Has Johnny Depp Lost His Mind?

Is Johnny Depp mad? Why on earth did he start legal action that could end in the destruction of his professional life? Unless the appeal his legal team promises succeeds, this may be the last we see of Depp. He’ll be an abusive pariah, and Hollywood studios will never offer him another part. Surely, this must have occurred to him when he initiated his high-stakes action against The Sun, up...

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Star Trek vs. the Radical Right: Visions of a Better World

Science fiction has a long history of progressive politics. Probably the best-known example is the Star Trek franchise that started in the 1960s with an Asian helmsman, a navigator from Russia and a black woman as a communications officer and features non-binary and transgender characters in the upcoming third season of “Star Trek: Discovery.” Such politics are not that of the radical right, be they communicated through doctrinaire texts or (science) fiction(s)...

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Racism Is in Bollywood’s DNA

We are all influenced by our experiences. Growing up, a number of women have made remarks that have irked or upset me. One colleague once remarked, “The managers like me more because I am fair and I look like a foreigner.” Another lady gave me life advice that still remains an indelible memory: “You should apply haldi [turmeric] to your skin. If you don’t become fair, who will marry you?”...

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America’s Parallel Realities: Are We All in the Wrong Movie?

In the early 1960s, one of the most popular series on American television was “The Twilight Zone.” This was a time when television, even in the United States, was still in black and white. Most of the show’s episodes were riveting, poignant and, in a number of cases, scary as hell — starting with the haunting tune at the beginning of each episode. “The Twilight Zone” reflected the anxieties and...

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What “Indian Matchmaking” Tells Us About Love

When the show “Indian Matchmaking” dropped on Netflix, my initial reaction was one of revulsion. Matchmaker Sima Taparia and her clients represented everything I loathed about the culture I was born into. Of course, I was not blind to my personal triggers and biases, having grown up in a conservative and patriarchal family environment. Despite my reservations, I clicked on the first episode. The characters depicted in the show were...

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Young Men, Alienation and Violence in the Digital Age

As the world was forced into lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex Lee Moyer’s documentary “TFW No GF” was released online. The film focuses on an internet subculture of predominately young, white men who already experienced much of life from the comfort of their own homes, pandemic notwithstanding. Its title, a reference to the 4chan-originated phrase “that feel when no girlfriend,” reveals the essence of its subjects’...

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Welcome to the Curiosity Economy

In 1954, when television sets were just becoming widespread in American homes, Alfred Hitchcock made “Rear Window.” The film portrays L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries, a magazine photographer played by James Stewart, stuck at home in a wheelchair with a broken leg, whose only entertainment is gazing through his window and observing his neighbors’ private lives in their homes. “First I watched them to kill time,” Stewart tells the viewer, “but...

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