Jon Stewart’s accidental legacy of snideness

Don’t get me wrong: I love Jon Stewart, and I’ll miss him. He’s witty, he hires great writers, his eye roll delivery is consistently pitch-perfect. For years, he’s been the nation’s best media critic. His brief monologue after the Charlie Hebdo slayings, about remembering who the true enemy is, was breathtaking.

But sometimes I worry that, without meaning to, he helped to spawn a couple of depressing trends in modern civic life. The first is the blurring of the lines between sarcasm and news. The second is the inevitable creep from sarcasm to snideness.

Read the full column from the Boston Globe here.

In ‘Fifty Shades,’ it’s not the sex, it’s the stuff

There are several kinds of porn in “Fifty Shades of Grey”: house porn, clothes porn, closet porn, helicopter porn, all of them more interesting than the sex scenes that have caused so much breathless anticipation. Those come across as stiffly academic, a cataloguing of body parts and equipment. The passion is largely missing.

The real appeal is the stuff. Imagine Christian Grey as a brooding freegan, who stalks our heroine in a beat-up Hyundai, lures her to his tiny house, then pulls a stash of whips and chains from a compartment under the bed-slash-sofa-slash-kitchen-table — and the whole thing falls apart.

Read the full column from the Boston Globe here.