Ripped from the headlines

  • 03.24.17 Terrorism in the era of ‘Black Mirror’: ‘It’s like we’re all living in a movie’


    For your perspective consideration, please.
    I interviewed Charlie Brooker, the creator of “Black Mirror,” the anthology series about the dark forces in ourselves and our technology (catch it on Netflix), Thursday afternoon for an article I’m working on about technophobia in TV series. Needless to say, I was delighted: I’m a big fan of what he’s doing both on “Mirror” and in other areas.
    But I couldn’t start the official conversation without addressing the terror attack in London on the 22nd; I just wanted to express my hopes that he and his loved ones were OK. They were, and it ... continue

  • 03.10.17 I Hate Book Reviews: C.S.E. Cooney’s ‘The Bone Swans of Amandale’


    I have spent many years being critical. Of movies, of TV shows, of music albums. It’s part of my job – it’s part of what I do on a daily basis as an entertainment writer.
    But I’ve never wanted to be a book reviewer. I discovered that by being critical of so much entertainment I found it hard to separate just enjoying it from seeing it through a prism of commentary – which later made it difficult to disappear into. I got out of music journalism before it became a permanent thing, but I’m finding the visual media of movies ... continue

  • 02.28.17 Fall on your knees and be grateful to your corporate overlords. And experimental doctors


    Earlier today, I saw a post that reminded us what the U.S. was like before the Environmental Protection Agency existed. Suffice it to say: Just check out pictures of Beijing and get back to me.
    Then I saw this awesome post by my fellow writer Lisa Cohen, who knows more than a thing or two about the medical community, in which she outlined exactly why health care is super-complicated (as P45 apparently only recently discovered) and why it is so necessary.
    So I decided to combine both ideas.
    There are a ton of posts out there written well and informatively ... continue

  • 02.18.17 ‘It’s been a good run, but I think we reached the end’


    I said to him, “I think we’re done here.”
    He looked at me, waiting for the next shoe.
    “As a country, I mean,” I say. “It’s been a good run but I think we reached the end, logical or not.”
    “How so?”
    “Think about it. If she’d been elected – they just would not have let her govern. Yeah, she has lots of government contacts and plenty of savvy and could have done a decent job, but there would have been no honeymoon period.”
    “I don’t think so.”
    “Really. Look at the last eight years. What did he get done? ... continue

  • 01.31.17 Beyond civil disobedience: Why we need bridge-burners to smoke out Washington’s monsters


    Earlier today, I read a Tweet from editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden that said, in part, “Protests are great and should continue but shaming the unshameable isn’t a plan.”
    He’s right. And we’re going about this all the wrong way.
    Part of the problem – the true cognitive dissonance many of us have been feeling since the inauguration – is that we are reacting to the new administration the way we would if other politicians were irritating us, or doing things we disapproved of. We opened up the rule book and it said, “Make calls.” Then it said, “Write letters.” And ... continue

  • 01.23.17 Kick out the White House press corps? Oh, please do!


    The Orwellian playbook the new White House administration has been using now has a new phrase: “alternative facts.” That’s how spokesperson Kellyanne Conway characterized new press secretary Scott Spicer’s assertion of attendance at Friday’s inaugural of the new POTUS.
    But she also had this gem to add, speaking to “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd: “If we’re going to keep referring to our Press Secretary in those types of terms, we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
    Oh, please, Ms. Conway! Please do!
    Then on Monday, the new administration continued down this path, with the POTUS telling Fox ... continue

  • 01.11.17 Where to find me: Boston in January! (Aka: Arisia)


    For those of you who are intentionally or not-so-intentionally heading up to Boston for the long MLK weekend, I would like to invite you to check out Arisia, the biggest science-fiction and fantasy convention in the Northeast, and visit me at one of five, count ’em five, panels!

    While the whole convention is terrific and runs Jan. 13-16, I’ve got them all bunched into one day: Sunday, January 15:
    10:00 a.m. (Marina 2)
    “Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make Fantasy”
    From Susan Pevensie’s lipstick to fan-hate for Sansa Stark, feminine characters often get shortchanged by fantasy authors and fans alike, losing ... continue

  • 1.3.17 ‘I would like to be who my mom has been – not afraid to be a little weird’


    I never did get to speak with the late Carrie Fisher or Debbie Reynolds (more’s the pity) but I hear they were cracking gals. The pair died within a day of one another last week, which sent a lot of us into a tailspin, once again shaking our fists at the craptacular way 2016 presented.
    But in September 2016 I did get to speak with Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd (who uses her agent father Bryan’s last name, and stars in “Scream Queens”). Lourd, 24, was just awesome in a way you don’t expect when speaking with young actors. She was ... continue

  • 12.26.16 All respect to George Michael, who helped me find my tribe


    Take me back in time maybe I can forget
    Turn a different corner and we never would have met
    I owe George Michael so much.
    And the first time I saw him, I wasn’t even sure he was a boy.
    I was in 10th grade in the fall of 1984, in my brand-new high school and really didn’t know shit about anything. I was desperately concerned with being seen as cool. My middle-school record collection was heavily populated with stuff like Air Supply and Simon and Garfunkel and Neil Diamond and the soundtrack to “Grease.”
    I was definitely going ... continue

  • 11.28.16 ‘All actors love having a death scene’


    We’ve all seen the bad death scene in movies and on TV. There’s usually a lot of coughing, dragged-out final “last words” that inevitably mean nothing or are so riddle-iculous they end up kicking off some huge mystery, then more coughing and — zap! Frozen eyes, limp body. Or worse, eyes suddenly close, body goes limp.
    “All actors love having a death scene,” screenwriter and actor Robert Schenkkan told me. But as I explored in the article, it’s not always easy to get it right. So how do actors and filmmakers keep from going full-on cliche when it comes to ... continue