena Dunham has been laying low while speaking out to discredit the right-wing website.

But the actress made her first public appearance since the controversy on Tuesday, at the PEN Center USA’s 24th Annual Literary Awards Festival, honouring TV writer Norman Lear in Beverly Hills.

[T]he Girls creator and star appeared to be hoping to put it all behind her as she walked the red carpet at the event on Tuesday.

After a brief stint with green hair, Lena had gone back to platinum blonde and wore her locks in a sleek ponytail.

The 28-year-old wore a black and white 1950s style frock to the event, along with black pumps by L.K. Bennett, a Perspex Charlotte Olympia clutch bag with fingers printed on it, and dramatic winged black eyeliner.

Fabulous!

Lena was joined by Girls co-creator Judd Apatow, and the pair took home the Best Teleplay award for their show’s season two finale, Together.

Lena’s back on Twitter, too:

We are coming back, and with slightly different hair! Girls Season season FOUR premieres January 11th.

Sounds like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Lena. [Shudder]

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Where in the World is Lena Dunham?

So I can stay as far away as possible.

Since the allegations (more like confessions) of sexual “molestation” of her baby sister, Lena Dunham is now a week into radio silence on Twitter (which she had hitherto turned to more often than Twinkies). She’s canceled appearances and had nothing to say beyond an apology:

First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.

Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.

As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.

I’ve already published the relevant passages, which have also been widely aired elsewhere. Heck, they’re excerpted from her best-selling book; you can hear them in her own voice in the audiobook. Lena has threatened legal action, which explain her uncharacteristic reserve.

Which leaves others to speak in the vacuum of her silence:

A month after the book’s publication, professional jerkoff Kevin Williamson wrote an article accusing Lena of sexually molesting her sister—not all that surprising of an allegation, coming from the man who wrote an entire piece about how “Laverne Cox is not a woman.”

What was surprising was how quickly many Dunham critics, including other self-described feminists, took up Williamson’s argument, coming together under a #DropDunham hashtag that called on Planned Parenthood to disassociate itself from the vocally pro-reproductive rights star in the wake of these allegations. Unlike others who have weighed in on this debate, I don’t feel as though I have the necessary information or the right to label Dunham’s anecdote as an incident of sexual molestation.

Neither do I. But neither did Williamson. I checked.

He merely reviewed her book, providing myriad and lengthy excerpts, and passed judgement, not once using any word beginning “m-o-l-e-s-t” (again, I checked). He leaves that up to us. He’s not even sure how much she is to be believed.

Childhood interest in genitalia is hardly unique, and certainly not a crime. Lena’s anecdotes may push the envelope (an unfortunate expression in this instance), if they are to be believed, but again I’ll judge them only to the extent that I think they’re weird. I think Lena herself would eagerly agree.

But Lena is beginning to betray a record. She tap dances in her skivvies (no need to revisit that) to encourage us to vote, when she didn’t bother to vote in the last midterm, 2010.

Then there’s her whiter-than-white Brooklyn in Girls:

With the premiere of Girls, which presented gentrified Brooklyn as an endless expanse of Aryan coffee shops, she earned herself the title of racist, and became the poster child for misguided, white, privileged feminists. Naturally, her insistence that Girls’ dearth of diversity was a “complete accident” reinforced the notion that in Lena Dunham’s world, non-white girls and their untrendy problems are simply non-entities.

And while she was about apologizing, there was this from two years ago:

Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and B.J. Novak are all best friends, natch. So of course they would plan their Halloween costumes together:

The West Memphis Three – a group of young men in Arkansas wrongfully convicted of murders – may be an odd choice of costume, but hey, these are comedians after all, and what is comedy if not tragedy plus time.

Dunham followed up with a suggestion of her own:

Here’s the gist of the reference: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were a Canadian couple convicted of serial rapes and murders in the early 1990s. The case remains a blemish on Canada’s reputation and is, understandably, still a pretty touchy issue there. Dunham’s remark elicited an internet backlash and prompted the Girls star to apologize. Profusely.

The tweets themselves are at the link, but don’t copy. Twitter is a great playground, I guess, but as many of us remember, playgrounds were not all fun and games. I saw bullies, fights, and humiliations aplenty (and was involved in a few).

Maybe a blog with bloodthirsty in its title, with frequent references to the murderous Manson gang, the dead Dalal Mughrabi, and the decomposing Yasser Arafat is in no position to judge a few “innocent” jibes.

But then I compare the butts of my cruel humor (if indeed it is humor, or cruel) to theirs, and I don’t feel so bad.

PS: Many have noted that conservatives might win the odd election, but have lost the “culture”. Have we? Or have we let the opposition defeat itself? Or is the field of play so polluted, it’s better not to step foot on it?

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Why is This Woman Not Smiling?

Care to give us a victory dance, Lena?

What’s the matter, dear? The prospect of Mitch McConnell as Senate President doesn’t make you want to tap dance in your skivvies?

Just don’t let yourself go, honey:

Oh, go ahead. Lena has more to worry about than the loss of Mark Uterus:

I am dismayed over the recent interpretation of events described in my book Not That Kind of Girl.

First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.

Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.

As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.

I’m glad you two girls are close. Well, not too close.

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We Lost a Great Bostonian Today

No, not Mayor Menino.

Tom Magliozzi, Click (or was it Clack?), one of the Tappett Brothers:

Tom Magliozzi, half of the “Click and Clack” team of brothers who hosted NPR’s “Car Talk” radio show, died Monday. He was 77.

NPR reported the death Monday afternoon. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, the radio network said.

In a statement, his brother Ray remembered a jovial partner.
“We can be happy he lived the life he wanted to live; goofing off a lot, talking to you guys every week, and primarily, laughing his ass off,” he said.

NPR has been airing archival material since the Magliozzis stopped making original shows two years ago. Berman told NPR that Ray would like the shows to continue as a tribute to his brother.

While all (or most) of the Democrat phonies are paying tribute to someone who essentially ran a party machine here (may he rest in peace)…

…someone who really spoke for the city (and sounded like it) passed. No disrespect to Mayor Menino, but my thoughts will be with another Italo-Bostonian tonight.

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Warning: Another Lena Dunham Post

I’m sorry.

This is going to hurt me more than it is you:

Still, to dismiss Lena Dunham as an insulated and spoiled child of Manhattan’s ruling class is to misunderstand her story entirely. If there is such a thing as actually abusing a child through excessive generosity and overindulgence, then Lena Dunham’s parents are child abusers. Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter noted for his primitive brand of highbrow pornography, his canvases anchored by puffy neon-pink labia; her photographer mother filled the family home with nude pictures of herself, “legs spread defiantly.” Self-styled radicals from old money, they were not the sort of people inclined to enforce even the most lax of boundaries. And they were, in their daughter’s telling, enablers of some very disturbing behavior that would be considered child abuse in many jurisdictions — Lena Dunham’s sexual abuse, specifically, of her younger sister, Grace, the sort of thing that gets children taken away from non-millionaire families without Andover pedigrees and Manhattanite social connections. Dunham writes of casually masturbating while in bed next to her younger sister, of bribing her with “three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds . . . anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.” At one point, when her sister is a toddler, Lena Dunham pries open her vagina — “my curiosity got the best of me,” she offers, as though that were an explanation. “This was within the spectrum of things I did.”

I limited the damage to one paragraph, though—whew!—what a paragraph. This is Kevin Williams of National Review earning combat pay. He’s read Lena Dunham’s book, and evidently watched her show. I can’t. I won’t.

So why do I care? Why spend time on it? Consider it rubbernecking along the highway of life. Lena Dunham’s exhibitionism may be distasteful, unpleasant, gross, and I try not to look (it’s not that hard), but I can’t completely avoid glimpses of her ample flesh splayed out like a rotting humpback carcass.

Until now, I felt like a prude. A square. A tight-assed old man. You just don’t get it, BTL. She’s not ashamed of her body or her sexuality; what’s your problem? Now I feel sorry, almost, for her. The problems are hers, and they are myriad and messy.

My parents were not hippies themselves, but they counted a few among their friends. When these hygienically-challenged creatures managed to overcome the repulsiveness of their mates to engage in physical relations (sorry! sorry!), and bear offspring (the horror! the horror!), it fell to me, on occasion, to spend time in the company of the little sh*ts. I’ve known Lena Dunhams. They were not happy, they were not nice, they were no fun to be around. They might be smart, even talented, but they were monsters. I wondered what would happen to them when they grew up, if they grew up.

In Lena Dunham, I have my answer, poor girl. I’ve seen enough. Any more is voyeurism.

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Gaga Over Israel

When you’ve got Gaga, you’ve got the world:

Pop star Lady Gaga says the world’s image of Israel is inaccurate, calling the country “a beautiful place.”

“Oh it was fantastic!” said Lady Gaga in an interview published Friday by The Independent, talking about her September 13 performance in Tel Aviv. “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The world view of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.”

“I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful,” she said.

Who needs the United Nations, any of them? And Roger Waters can eat Israel’s shorts.

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