I Love How All The Space Movies Ever Have Like 8..

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The male glance: how we fail to take womens stories seriously

The long read: Male art is epic, universal, and profoundly meaningful. Womens creations are domestic, emotional and trivial. How did we learn to misread stories so badly?

In spring 2013, HBO conducted a sly experiment on the elite TV-viewing public. It aired two new shows both buddy dramas back to back. Each was conceived as a short, self-contained season. Each had a single talented and idiosyncratic director for the entire season, and each dispensed with the convention of having a large team of writers in favour of a unified authorial vision. Both shows appeared to belong to one genre, but gestured at several others. Both used excellent actors to anchor a meandering, semi-disciplined style. And both ended by reasserting the romantic bonds of friendship. Those shows were True Detective, and Doll and Em.

Their critical reception was drastically different. One was analysed and investigated to the point of parody. The other show a much tighter work of art was breezily and inaccurately labeled a satire and forgotten. To be explicit, the show about boys got way too much credit, and the show about girls got way too little.

This is how we approach male versus female work. Lets call it the male glance a narrative corollary to the male gaze. We all do it, and it is ruining our ability to see good art. The effects are poisonous and cumulative, and have resulted in a huge talent drain. We have been hemorrhaging great work for decades, partly because we are so bad at seeing it.

A nefarious impulse strikes when we look at faces. It is the result of advertising combined with centuries of male-dominated image-making. Perhaps you have noticed: when you look at a face that you have been told is female, you critique it at a much higher resolution than you would if it were labelled male. Womens skin should be smoother. We detect wrinkles, discolourations and pores, and subtract them from a womans beauty in ways we dont if that same face is presented to us as masculine. There is a long history of grading aesthetics on a gendered curve. We may hope that bad habits such as these are ancient history, but in practice, our snap judgments frequently trump our theoretical progress.

A famous Susan Sontag meditation on this aesthetic paradigm bears repeating: The great advantage men have is that our culture allows two standards of male beauty: the boy and the man. The beauty of a boy resembles the beauty of a girl. In both sexes, it is a fragile kind of beauty and flourishes naturally only in the early part of the life cycle. Happily, men are able to accept themselves under another standard of good looks heavier, rougher, more thickly built There is no equivalent of this second standard for women. The single standard of beauty for women dictates that they must go on having clear skin. Every wrinkle, every line, every grey hair, is a defeat.

If our ability to see detail in a womans face is magnified by our visual habits, our ability to see complexity in a womans story is diminished by our reading habits. Centuries of experience in looking at the one through a magnifying glass has engendered a complementary practice of looking at the other through the wrong end of a telescope. Faced with a womans story, were overtaken with the swift taxonomic impulse an amateur astronomer feels on spotting Sirius: There it is! he says, and looks to the next star. Its a pleasant activity because it organises and confirms, but it produces the fantasy that a lazy reading not even a reading, but a looking is adequate, sufficient, complete, correct.

The male glance is how comedies about women become chick flicks. Its how discussions of serious movies with female protagonists consign them to the unappealing stable of strong female characters. Its how soap operas and reality television become synonymous with trash. It tricks us into pronouncing mothers intrinsically boring, and it quietly convinces us that female friendships come in two strains: conventional jealousy, or the even less appealing non-plot of saccharine love. The third narrative possibility, frenemy-cum-friend, is only slightly less shallow. Who consumes these stories? Who could want to?

The slope from taxonomy to dismissal is deceptively gentle, and ends with a shrug. The danger of the male glance is that it is reasonable. Its not always or necessarily incorrect. But it is dangerous, because it looks and thinks it reads. The glance sees little in women-centric stories besides cheap sentiment, or its opposite, the uninteresting compensatory propaganda of female strength. It concludes, quite rightly, that Strong Female Lead is not a story but a billboard.

The male glance is the opposite of the male gaze. Rather than linger lovingly on the parts it wants most to penetrate, it looks, assumes, and moves on. It is, above all else, quick. Under its influence, we rejoice in our distant diagnostic speed. It feeds an inchoate, almost erotic hunger to know without attending to reject without taking the trouble of analytical labour because our intuition is so searingly accurate that it doesnt require it. Here again, we are closer to the amateur astronomer than to the explorer. Rather than investigate or discover, we point and classify.

Generations of forgetting to zoom into female experience arent easily shrugged off, however noble our intentions, and the upshot is that we still dont expect female texts to have universal things to say. We imagine them as small and careful, or petty and domestic, or vain, or sassy, or confessional. We might expect them to be sentimental or melodramatic, or even in the days of Transparent and Girls provocative, unflattering and exhibitionist. But we dont expect them to be experimental, and we dont expect them to be great. We have not yet learned to see within female ugliness the possibility of transcendent art (as we have with its male counterpart), and however far we have come since 2013, thanks to shows such as Insecure, Fleabag and Catastrophe, we still have not quite learned to see female storytellers as either masterful or intentional.

And why should we? The Great American Novel (to choose one metric of excellence) is not, historically, a female genre. As John Cheever so memorably put it, The task of an American writer is not to describe the misgivings of a woman taken in adultery as she looks out of a window at the rain but to describe 400 people under the lights reaching for a foul ball. This is ceremony. Women are fine; they have their place, certainly, but they lack universality. They are not The Public.

When we look at a girl story, most of us go a tiny bit stupid. We fail to see beyond the limits of our own generic expectations. This is how the 2012 Disney film Brave got dismissed by a number of otherwise insightful critics as Just Another Princess Movie. And this is how Doll and Em as brilliant a commentary on how women have been narrated in Hollywood as there has yet been taking on The Godfather, All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard got dismissed as just another satire.

One was analysed to the point of parody. The other was breezily labelled a satire and forgotten Doll and Em (left) and True Detective. Composite: HBO

Even when we are moved by the work ourselves, our assumption tends to be that the effects these female texts produce are small, or imperfectly controlled, or, even worse, accidental. The text is doing something in spite of itself. This, too, is old. Mark Twain dismissed Jane Austen on the grounds that her characters were unlikeable: Does Jane Austen do her work too remorselessly well? For me, I mean? Maybe that is it. She makes me detest all her people, without reserve. Is that her intention? It is not believable. Then is it her purpose to make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters? That could be. That would be high art. (The emphases are mine.)

The implication, naturally, is that Austen is incapable of this brand of high art. No woman would intentionally conduct such an experiment. No, the effect she produces on Twain must be a combination of accident and his own powers of perception; his unreserved hatred of a particular character is due to his idiosyncrasy and superior social and literary taste, not her authorial control.

I wish these vapid reading practices masquerading as insight were limited to early American satirists, but of course they arent. How long did it take critics to realise that the protagonists in Lena Dunhams Girls were supposed to be unpleasant? And yet the internet was flooded with thinkpieces wryly observing that the four characters were insufferable as if this was a revelation, as if they had somehow divined a secret Dunham had either tried to hide, or of which she was entirely unaware.

This is still how we treat most female authors. I have observed that male writers tend to get asked what they think, and women what they feel, said Eleanor Catton after winning the Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries. In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are about luck and identity and how the idea struck them.

There it is again: chance, accident, and the passive construction of female artistry not How did you create? but How were you struck? Catton puts it well: The interviews much more seldom engage with the woman as a serious thinker, a philosopher, as a person with preoccupations that are going to sustain them for their lifetime.

Faces and stories belong to different domains of experience, but they have one thing in common: we are trained from an early age to consume them differently depending on the gender of their origin. Inspecting a womans face for flaws is often and quite unconsciously, for the most part a dominance exercise. It flatters the observers opinion of his own perspicacity. He comes away convinced that, despite makeup and lighting, he has seen through her attempt at deception and remained unaffected by it. This sneering gaze has been happening for centuries, from Jonathan Swifts 1732 poem The Ladys Dressing Room to the present day, in which we bemusedly watch Botoxed Real Housewives cry.

The risk of this practice isnt its inherent misogyny; we are all working on that. No, the danger is that we think we are seeing clearly when we are actually being dreadfully, cataclysmically myopic. The problem isnt just that we overestimate the accuracy of our perceptions; its that we mistake cover-up for content. Study after study has shown that, no matter how loudly we complain that reality TV is heavily scripted, or that an image is the product of makeup, lighting and Photoshop, we are unable to disregard the evidence of our own eyes. We are fooled by the very effects we think we see through. When we think we are seeing through a womans foundation, then, we have done something a hundred times worse than criticise a woman for her appearance. We have mistaken noticing that there is makeup for correctly perceiving what is behind it.

It is worth pointing out that this has been the point of makeup since time immemorial: to conceal flaws and let observers think they are perceptive by finding the result beautiful. Beauty historically the main outlet for feminine artistic production is not in the eye of the beholder. But that proverb exists for a reason: it flatters the beholder, not the producer of beauty. (This does get flipped on its head in very specific contexts: during conversations about rape, for instance. The what was she wearing? line of argument is one of the few contexts in which womens passive agency over the spectator is both recognised and granted more power than it ought to have.)

This is female chivalry. It consists in allowing us to think we are spontaneously noticing that which has been explicitly put there for us to notice. Like all chivalry, it has pernicious consequences when it goes unappreciated or unobserved.

The consequence of this particular category mistake confusing spotting the mask with seeing under it is that we conclude (subconsciously, of course) that all women are is a lesser version of the mask. There is a very good logic at work here: the mask is there to conceal flaws. If you penetrate the mask, what do you find? Flaws! QED. But what we have actually seen once we have spotted a mask is nothing. A blank. The brain abhors a vacuum, so it populates that blank with the limited data we have the made-up face, slightly degraded. Women, in our poor, preprogrammed imaginings, are just a slightly uglier surface than the one we see and the only intentionality we readily attribute to them is the work of masking.

If traditional male chivalry involves loud displays of care such as ostentatious door-opening, the entire point of female chivalry is that it is functionally invisible. We dont actually realise we have been aesthetically tended to and philosophically cosseted into considering ourselves better readers of surface and depth than we really are. As with any creature spoiled into thinking too well of itself, this breeds a meanness of spirit.

If we were less busy celebrating our perfect vision, we might notice that, under the mask we have spotted, there may lurk a rather interesting and even intentional subjectivity, which in addition to the usual universal human things we all share has been trained from birth to constantly consider and craft its own performance from a third-person perspective. In other words, women in addition to bearing faces whose deceptions we seek to expose are walking around with the usual amount of self-awareness and a few meta layers to boot. There is better performance art in almost any woman than there is in a thousand James Francos.

It might be objected, at this point, that Ive been churlishly dismissing all the intellectually generous watchers and readers of female-centric stories. In other words, who is this we you keep talking about? I dont belong to that we!

The we Im talking about is the we that all of us, regardless of gender or class or race, are trained to identify with from the moment that we start consuming media. Its a we that doesnt quite include the individual in fact, it routinely invites the consumer to identify against herself but its a very real we without whom that individual would be unable to understand or navigate her culture. Its a version of what the scholar and civil rights activist WEB Du Bois called double consciousness: It is a peculiar sensation this sense of always looking at ones self through the eyes of others, of measuring ones soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

The film theorist Laura Mulvey famously described a womens experience of this we in her analysis of the male gaze: It is always possible that the female spectator may find herself so out of key with the pleasure on offer, with its masculinisation, that the spell of fascination is broken, she writes. On the other hand, she may not. She may find herself secretly, unconsciously almost, enjoying the freedom of action and control over the diegetic world that identification with a hero provides.

The writer Elizabeth Gilbert describes this experience in an interview with the Believer magazine: I spent pretty much the first 10 years of my writing career focused entirely on men. I wrote about men, and I wrote for men. Whenever I wrote about women, either in fiction or in journalism, they were women interlopers in mens worlds. This makes perfect sense to me in retrospect: during those years I think I was truly confused about whether I wanted to be surrounded by men or whether I just wanted to be a man. My favourite moments during those years were when I would be with a group of men (on a ranch, in a bar, on a ship, on a trip) and they would seem to forget for a spell that I was a girl, and I could see their real faces, their true selves. That always seemed beautiful and magical to me.

Many women will identify with the wonder of being allowed into the we. What makes Gilberts reflection compelling is that she is describing a period prior to the publication of her womens books such as Eat, Pray, Love, back when she was considered serious because she wrote books with titles such as Stern Men and The Last American Man. Her career amounts to an experiment similar to the one HBO conducted with True Detective and Doll and Em. Its a tighter setup, in fact, because the same writer praised as a top-notch journalist and fiction writer [who] braids keen and provocative observations about the American frontier, the myth of the mountain man, and the peculiar state of contemporary America with its profound alienation from nature into her spirited and canny portrait was subsequently lampooned for writing chick lit.

Before Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert was considered serious because she wrote books with titles such as Stern Men and The Last American Man

Gilbert is a useful example of how the we works because at least when it came to my own reading I let the we win. The broad dismissal of Eat, Pray, Love was so funny and spirited and goshdarn effective. Articles! Parodies! I believed the anti-hype (in spite, it must be said, of Jennifer Egans extremely positive review), and it worked: I never read the book. I still havent read it. Heres why: its too much mental work, because it would mean reading the book as me and also reading the book as we.

The awful thing about internalising the we is that you have to fight it like a boss if you disagree with its verdict. What if I like Eat, Pray, Love? Do I want to take on the we whose powers of discernment Im too insecure to fully dismiss in order to justify my liking? Will I feel embarrassed by my pleasure, ashamed for falling for what the we so cleverly saw through? This is not a defence of Eat, Pray, Love. Ill repeat: I still have not read it. But that is why its useful as an example: this is how ambient culture works. These streams of derision and praise are the currents that eventually confer greatness.

It also demonstrates the other feature of readerly experience I am trying to describe: the ongoing and exhausting project of having to experience narrative through two sets of eyes. Or three. The further you move away from white cis masculinity, the more points of view you have to juggle. Have you ever played that icebreaker game where youre in a room and the first person has to say their name, then the next person has to say the first persons name and then their own? The last person in the circle has to name every single person in the room before they get to say their own name. That is the marginalised viewers cognitive burden in a nutshell.

You can jump ship, of course: forget the we altogether, relax, and enjoy your own perceptions. But if you do that, youll never be taken seriously as a thinker, scholar, creator, or critic. For many people, that has been a small price to pay.

For those who dont want to jump ship, none of this is comfortable. I began this essay by talking about our visual habits as they have been shaped by the beauty myth, so it seems fitting to conclude with how our visual experience has been shaped by the objectivity myth. This can be summed up in a fairly simple proposition: we dont see complexity in female stories because we have so little experience imagining it might be there.

One of the less intuitive revelations of recent work in cognitive science is that a failure of imagination can actually produce a failure of vision. Our visual system isnt objective. In an article explaining this phenomenon, the journalist Alexis Madrigal describes the weird things that happen when youre invited to look at an image without knowing what to expect from it. An image unlabelled is a daunting blank. You dont know how to approach it, or what to think of it sometimes you might not even quite know what it is. Its a very uncomfortable sensation. Relieving that discomfort requires sacrificing possibility. Once youre invited to impose a particular reading on an image the example Madrigal used involved thinking of the Brazil 2014 World Cup logo as a facepalm it becomes really difficult to see that image as anything else, to unsee it with fresh eyes.

Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons famously showed the effects of selective attention in a video that went viral in 2010. There is a group of six people, three in black shirts, three in white. They have two basketballs. When instructed to count the number of times the players in white pass the basketball, approximately half the viewers completely miss the gorilla that dances through the circle of players, beats its chest and walks away. This phenomenon suggests there might in fact be a cost to the cultural instructions we receive. If male-centric plots are the players in white shirts, if we are told that the bouncing balls are the only plots worth following, how many dancing gorillas did we miss while we were counting?

Its hard to resist the hints the packaging offers, hard to see anything but a chick flick in a female-centric story once you have internalised that expectation of what it is youre watching. Overwhelmed as we are with information, reductive categories distort our visual experience by filtering out whatever doesnt fit, and that distortion produces a calming clarity. This is largely why we read reviews or synopses. It is to make sense of what we just saw; to simplify an inchoate and unnamable experience into something we can carry with us. In the absence of that instruction, we flounder.

We are capable of more. We have to lose the blinkers that have long and faithfully guided our vision. This will be uncomfortable. It begins with an acknowledgment of how dominant the male glance has been, and how the cosmetic analyses we deploy in response to femaleness bind us to surface and blind us to depth. And condemn us, in consequence, to a culture defined by casually diagnostic (and artistically cataclysmic) dismissals.

The next step is harder. Before we can start connecting the dots in non-male stories, we must first assume that there is something there worth seeing. This means resisting the snap judgment and the taxonomic impulse. Before we let the quiet machinery of the we tar a text as cliched or preachy, messy or sentimental, or bitchy or undercooked, lets provisionally grant that there might be some deliberate effect lurking therein particularly under whichever womanish performative sign we spotted that flattered us into looking no further. There may not be. As with all art, some female-centric work will be dull and flat. But unlearning the male glance means recognising that even as we have dismissed non-male artistic intentionality as improbable, we have remained endlessly receptive to the slightest sign of male genius. (The convention of not classifying white male cis straight texts in exactly those terms has paradoxically made them glance-resistant.) Our starting assumption, to correct for our smug inattention throughout history, ought to be that there is likely quite a bit more to the female text than we initially see.

Consider this a rational corrective to centuries of dismissive shrugs, then: look for the gorilla. Do what we already automatically do with male art: assume there is something worthy and interesting hiding there. If you find it, admire it. And outline it, so that others will see it too. Once you point it out, well never miss it again. And we will be better for seeing as obvious and inevitable something that previously absent the instructions we simply couldnt perceive.

There is so much we pitifully think we know.

A longer version of this essay first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/06/the-male-glance-how-we-fail-to-take-womens-stories-seriously

Here’s The Funny Reason Why Melissa McCarthy Compared Her Dogs To Supermodels

Melissa McCarthy is one of my favorite comedians.

She’s a real treasure, and I often go into her movies not knowing if I’ll like them, but I’m charmed every time. It turns out, she’s just as funny in interviews, too.

During a recent visit to The Ellen Show, she started off by talking about how she had just adopted two dogs and what she’d learned about them so far.

She says it’s like “living with models.” Can you guess which breed of dog she adopted? Find out in the video below.

Youtube / The Ellen Show

Regardless of how intelligent those pups are, I think we can all agree that they’re pretty darn cute.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/supermodel-dogs/

On The Eve Of Black Panther, Let’s Give Blade Some Credit

As the world celebrates a proudly black superhero getting his own film, you may hear some fans quietly muttering, “Wait, didn’t Blade do that like 20 years before Black Panther?” And then there’s an even smaller, weirder group of people saying, “And what about Meteor Man?” But this is about Blade, and what it says about where the world is now versus 1998. (Spoiler: What it says is mostly bad.)

First, remember the context. Back in 1998, we still didn’t know if superhero movies truly worked. Sure, we’d seen success with Batman and Superman, but both of those series had fallen into fatigue before they could get through even three entries. We still hadn’t gotten the boom period that started with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. (Yes, I know that X-Men came before it, but I always felt like Spider-Man unapologetically embraced the comic book aesthetic, whileX-Men was still apologizing for it.)

And then along came Blade. It was a bloody, R-rated superhero movie (long before Deadpool and Logan would be celebrated as trailblazers) featuring a black lead, not to mention a black woman costar (the movie signals this is leading to a romance, but the pair wind up in a partnership of strong, mutual respect). And Blade, under its layers of rad trench coats and vampire raves, has way more to say on the subject of race than you’d think.

Blade is a black vampire in a world dominated by pasty white bloodsuckers who sit around a big table and secretly control everything. But the movie doesn’t do that thing where they use supernatural creatures as a metaphor for some minority (hello, Bright). Blade isn’t symbolically anything; in that universe, he’s actually a vampire and he’s actually black. The latter means the same thing in that world as it does in ours. He is fighting a power structure that fears him, hates him, and has forced him into the life he lives. Yet he’s supremely confident. The first time he shows up in a club of EDM Nosferatus, the entire crowd crouches and slithers and sneaks, while Blade does none of those things. He is direct and he is awesome, and that is terrifying to them.

At one point, Karen Jenson (played N’Bushe Wright), is attacked by a cop who, guess what, turns out to be a dupe for the vampire power structure. Blade proceeds to smack the guy around and demand information — a scene that, if included in a blockbuster today, would probably draw two-dozen enraged tweets from the president. Does Blade say that all police are corrupt? No, the script is smarter than that. That individual bad cop is portrayed as a cog, someone almost pathetically caught up in a larger system. These are themes you would not expect to come up in a Wesley Snipes movie about a kung-fu vampire.

The franchise never backs down from it, either. In Blade II, he’s partnered with the Blood Pack, a group of assassins who have spent years training to hunt Blade, but who now must reluctantly work with him. Within seconds of meeting them, Ron Perlman’s bald, tattooed character Reinhardt asks, “Can you blush?” If that sounds like a nonsense question to you, congratulations on not being intimately familiar with racist pseudoscience (white people, they say, are the only race capable of blushing, and therefore are the only race capable of feeling shame).

Blade responds by smacking Reinhardt twice in the face, then attaching an explosive to the back of his head and telling him that he’ll use it if Reinhardt acts up again. That’s the two-act structure to every Blade scene: 1) Some motherfucker tries to ice skate uphill. 2) Blade handles it.

When Blade does gain more allies in (the thoroughly mediocre) Blade: Trinity, he’s quick to point out that his struggle is not a joke. Ryan Reynolds, showing up here long before Hollywood thought of him as superhero movie material, wears a “Hello, My Name Is” sticker with the words “FUCK YOU” written on it. To that, Blade responds, “You think this is a fucking sitcom?” First of all, I’d really like to know what sitcoms Blade watches. Second, it illustrates that if you want to be an ally, you have to be ready to take it seriously. Approaching it with ironic detachment is a slap in the face.

Yet despite all of this, you didn’t see the mainstream press heralding Blade as some kind of bold risk. Even the positive reviews were based around statements like “What is unusual about the film is the way it combines high-tech violence with the more up-close-and-personal violence of vampires” (yep, you really nailed it, Gene Siskel, and may God rest your soul). The negative reviews spouted shit like “Filter out the gloss, the gore and the insistent techno score, and all you’re left with are the gleaming pecs and bulging biceps of Wesley Snipes as Buff The Vampire Slayer.” You get the sense that 20 years ago, an R-rated, wide-release movie in which a black Marvel superhero beats the shit out of a white cop was considered boring.

Which would almost imply that we’ve gone backward since then, that Black Panther feels like a trailblazer because it does indeed have to re-blaze the trail. Blade came along at the tail end of the Clinton years, a year before the box office would be dominated by parables about mediocre white males having a crisis of identity (American Beauty, Fight Club, The Matrix). Since then we’ve seen regression, not just in terms of race relations but also in what kind of risks movies like this were willing to take. Twenty years later, a movie like Black Panther (and a show like Luke Cage, while we’re at it) feels like a bold slap in the face to the Trump Era.

I’m not trying to take anything away from either of those. I’m just saying that two decades earlier, there was a Marvel superhero movie that featured goddamned Mobb Deep on the soundtrack.

Daniel has a Twitter. Go to it. Enjoy yourself. Kick your boots off and stay for a while.

Real talk the whole Blade soundtrack is pretty killer. Dig in.

If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/on-eve-black-panther-lets-give-blade-some-credit/

The Shirk Report Volume 460

Welcome to the Shirk Report where you will find 20 funny images, 10 interesting articles and 5 entertaining videos from the last 7 days of sifting. Most images found on Reddit; articles from Facebook, Twitter, and email; videos come from everywhere. Any suggestions? Send a note to submit@twistedsifter.com


Elon Musk out here living his best life right now
Did I mention he loves Twitter?
– These two just won their respective theme parties: James Bond | Rainforest
You know what’s better than a floof?
Shoulder cat
Every damn time
The title 😂
This Amazon review deserves a Pulitzer
This was designed, reviewed, approved, produced, and installed
Enjoy your Powerball, I just won the avocado lottery
When you snap your board but still have to get home
When you snap your glove and have to spend the rest of the day wondering if anyone saw
What a time to be alive
I like how he casually places his dumbbells (wtf?) down first
A little advice before we go
Until next week


1999 at the movies: The year of living dangerously
The House That Spied on Me
The 14-Year-Old Who Convinced People to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide
A year without food
This simple solution to smartphone addiction is now used in over 600 U.S. schools
Why Paper Jams Persist
Why Uma Thurman Is Angry
Why AWS Dominates The Internet
How Humans Sank New Orleans
Pyeongchang 2018: Mass start speed skating bends the rules at Winter Olympics

5 VIDEOS + first timer


Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/2018/02/the-shirk-report-volume-460/

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 just added an incredible new star

Meryl Streep, star of Big Little Lies Season 2
Image: Mike coppola / Getty Images

Just when you thought Big Little Lies couldn’t possibly get any better or bigger, here comes Meryl Motherf*cking Streep to prove you wrong.

Streep has just signed on for the second season of the HBO series. She joins returning stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.

Streep will play the mother of Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård), abusive husband to Celeste (Kidman). His character was (Season 1 spoiler alert!) killed in the first season. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Streep’s Mary Louise is concerned for her grandchildren in the wake of his death, and she’s arrived in Monterey in search of answers.

As The Playlist pointed out on Twitter, Streep and Skarsgård already have an onscreen connection … sort of.

We’re guessing this isn’t actually canon, but we don’t care, we’re going to assume it is and no one can tell us not to.

Alexander Skarsgård is expected to return for the second season of Big Little Lies. No other cast members are locked in at this time – though it seems a safe bet Zoë Kravitz will be back, seeing as the second season is expected to introduce Bonnie’s parents.

Big Little Lies Season 2 will run seven episodes. Series creator David E. Kelley has written all seven episodes, just as he did for the last season. Liane Moriarty, who penned the novel that the first season was based on, helped craft the story.

Andrea Arnold is directing the entire season. She replaces Jean-Marc Vallée, who helmed the last season.

There’s no word yet on when Big Little Lies Season 2 will air – but you can bet we’ll be parked in front of our TVs watching when it does, especially now that they’ve gone and gotten Streep in the mix.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/24/meryl-streep-big-little-lies-season-2/

Mark Wahlberg to donate $1.5M reshoot paycheck to Time’s Up legal fund

Mark Wahlberg, who’s come under fire in recent days for being paid 1,000 times more than his female co-star, Michelle Williams, for movie reshoots, announced that he would donate his $1.5 million paycheck to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Williams’ name.

“Over the last few days my reshoot fee for ‘All the Money in the World’ has become an important topic of conversation,” Wahlberg tweeted Saturday. “I 100% support the fight for fair pay and I’m donating the $1.5M to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name.”

It was reported Tuesday by USA Today that Wahlberg received the hefty paycheck for having to reshoot his scenes in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” after Kevin Spacey was ousted from his leading role in December – just weeks before the film premiered. Spacey was removed amid a welter of misconduct allegations.


Williams, who also had to reshoot her scenes, was reportedly paid $80 per day for her work, totaling less than $1,000 total.

William Morris Endeavor (WME), the agency which reportedly negotiated the $1.5 million for Wahlberg, and also represents Williams, said in a statement it will donate $500,000 to the Time’s Up fund.

Mark Wahlberg tweeted Saturday he would donate his $1.5 million reshoot paycheck from his role in “All the Money in the World” to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in costar Michelle Williams’ name.

“The current conversation is a reminder that those of us in a position of influence have a responsibility to challenge inequities, including the gender wage gap,” WME stated.

“In recognition of the pay discrepancy on the ‘All the Money in the World’ reshoots, WME is donating an additional $500,000 to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name, following our $1 million pledge to the organization earlier this month. It’s crucial that this conversation continues within our community and we are committed to being part of the solution.”

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Michelle Williams, left, and Mark Wahlberg in TriStar Pictures’ “All The Money in the World.”  (Fabio Lovino/Sony-TriStar Pictures via AP)

Williams later Saturday said in a statement that “today isn’t about me. My fellow actresses stood by me and stood up for me, my activist friends taught me to use my voice, and the most powerful men in charge, they listened and they acted.”

“If we truly envision an equal world, it takes equal effort and sacrifice,” Williams stated. “Today is one of the most indelible days of my life because of Mark Wahlberg, WME and a community of women and men who share in this accomplishment.”

“Anthony Rapp, for all the shoulders you stood on, now we stand on yours,” Williams said, referencing the actor’s allegations against Kevin Spacey, which were published in October and sparked a wave of sexual misconduct accusations that ultimately led to Spacey’s recasting in “All the Money in the World.”

The pay gap sparked backlash from Hollywood, with stars such as Jessica Chastain, who said Williams “deserves more than 1% of her male costar’s salary” and Busy Phillips, tweeted the move was “SHAMEFUL,” speaking out.


While Scott initially told USA Today that the movie’s cast “came in for free” to reshoot the film, it was later reported Wahlberg refused to refilm his scenes or approve Spacey’s replacement, Christopher Plummer, unless he was paid.

“What he said was, ‘I will not approve Christopher Plummer unless you pay me.’ And that’s how he (expletive) them,” a source told USA Today.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/01/13/mark-wahlberg-to-donate-1-5m-reshoot-paycheck-to-times-up-legal-fund.html

This Is How We Date Now

iStockphoto / MmeEmil

We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.

When we choose—if we commit—we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.

We soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.

And, even if we find it. Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.

Then, we see these other happy, shiny couples and we compare. We are The Emoji Generation. Choice Culture. The Comparison Generation. Measuring up. Good enough. The best. Never before have we had such an incredible cornucopia of markers for what it looks like to live the Best Life Possible. We input, input, input and soon find ourselves in despair. We’ll never be good enough, because what we’re trying to measure up to just does not fucking exist. These lives do not exist. These relationships do not exist. Yet, we can’t believe it. We see it with our own eyes. And, we want it. And, we will make ourselves miserable until we get it.

So, we break up. We break up because we’re not good enough, our lives aren’t good enough, our relationship isn’t good enough. We swipe, swipe, swipe, just a bit more on Tinder. We order someone up to our door just like a pizza. And, the cycle starts again. Emoji. “Good morning” text. Intimacy. Put down the phone. Couple selfie. Shiny, happy couple. Compare. Compare. Compare. The inevitable creeping in of latent, subtle dissatisfaction. The fights. “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is.” “This isn’t working.” “I need something more.” And, we break up. Another love lost. Another graveyard of shiny, happy couple selfies.

On to the next. Searching for the elusive more. The next fix. The next gratification. The next quick hit. Living our lives in 140 characters, 5 second snaps, frozen filtered images, four minute movies, attention here, attention there. More as an illusion. We worry about settling, all the while making ourselves suffer thinking that anything less than the shiny, happy filtered life we’ve been accustomed to is settling. What is settling? We don’t know, but we fucking don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, settling. If it’s not Pinterest-worthy, settling.

We realize that this more we want is a lie. We want phone calls. We want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of a phone screen. We want slowness. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived the fuck out of our lives. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet.

Yet, this is not how we date now. This is not how we love now.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/jamie-varon/2014/12/this-is-how-we-date-now/

Here’s The Hilarious Thing That’d Happen If Gollum Auditioned For These Movies

One of the most iconic characters from “The Lord of The Rings” (LOTR) is Gollum, or Sméagol, everyone’s favorite ring-hungry, Hobbit-hating, fish-eating creature who would die happy if he could just have his “precious.”

Some of the things that make the former Hobbit so great are his distinct voice, bizarre mannerisms and split personality — all of which make for seriously entertaining impressions. That’s why we all get such a kick out of people who impersonate him for non-LOTR purposes. Take Ian James Walters, who loves singing popular songs as Gollum. A few years back, he decided to record mock auditions for a number of classic films while embodying the creepy character. The resulting video was priceless.

Watch below as Gollum tries his hand at landing major roles for movies we all know and love.

He may not have gotten any callbacks, but I’m sure the real Gollum would be proud. Be sure to check out more of Walters’ hilarious impersonations on YouTube.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/gollum-auditions/

Sky News faces uncertain future

Image copyright Getty Images

Walt Disney’s agreement to buy most of 21st Century Fox’s business for $52.4bn (£39bn) has raised further questions about the Sky News channel’s future.

Before news of the deal, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox had been trying to buy the 61% of satellite broadcaster Sky that it does not yet own.

That attempt attracted the scrutiny of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is investigating it.

But of all the channels that Sky has in its portfolio, including sports and movies, it is the ownership of its news channel that raises the most difficulties.

Last month, Sky sent shivers down the spines of Sky News journalists by threatening to close the channel if it proved to be an obstacle in Mr Murdoch’s takeover bid.

Now it seems that Sky News could fall into Disney’s hands as a result of this latest piece of corporate wheeler-dealing.

After all, Fox’s efforts to take over Sky become less politically sensitive if the Murdoch family’s existing 39% stake in Sky has been sold to Disney, making it more likely that the takeover will go ahead.

Heavy losses

So now the question is: will Disney want to keep pumping money into a loss-making news channel that serves only the relatively small UK market?

Claire Enders, founder of research firm Enders Analysis, points out that we may not know the answer to that for another 18 months, since the Disney-Fox deal will itself have to clear regulatory hurdles and is likely to come under close scrutiny from EU competition authorities.

Image copyright Getty Images

However, she is sceptical about Sky News’s ultimate fate.

She told the BBC: “Inherently, Disney is not a company that engages in political investment. It runs businesses that make profits and that’s one of the reasons why it’s thought of as one of the best companies in the world.

“Sky News loses £40m a year and has absorbed $1bn of investment. It’s very hard to make money out of news in a small market like the UK.”

Media plurality

Former ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis, who is also a former senior executive at regulator Ofcom, is less pessimistic about the channel’s future.

He points out that there are a number of issues to consider, including the possibility that Disney might not wish to go ahead with acquiring the remaining 61% of Sky, even if the CMA approved it.

In fact, the UK’s Takeover Panel says Disney has told it that if Mr Murdoch fails to buy the rest of Sky before the Fox takeover deal goes through, it will not feel obliged to make a full bid for the satellite broadcaster.

Mr Purvis adds that it would be “slightly perverse” if Sky News were closed down over concerns that the various deals would lead to an unreasonable concentration of media power, because its absence “would actually reduce media plurality”.

After all, the outcome would be to leave the BBC News channel unchallenged as the only dedicated UK television news service.

However, he adds: “I’ve never found Disney to be very interested in news. It’s an entertainment company and maybe being in news is more trouble than it’s worth.”

Political kudos

Disney owns the ABC television network in the US, which includes its news service.

But as Mr Purvis says, ABC News is safe because it makes money.

“The way that networks look at their news programmes is that they look at the cost compared with advertising revenues within those programmes,” he says.

“By that measure, ABC News is profitable. Good Morning America is the leading breakfast programme in the US. There’s no way Disney would shut that down.”

Sky News, of course, does not enjoy that kind of status. But Mr Purvis says Disney would have to balance that against other factors, including the “political kudos” that owning Sky News would give it in the UK.

“We don’t know the outcome of that kind of consideration,” he says.

News loses?

In the US, analysts are concerned that Disney’s existing news interests might suffer from the merger, let alone Sky News.

“I would not look to the Disney-Fox merger to bolster the fourth estate,” Ben Gomes-Casseres of the Brandeis International Business School told the Washington Post.

“Whether ABC News will be affected in this way, as a side-effect, is also anyone’s guess, but there is no doubt that ABC as a TV channel will decrease in importance in the Disney group.”

For the moment, Disney is taking a positive attitude towards Sky News.

Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger was asked on Bloomberg TV whether the channel had a future after his company completed the Fox deal.

He replied: “Absolutely. All of Sky has a future.”

Cynics might reply that at this stage in the proceedings, he could hardly say he was going to close the channel. But if he does so once the deal has gone through, he may find that his assurance will come back to haunt him.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42370822