When the Oscar nominees were announced on Tuesday, Takeaway producer, Kristen Meinzer noticed that they were — by her measurements — the least culturally and racially diverse in over a decade. Kristen is here with Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday and co-host for the Takeaway’s Movie Date podcast, to discuss race and the Oscars.
To many people, Alan Lomax is simply the man who introduced the world to Woody Guthrie (and legendary folk songs like “This Land is Your Land”). But for Alan Lomax, Guthrie was just one of thousands of musical discoveries made over the course of more than half a century. Lomax, who served as Assistant Folk Song Archivist for the Library of Congress in the 1930s, recorded music from some of the most remote corners and people on earth — including Caribbean field workers, pygmies and black American prisoners. But how much do we know about the respected oral historian, producer, and interviewer?
When Iranians demonstrated against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime in 2009, the U.S. government and media outlets identified the ultimate tool of the dissident masses to be Twitter. When insisting that nothing like the Rwandan genocide could ever happen again, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown explained: “information would come out far more quickly” and “public opinion would grow to the point where action would need to be taken.” All over the world, we see the power that the Internet has in mobilizing the masses. But at the same time, repressive governments are finding ways to launch "denial of service" attacks.
Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder once sang that there's good and bad in everyone. And that applies to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as much as it does to the rest of us. When I tuned in to this morning's Oscar nominations announcement, I kept this in mind.
"True Grit," "Inception," "The Kids are All Right" and "Toy Story 3" get Oscar nods. Takeaway producer Kristen Meinzer takes us through the Oscar nominees. The full list is after the jump.
100 years ago this February, a ten-pound future president was born in Illinois, feet first. His name was Ronald Wilson Reagan. While he eventually came to be a household name, first as an actor, then as a politician, the details of Ronald Reagan's personal life have always been more or less private. Even his own son, Ron Reagan, wasn’t fully sure of his dad’s story, until he set out to learn more about him.
It’s likely you’ve heard about “O: A Presidential Novel.” The book is a fictional account of the Obama administration — the author, according to the publisher's website — "has been in the room with Obama and wishes to remain anonymous.” But buzz or no buzz, is “O” any good? Does it reveal anything juicy about Obama? And how is it similar or different from other fictional depictions of real, living presidents and administrations? Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor at Essence Magazine reviews the book.
Whenever Kristen and Rafer watch a movie together, they keep their opinions a secret from each other until the podcast. But that's hard when they bring along their friends, as they did with this weekend's big movie, "No Strings Attached," starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. The friend Kristen brought is in a real "friends with benefits" situation and Kristen talks about how the movie's story compares with her real life.
We just collectively cringed at Ricky Gervais on the Golden Globes, and we’ll be watching the Academy Awards before we know it, on February 27th. In the meantime, we’re watching movies that probably won’t bring home any statuettes this time next year; but this weekends films may provide us with a little guilty pleasure.Takeaway Movie Date Podcast co-hosts Rafer Guzman and Kristen Meinzer talk about these new releases.
We frequently hear terms like “common sense” and “street smarts.” But what about “practical wisdom”? A concept first identified by Aristotle, practical wisdom is something Swarthmore professors Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe believe needs a comeback. They insist that it could help our institutions and communities and our nation. But what is practical wisdom? And how might it help something like Obama’s presidency?
The U.S. slave trade took many things from the Africans who were forced into it: family, name, homeland, and, of course, freedom. But within that system of brutality, there were certain things that couldn’t be stolen from the slaves, including their taste memories, cooking techniques and agricultural practices. It’s through these food memories and techniques that Africans transformed the way Americans eat. Food historian Jessica Harris explores this part of the American story, and the people involved in it, in her new book “High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America.”
Military wife Siobhan Fallon has a new collection of loosely connected short stories that’s been getting rave reviews. It’s called “You Know When The Men Are Gone.” She explains the truth behind living as a military spouse. Her husband Major K.C. Evans is a graduate of West Point, he’s been married to Siobhan for seven years, and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times during their marriage.
Fifty years ago today, the 35th president of the United States John F. Kennedy uttered the following words at his inaugural address:
"The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
Why did JFK’s words strike a cord with so many? And how did his inauguration foreshadow what was ahead for the young president’s time in office?
We hear a lot of negative messages about culture and creativity in modern China. We hear about censorship and a lack of free speech, about internet restrictions (no Facebook) and too many bribes. But when it comes to music, TV, communication, and creativity in general – are our perceptions of China totally off base? And for that matter, what are modern Chinese people’s perceptions of America and our culture?
The typical U.S. teenager sends 3,500 text messages a month on portable digital devices, and American children send eight texts for every phone call they make or receive. This same generation grew up with Furbies and other robotic friends. While all this technology might seem harmless or even beneficial to the masses, Sherry Turkle argues that it carries risks. Sherry is an MIT professor and clinical psychologist, as well as the author of a new book is called “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”
When many of us hear the name Chalabi, we think of Ahmed Chalabi, the controversial Iraqi politician who advised the U.S. government to go to war. But his daughter Tamara Chalabi wants the world to know that the Chalabi name is bigger that just her father. Her new book, “Late for Tea at the Deer Palace,” brings her family tree to life, from the time of the Ottoman Empire to today’s post-war reconstruction period.
Ricky Gervais, why don't you host every awards show from now on? Every single one. I don't care if it's the Oscars or the Employee of the Month awards at Wal-Mart. I think it would make life a little sweeter, even if we were cringing the whole time.
At 82 years old, Carlos Fuentes has worn many hats. He was the Mexican ambassador to France in the late ‘70s, but his passion has always been writing. As a contemporary of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fuentes returns to magical realism in his latest novel, “Destiny and Desire,” in which he reflects on the state of modern Mexico and its endemic violence.
Today is the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s farewell speech in which he warned, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarrented influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex." But what was the military industrial complex initially? And what has it become over time?
This Sunday, awards season officially kicks off with The 68th Annual Golden Globes. Will "The Social Network" beat "The King's Speech"? Can Natalie Portman trump Michelle Williams? Kristen and Rafer debate who they think will win and should win.