Everyone is talking about this week's Time magazine, the cover of which features a young mom breastfeeding her son. Only her son isn't a baby – he's much, much older. Mary Elizabeth Williams has weighed in at Salon.com where she is a staff writer.
Every Friday, The Takeaway convenes a panel to look back at the week's big stories. This week we hear more about the arrest of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, Rick Santorum's exit of the GOP presidential nomination race, Miami Marlins' Ozzie Guillen's foot-in-mouth disease, and more. This week we're joined by Mary Elizabeth Williams, staff writer for Salon, journalist and blogger Farai Chideya, and Ron Christie, Republican political strategist and political contributor for The Takeaway and It's a Free Country.
Actress Ashley Judd is again in the media spotlight for slamming the media spotlight. This week, Judd penned an article in Daily Beast about her appearance — specifically her so-called "puffy face" — and the media’s obsession with it. Mary Elizabeth Williams writes about women and the media as a Staff Writer for Salon. Cindy Gallop is an advertising consultant and former chairwoman of the advertising agency BBH.
For individuals facing cancer, the battle is a personal one, and whether one lives or dies, the experience is always traumatic. Mary Elizabeth Williams, a staff writer for Salon, has been sharing her own cancer story on the website over the past several months. Last month, after undergoing experimental trials for her metastatic Stage 4 cancer, her doctor told her that her tumors had disappeared.
After a huge amount of publicity and hype, “The Big C” premiered on Showtime last night. The show is a comedy about something a lot of people don't like to talk about, let alone laugh over: cancer.
Laura Linney plays a middle aged woman who’s just been diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma, and given about 18 months to live. In the first episode, Linney's character, Cathy, confides her diagnosis to just one entity: the neighbor’s dog.
"I'm living the dream!" she shouts. "I'm here all year! Performing at Stage 4! Oh come on, come on, you gotta give it up for me a little bit. It's kind of funny? Death comedy." She laughs. And then starts to cry.
In honor of “MacGruber,” which hits theatres nationwide today, we look at the best and worst movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches – from "The Blues Brothers" (quite successful) to "It's Pat" (called "shockingly unfunny") and ask: What makes for a good SNL movie? The story? The characters? The acting?
Not even today’s otherwise somber Nobel Peace Prize ceremony will prove immune from the trappings of a big award show: marquee names will introduce over-the-top performances by acts that inconceivably and incoherently share the regal Norwegian stage.
Past performers have included Sinead O’Connor, Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), A-HA, The Cranberries ... Tonight’s show is the 16th Annual Nobel Peace Prize concert. It will be hosted by Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and will include Wyclef Jean, Toby Keith, Donna Summer and more.
Joining us now to explain some of those choices (and to expound on the award show phenomenon) is our culture critic, Mary Elizabeth Williams.
A government-backed physicians' group, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force, recommended this week that women delay their yearly breast exams until age 50. (Previously, 40 was the suggested age to begin screening.) The recommendation has quickly sparked a national debate. People intuitively feel that more tests are always better, but health economists and doctors practicing "evidence-based medicine" say that some screenings aren't worth doing as often: They don't actually help many patients, they expose millions to risks from radiation, and they can lead to expensive, unnecessary treatments for patients who wouldn't otherwise get sick.
Mary Elizabeth Williams is The Takeaway's culture critic and a writer for Salon.com. She's been getting mammograms for years even though she's noticeably younger than the new recommended cutoff age...but she has no plans to stop. We also talk to Michael Chernew, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. Economists like Chernew run the numbers that lead to some of these controversial suggestions. And Dr. Gerald Andriole, professor and chief of urology at Washington University in St. Louis, does prostate screenings – yet another preventive-care practice now under scrutiny for its evidence-based results.
The children’s entertainment super-giant Walt Disney Corporation announced on Monday that it's acquiring Marvel Inc., the home of such superheroes as Spiderman, Iron Man and Captain America. The $4 billion deal would see Mickey Mouse on the same corporate team with the likes of the X-Men, The New Mutants and other yet-to-be-blockbuster movie action fare.
The question now is: was this a bold and brilliant example of corporate synergy or an ungodly pop-cultural mutation? We ask Takeaway contributor Mary Elizabeth Williams, culture critic for Salon.com
"Want to know where the money is? it’s in comic book characters. That’s the global economy now: it’s comic book characters." — Mary Elizabeth Williams, Takeaway contributor and culture critic for Salon.com
Girl Scouts start selling their best-selling cookies — Thin Mints and Tagalongs — each December. But this year, the Scouts’ annual cookie sales, which add up to $700 million a year, may not be so high. That’s because giant Wal-Mart will start stocking its shelves with its own Great Value brand Fudge Mint and Fudge Covered Peanut Butter Filled cookies next month. Some bloggers who were at the women's BlogHer convention where Wal-Mart debuted its desserts last week are crying foul, saying the retailer is trying to steal the Scouts’ sales. We discuss the cookie war with culture critic Mary Elizabeth Williams and her 9-year old daughter, Lucy, who is, in the interest of full disclosure, a Girl Scout and a darn good little saleswoman.
The most accurate polls around might be a little on the unconventional side: Halloween mask sales, schoolchildren, coffee cups, and cookies.
Mary Beth Williams hits the streets of New York to look at this year's "Xtreme" polls: