The Conversation

Culture: Cultural happenings and discussions.

What Jessica Valenti Gets Wrong About the Jennifer Lawrence Hacking

Sep 1, 2014 3:06 PM PT

Feminist writer Jessica Valenti offers to explain why seeking out hacked celebrity photos is wrong but manages to completely botch the explanation.

In a piece titled "What's wrong with checking out leaked nude photos of celebrities" Valenti argues that those who look at stolen photos are, in effect, continuing the violation of privacy. That's a reasonable argument in so much as the photos were not released by the celebrities but stolen from their private cloud networks. Apart from this act of theft, none of the photos would be available.

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2014 Emmys Cause for Optimism for Conservatives... No, Really

Aug 26, 2014 5:48 PM PT

During last night's Emmys there were several jokes about the fact that while the award show took place on network TV, most of the nominations were for cable and Netflix shows.  Also, this year marked a record number of nominations for Netflix.  Mediocre host Seth Meyers joked that now the cable channels were getting a taste of their own medicine after several years of getting more nominations than network shows.  

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Charity, dependency, and entitlement

Aug 25, 2014 8:44 AM PT

I've always been fascinated by the differences between charity and government-provided welfare entitlements.  There are many practical differences, of course, including the eternal left-wing contention that voluntary charity can never adequately provide for the needs of the destitute, so an immense system of compulsory welfare is required.  There are important conceptual differences, too, and the big ones are contained within two words from the previous two sentences: "compulsory" and "entitlement."

The welfare state has absolutely exploded over the past few years, capping off decades of spirited growth.  To describe programs such as SNAP (i.e. food stamps) as part of a "social safety net" is laughable.  As Daniel Payne notes at The Federalist today, 20 percent of American households are now enrolled in SNAP.  That's not a safety net - it's the foundation of an entirely separate society.  And the upper edges of Food Stamp Nation now extend well into the formerly independent Middle Class.  The end game for American socialism was never a society in which pure Takers dominate indentured Makers, endlessly voting themselves the largess of the federal treasury, because they've got a 51 percent or better majority.  Instead, it's about creating a hybrid class of Takers who are also Makers - people who see themselves as highly productive taxpaying members of society, but who are dependent on government wealth transfer programs to make ends meet.

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Eric Holder Making Ferguson About Race

Aug 21, 2014 9:27 AM PT

“I understand the mistrust… I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”-AG Eric Holder

 Seems like Holder has joined the ranks of Sharpton and Jackson, in trying to make the unfortunate shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, solely about race.

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Former SNL Actor: Show 'Killed Sarah Palin'

Aug 20, 2014 7:20 AM PT

In the newly updated book, Live From New York, former SNL Horatio Sanz boasts about the show's political influence.  In an interview for the book, he said:

I always kind of felt bad when Will Ferrell did his Bush impression because he was such a good old boy that you really didn't think, "Oh, this evil little rich prick whose dad and his friends got him in office." You thought, "Oh, he's just a good old guy I'd like to drink beer with." As funny as Will's impression was, the audience as a whole, the whole country, would probably see that as, "Oh, I like Bush. Because he's Will." You know, if Will hadn't done that impression, or at least made him likable, it may have tipped it the other way. I honestly think so. We made up for it. I think Tina's impression basically killed Sarah Palin.

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Cupid, Overstuffed Ice Cream Cones, and the Man Beside You

Aug 18, 2014 2:32 PM PT

Yesterday I met up with an old boyfriend and his soon-to-be wife. The weird part? I introduced them. In fact, after the first few months that he and I dated, I knew that we were the wrong match. Soon after, I also knew that he and a girl I was working with at the time would be the perfect fit. Call me Cupid, or call me crazy, but I had to get them together.

Rick and I--yes, let's call him Rick--met at an art gallery when I was 27. I had gone to see an exhibit in Soho, some wine and cheese event hosted by a painter friend of mine. My friend Jamie was enamored with his suit from the moment we saw him. She had a boyfriend, though, and decided to make it her job to get us paired up by the end of the night. "Are those cufflinks?" I kept saying over and over. I remember hoping he'd toss them off and roll up his sleeves a little.

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NJ Man Takes Down ISIS Flag - Claims He Had No Idea It Was Jihadi Flag

Aug 14, 2014 11:00 PM PT

A  black flag hanging above the porch of a New Jersey man's home, caused consternation and concern among people in his neighborhood and beyond, earlier this week.

The flag, emblazoned with the words, "there is no God but Allah" is associated with violent Jihadist groups like al Qaeda, al ‘Shabaab, and  ISIS - the barbaric death cult that is currently making a name for itself in Syria and Iraq.

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