Bill Cosby Is Free: Is It Perversion of Justice or Divine Providence?

On May 9, 1985, John J. O'Connor wrote a story for The New York Times under the headline, “Bill Cosby’s Triumph.” It was the kind of accolade the comedian had become used to: “You look at ‘The Cosby Show’ and you feel, most of the time, just plain good. Television life on Thursdays at 8 P.M. on NBC suddenly displays signs of intelligence, insight and a clever sense of humor,”...

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The Cultural Power of Anitta in Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Anitta is turning her back on Brazil — and for a good reason. One of the most successful Brazilian singers of the 21st century, she alone gathered over 370,000 people in just one carnival block in Rio early last year. But now she wants millions more, and from all over the world. In late April, Anitta released her most expensive video for her new song, “Girl From Rio.” She had...

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The Afterlife of Michael Jackson

Dear Michael Jackson, This is the first letter I’ve written to a dead person, though you’re still alive in a sense, aren’t you? There were always two Michael Jacksons: one, the flesh-and-blood mortal who succumbed 12 years ago; the other, a product of countless people’s imaginations, a creation freed of the constraints of time and space who will live forever. I’m writing to let you know that, since the death...

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Bollywood’s Soft Power Is Not Enough for the Oscars

In 2019, India produced over 1,800 movies, making it the world’s largest film industry in terms of numbers; this dwarfs the 792 produced in both the US and Canada combined. Bollywood, as Mumbai’s movie industry is known, distributes its films around the world and is particularly popular in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the US and Europe. Why Fame Can Be a Nightmare READ MORE For India, Bollywood is...

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Why Fame Can Be a Nightmare

Self-annihilation is a constituent part of many celebrity careers. While some actors or singers slide smoothly from one success to another, hardly pausing for the occasional misadventure, others are ruined, occasionally by others but much more usually by their own devices. Frankie Lymon’s Tragedy The archetype is not in today’s celebrity culture, nor anywhere near it actually. Frankie Lymon was an astounding talent from Harlem who, in 1956, surged into...

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The Legacy of Elizabeth Taylor

“The Elizabeth Taylor who’s famous, the one on film, really has no depth or meaning to me,” the Hollywood icon told Life magazine’s Richard Meryman in 1964. “She’s a totally superficial working thing, a commodity. I really don’t know what the ingredients of the image are exactly — just that it makes money.” At the time, Taylor was married to actor Richard Burton. Their romance was already a succès de...

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What Meghan Markle Failed to Understand About the British Monarchy

“We are very much not a racist family,” shouted back Prince William at the reporter. The journalist had asked the wrong question. The right question would have been, “Is your family class conscious?” The reply to that would have been silence. When Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, told Oprah Winfrey during a candid interview earlier this month that racism was the defining factor of her...

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