Idiot Box: Only American Idol’s got talent
To members of our generation, there were a few common debates that raged among middle-schoolers: Backstreet Boys or N*SYNC? Pokémon or Digimon? And, perhaps the most divisive, Britney or Christina?
Idiot Box: Television’s Breaking Point
In 2008, television audiences met the world’s most pitiful man: an overqualified and underpaid high school chemistry teacher, 50 years old and the breadwinner for his pregnant wife and disabled son. And to complicate matters, he’s just been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. In his quest to secure enough money for his family to survive—about $700,000—Walter White pairs up with a junkie-cum-former student to cook crystal meth.
Al-Ani brings the desert to life at the Sackler Gallery
At Georgetown, you can’t walk through Red Square without meeting someone who’s lived in the Middle East. But beyond foreign-service-oriented institutions, there is a popular conception that the Middle East is an uninhabitable wasteland, immortalized by Gulf War news photography and Lawrence of Arabia. Iraqi-born artist Jananne Al-Ani aims to change that.
YO! Sushi will take you, and your tastebuds, for a ride
If you’re stepping off a train at Union Station with an empty stomach and a light wallet, you’d be wise to avoid YO! Sushi. This isn’t because the food there is overpriced—it’s actually quite reasonable, with each dish sitting in a bowl brightly color-coded by price, and no single one costing more than $6. Rather, it’s because having fresh, colorful, tasty Japanese fare riding seductively on a conveyor belt across your field of vision might be a little more than your hungry willpower can handle.
Idiot Box: TLC makes a Boo Boo
In 1972 the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in conjunction with NASA, founded a television network with the goal of using TV, which has long been thought to distract the brain from useful function, as a means of education. The network was later named The Learning Channel, or, for short, TLC.
From finance to fielders, navigating the New York Mess
Earlier this week, a professor of mine asked the class if anyone was a baseball fan. I raised my hand but was tempted to add a disclaimer: As a Mets fan, I felt that this affirmation required a pretty loose definition of the word “baseball.”
Idiot Box: Parks and defecation
As far as television goes, last night was pretty unremarkable—just your regular Wednesday night fare, plus a season finale or two, given the time of year. So it’s funny to think that just a few months ago, people all over the Internet were predicting that November 16 would bring the apocalypse of the televised world: the end of South Park.
Critical Voices: Atlas Sound, Parallax
Bradford Cox can sing. This may come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Deerhunter front man, whose musical modus operandi has proven for years to consist of complex, experimental instrumentation coupled with muffled, ambient vocals. But on Parallax, the latest album from his solo project Atlas Sound, Cox allows his mostly unaltered voice to take the center of attention on multiple tracks, making for an album that is a little bit more normal without feeling uncharacteristic.
Idiot Box: You are not the father
Think about something someone could tell you that would make you really, really excited. You’d whoop, scream, get out of your chair, and do a victory dance while a crowd of people cheered you on. But the information you were just told wasn’t that you’ve just won the lottery, or you’ve become an overnight international celebrity. It’s even better—in the case of this 14-month-old baby, you are not the father.
Twuesday Tweetacular: dispatches from the hashtag front
A few days ago, a friend of mine was sitting at her computer, her face expressing deep, hopeless concentration—writer’s block if I’ve ever seen it. When I asked her what was stumping her, she sounded exasperated: “I can’t think of anything to tweet about.” Her answer surprised me, but not because of the importance that she was assigning to coming up with a bite-sized sentiment to bestow on her dozens of followers. Rather, I was baffled that she had enough self-awareness not to just type up her latest passing thought and throw in some number signs and words without spaces between them. From my experience, that’s what Twitter is all about.