Archive | July, 2011

Introducing “Milkshake”

27 Jul

“Milkshake,” a satiric novel about dueling moms, sexy pols, and the breastfeeding wars, is available on Kindle and Nook.

Join the conversation about books, boobs, and the absurdities of motherhood at www.facebook.com/MilkshakeMoms.

(Cover art and design by the amazing Wendy Wahman.)

Stoking the panic on obesity

25 Jul

DR. DAVID Ludwig knew he was peddling a provocative idea: that children who are so obese that their lives are in danger

He just thought the debate would take on a reasonable tone.

What he’d co-written, after all, was a short, sober piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association, aimed at doctors and riddled with caveats.

“I expected a spirited scholarly debate,’’ Ludwig told me last week in his Longwood office, where he directs the Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital. “I did not expect this to be the commentary heard ’round the world.’’

Ah, but this is the modern media world, desperate for clicks and powered by rants. And Ludwig’s mildly worded piece hit a bundle of public nerves. Fear of government intervention. Stress about parenting skills. Concern that fat people are stigmatized, that pressure on parents has grown too great.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

The rise and fall of Rapunzel

21 Jul

Now, the conversion of Rebekah Brooks is complete, from tabloid operator to tabloid target. The rise-and-fall stories of Rupert Murdoch’s star employee are all the more breathless because she’s photogenic and melodramatic, “the sharp-eyed girl with tumbling, Rapunzel red hair,’’ in the heaving prose of the Daily Mail.

Competitors are sneering at how much her rise depended on her schmoozing skills, her cozy friendships with people she covered, a relationship with her boss that was so tight – according to the Mail – that his wife wouldn’t show up at parties she attended. It’s all very convenient, a little too much: She’s punished for being especially good at a game she didn’t create.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

Here’s a story…

18 Jul

IN HONOR of Sherwood Schwartz, the “Brady Bunch’’ creator who died last Tuesday, I spent much of this week bingeing on his most enduring show. I was struck by how many scenes I recalled with perfect clarity: Cindy Brady freezing in front of a TV camera. Peter Brady holding a magnifying glass to his eye. The family singing “Clementine’’ in the station wagon, en route to the Grand Canyon.

“The Brady Bunch’’ feels different from today’s kids’ fare, and that’s partly due to its time-capsule quality, spoofed so lovingly in the 1995 “Brady Bunch Movie.’’ The clothes are vintage ’70s, and in a way, so is the wholesomeness: Today’s TV teens warble pop songs, not old Americana.

But really, it’s not the Bradys’ innocence that sets them apart. It’s the fact that their lives, and their troubles, were usually so mundane.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

Twitter, Snark, and Obama’s Town Hall

12 Jul

A WEEK ago today, President Obama held the first, and possibly the last, “Twitter Town Hall Meeting.’’ Depending on your perspective, it was either a sign that the president is down with the times, or the latest in a line of gimmicks meant to prove that politicians are down with the times. (I remember a presidential debate years ago, co-hosted by MTV, where half of the candidates wore turtlenecks to look hip.)

As viewed on TV, it was a sober and sedate affair, in which the president gave long, spoken-word answers to short, respectful questions.

But everything looked much less sober online: Obama’s much-touted town hall was a playground for party crashers. And in a way, that’s the most heartening news of all.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

Casey Anthony vs. Nancy Grace

9 Jul

THE MOST striking thing about Casey Anthony’s acquittal on Tuesday was watching the crowd outside the courthouse in Orlando, howling at the verdict like a medieval mob that had been hoping to see someone drawn and quartered.

On one hand, it’s shocking to see such venom in people who knew neither Anthony nor the young daughter she’d been accused of killing. On the other hand, this is human nature: Faced with a wrong, we want somebody punished. Especially someone we’ve been conditioned to hate on TV.

And drumming up hatred was the purpose of much of the TV coverage of the trial – coverage that could be highly entertaining in a “Law and Order’’ way, but hardly qualifies as news.

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

 

Mitt and “The Book of Mormon”

5 Jul

MITT ROMNEY has said he plans to see “The Book of Mormon,’’ the hilarious Broadway musical from the creators of “South Park’’ and “Avenue Q.’’ And there’s a moment in the show when you can practically imagine him onstage.

It comes in the second act, when a group of Ugandan converts puts on a pageant for visiting Mormon leaders: a bawdy, profane, and very incorrect retelling of the story of the Mormon faith. (It involves appearances from certain “Star Wars’’ characters, plus a song-and-dance depiction of how dysentery happens.) As the Mormon leaders watch in shock and disbelief, it’s hard not to notice that they all have very Mitt-like hair.

Which makes one wonder what Romney himself would think of the show. In public, he’s been good-humored. In private, would he fume?

Or would he realize that “The Book of Mormon,’’ blasphemy and all, is precisely the kind of public relations tool that Mormon candidates could use?

Read the rest of the column from The Boston Globe here.

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