POP CULTURE

Thank you, please don’t come again.

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Images via a24 and The New York Times

Every minority culture has seen itself stereotyped on screen in some way or another. Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s for East Asian people, Family Guy’s Consuela for Latinx people, the list goes on.

For South Asians, it’s just four words:

Thank you, come again

Four words that are tattooed on the consciousness of a generation of South Asian people living in the United States.

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the hyperbolic Indian Kwik-E-Mart clerk on The Simpsons, is in large part the impetus for every head-bobbing, socially inept, out of shape and aloof South Asian person you see in Hollywood.

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Image via truTV

Comedian Hari Kondabolu takes on this notorious character in his documentary The Problem with Apu. As Kondabolu walks back the origin of the character, it becomes clear that Apu is not just a cultural cheap shot, but a case study into stereotype and the sort of diluted minstrelsy that is a prerequisite for minority artists in the entertainment industry. …


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BOOKS

The Science Fiction Classic Still Has A Lot To Teach Us

About twenty miles north of Coos Bay, on the west coast of Oregon is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. It is an astonishing place. 40,000 acres of sweeping sand that waves as far as you can see. Mountains that move if you look away for too long. It’s mesmerizing. Today you can hike, swim, camp, or get on an ATV and ride across the sand. It’s a popular attraction for locals and tourists.

In 1957, however, a young journalist named Frank Herbert traveled to this halting place on assignment, to look into USDA actions in the region. He planned to write an article called ‘They Stopped The Moving Sand’. He did not finish it. Instead, he saw something else in the sand. …


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Image by Issac Wendland via Unsplash

Running

Advice from an Amateur

Around a year ago I started getting into running, and I can unequivocally say it’s changed my life for the better.

There were, however, some serious pitfalls that I fell into when I started running with more regularity. My hope is to share those with you so you may avoid them in your running life.

I also want to get something clear from the jump here: I am not a physician, physical therapist, or a certified trainer. What I am is a running newbie who has some advice for other newbies, and I hope you find them useful.

Low, Slow, and Sustained

This first one is a big one so before I get to the prescriptive part of this, please allow me a short…


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John Oliver image via The New York Times and Hasan Minhaj image via Vulture

LATE NIGHT

The modern audience wants more than just a set-up/punch

It seems that increasingly the job of speaking truth to power in American society has been shifting away from the newsman and into the hands of the comedian. Comedy is a powerful vehicle for criticism. It allows the critique to be sharp and direct, but ensures emotional comfort of a laugh at the end of it. This principle is clearly illustrated by the prevalence of late-night television in America.

Long after Jon Stewart reinvented the genre of televised political satire, late-night television continues to be a powerful vehicle for American social and political commentary. All three of the major broadcast networks have their own late night programs: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!


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Zadie Smith by Dominique Nabokov via The New York Times

Non Fiction

Not an expert? Perfect.

“The declaration of ignorance is not a humble brag, I literally don’t know anything about most things… There are huge lacunas of absolute ignorance in every area of my life”

Freedom of ignorance characterizes Zadie Smith’s collection of essays, Feel Free. Her subjects range from politics to pop culture, Brexit to Bieber, Jay Z to Jeremy Corbyn, and display Smith’s ambivalence towards intellectual authority. No cultural stone is unturned.

Smith takes an inquisitive approach to her subjects and a personal approach to her audience — addressing them not from a podium, but from across the table. She walks with them, observing culture, always willing to second guess herself. Discursive not didactic. She pulls her evidence mostly from personal experience and opinion rather than from hard facts and logic. …


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LATE NIGHT

The prescient critic was on to a lot more than government surveillance

Since the 2016 election, American late night television has undergone a renaissance. If you’re anything like me and instead of watching the nightly news you prefer to get your recap of the day weeknights at 11:30 (or, as is increasingly the case, the next morning on YouTube), you’ve noticed this. Instead of the usual smorgasbord of news, politics, and pop culture, it feels like you’re tuning into another episode of What Did Donald Trump Do Tonight? with What’s-His-Name Mc-White-Guy. It’s like comedic Groundhog Day. Why?

Some of it makes sense. As today’s political language changes, so does our political comedy. Moreover, as the public becomes increasingly engrossed in our politics, our programming has changed to reflect that. The two have seemingly grown together. I would like to take this a step further, however, and look at current late night political humor from a rhetorical perspective. …

About

Deets Sharma

Frankly just happy to be here

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