Archive

Richard Beck

3 December 2012

Homeland, now in its second season on premium cable, suggests that liberals may have been fooling themselves. What they really wanted was not to eradicate Republican paranoia, but to overcome what made Republican paranoia so potent: the widespread impression that Democrats were too weak and too plagued by self-loathing to defend us from our enemies. More…

19 January 2012

Ryan Schreiber launched Pitchfork in November 1995 from his parents’ house in a suburb of Minneapolis. Because the domain name www.pitchfork.com belonged to a company selling livestock out of Butte Falls, Oregon, Schreiber had to settle for www.pitchforkmedia.com. The name, he told BusinessWeek in 2008, was meant to suggest “an angry mob mentality” toward the music industry. More…

Ellen Willis wrote a lot about music, but she wrote a lot more about failure. Although she is mostly remembered as a music critic, she was also a radical feminist, and radical feminism’s greatest intellectual historian. If we are going to understand what happened to women’s liberation—what pushed it underground, unraveled many of its achievements, and nearly erased it from cultural memory—Willis’s work is indispensable. More…

2 May 2011

Late last night, the President announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. I saw people speculate about what his announcement would be on Twitter, and then I saw a headline about the announcement on a newspaper website, and then I turned on the TV, where Geraldo Rivera broke the news that Bin Laden had been killed. “Oh, happy day!” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to report this story.” More…

9 September 2010

The most controversial rap song in history, unfortunately, is not actually a rap song. “Cop Killer” was released in March 1992, one year after Rodney King’s beating and one month before the riots that followed his attackers’ acquittal. It included the lyric—sung, not spoken—“Cop killer / Fuck police brutality!” and was condemned by Tipper Gore in a Washington Post op-ed called “Hate, rape, and rap.” And still, it isn’t rap. More…

20 May 2010

The cultural prestige of serial dramas has appreciated to such an extent that Oates’s TV Guide story is now out of date. It is no longer a smart social move to brag about not owning a television. These days we apologize for not keeping up. What’s helped serial dramas get to this point, however, has been the willingness of their producers to denigrate the medium as though they were not a part of it. More…

29 June 2009

On February 21, 2001, Eminem and Elton John performed “Stan” at the Grammy Awards. The performance came after nine months of controversy concerning the homophobic lyrics on Eminem’s second album and before the show gay activist groups had protested outside the Staples Center. “Believe it or not, it was my idea to perform with Elton,” writes Eminem. More…