The #CancelColbert Controversy: Should Racial Insensitivity Be a Fireable Offense?

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Twitter is one of those places where there is always outrage, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which part of the outrage war really has legs.

Last week, Stephen Colbert found himself in the middle of crossfire for a tweet from the Colbert Report deemed offensive to Asians.

Quickly, a #CancelColbert hashtag gained momentum in protest. Colbert has since acknowledged the tweet (which came from the show’s account, not his) in the same brand of schtick and satire, satisfying few:

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Are Children’s Books Sexist?

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Here are some of the things you can learn in The Daring Book for Girls and its sequels:

• How to make a geyser out of Diet Coke and Mentos.

• How to do science projects.

• How to build a zipline.

• How to build a campfire.

• How to surf, make a raft, and play football.

Sure, there’s also stuff about double dutch, cat’s cradle, and the like (and perhaps the cover of the book a bit too sparkly for the taste of some) but the point is this: The Daring Book for Girls and its sequels are about expanding horizons — not about limiting girls to self-consciously girly things.

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Is “Hon” the New “Ma’am”?

“How many do you have, hon?” the sales associate at the Express in Liberty Place asked me last week. The week before that, a young woman on the 13th Street El platform asked, “Hon, can you break a ten?” Before that, it was a former student who thanked me for my feedback on her work and then said, “See you tomorrow, hon!”

For the last year, I’ve been getting “hon”-ed down all over Philadelphia — and not from the usual suspects, but from women who are definitely younger than me. And quite honestly, I’m baffled.

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David Brenner, Philly Comedian and Carson Protegé, Dead at 78

David Brenner told the first mildly naughty joke that I can remember. This was the very early ’80s, I was very young but being allowed to stay up late, and he was doing one of his kabillion appearances subbing for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

“Italians, they make food with their entire bodies,” he said, musingly. “They stomp around on grapes to make wine. They use their hands to really knead dough and toss pizza crusts. (A beat passes.) That’s why I never eat Italian donuts.”

Brenner was old enough to have some Borscht belt in his blood, young enough to spice up his act with some implied blueness, and big enough to become Carson’s alternate. The Philly comedian died over the weekend at the age of 78.

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Director John G. Avildsen Told Stallone to Lose Weight Before Filming Rocky

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The success of Rocky isn’t just due to Sylvester Stallone.

Sure, he wrote the scripts and starred in the films — and the character’s enduring popularity was due to the sequels, most of which he directed. But the first film was helmed by John G. Avildsen, who won the Oscar for Best Director for his efforts. It was Avildsen’s skillful direction — and his selection of Bill Conti for the score — that set the tone for the character.

“We thought it was going to be the bottom half of a double bill in a drive-in in Arkansas,” Avildsen said earlier this week, in town for a screening of Rocky at the art museum. “We had no expectations for it.” All six Rocky Balboa movies have been released in a Blu-ray set for MGM’s 90th Anniversary. The original movie has been restored. “I see stuff I never saw in the original movie,” Avildsen said. “Snowflakes, and breath.” The set also includes 8mm “home movies” of Rocky that Avildsen shot while making the film.

I chatted with him while he was in town about the movie and its legacy.

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The Word “Hipster” Is So Over

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Photo | Jeff Fusco

A few years ago, I told someone I lived on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. Their response was to grill me on the status of then newly opened Barcade.

“I mean, what kind of bar is it?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “A bar with arcade games.”

“Yeah, but like… who goes there?”

“People.”

“But what kind of people?”

“I don’t know. People who like arcade games?”

“Yeah, but like… hipsters?”

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