Home Sweet Northeast for the Holiday

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My trip home for Thanksgiving is barely a trip. Many people have a longer commute to work, and plenty would travel farther for pizza. But because I’m from the Northeast — where moving to another parish or, God forbid, a different Wawa precinct, is taboo — a 35-minute drive counts as something of a homecoming.

And — I-95 construction be damned — it feels good to go home.

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An Open Letter to Whoopi Goldberg

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Dear Whoopi,

On Monday, you expressed confusion on The View about Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman‘s actions after her alleged rape at age 17: “Perhaps the police might have believed it. Or the hospital. Don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you?”

You weren’t strident, you weren’t defensive, you seemed — oddly enough — sincere. “I’m going to reserve my judgment because I have a lot of questions,” you said. I believe that you’re genuinely confused.

It’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that a person can do both horrible things and worthwhile things and occupy the same body. I remember writing a college admission essay about the fact that Charles Dickens, my favorite author, was a terrible husband. Could I separate art from artist? Should I?

Obviously, this is harder. The investment in believing Bill Cosby to be the genial standup comedian, philanthropist, father figure … it’s profound. For that man to also potentially be a sexual predator? All of us slide in and out of selfishness and generosity, kindness and crank. But this is another level. It’s Roman Polanski. Or Oscar Pistorius. Or Lance Armstrong. We are large, wrote Whitman. We contain multitudes. Not all of the multitudes are pretty.

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Why Hunt for Deer When They’re Lying All Over the Road?

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Sunday, on our way home from a trip to upstate New York, my husband and I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts. When we came back out with our coffee, there was a car parked a few spaces down from ours. It had one of those little flatbed trailers attached to the back. And lying on the trailer were two dead deer, gutted and trussed for travel. They were having their picture taken by a passing mom and her 14-year-old son, who were carefully framing the shots on their cellphones.

I’m not sure why they bothered. It’s not like there’s a dearth of dead deer around these parts. On our trip to New York and back, I must have seen several hundred dead deer — lying beside the road, lying on the road, lying a hundred yards back from the road, with their little deer limbs twisted and contorted in a gymnast’s baedeker of positioning. There were deer on their backs, on their sides, on their bellies. There were deer who seemed to be sitting up, human-like, by the roadside, watching the passing cars patiently, unblinkingly.

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South Jersey Radio Station Easy 93.1 Has Been Playing Christmas Music for a Month

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It’s a tiny 4,000-watt station based in Wildwood Crest. But if you’ve happened to catch WEZW 93.1 recently, you probably remember it: Since October 17th, it has been playing Christmas music.

Easy 93.1 was the first radio station in the country to flip to Christmas music this year, the second time it’s been the first country in the USA to go all-Christmas. It was also first in 2011.

Gary Fisher, the owner of station parent company Equity Communications, explains that one of his stations shifted to Christmas music earlier and earlier each year, and it got a good response from listeners each time. They eventually settled on the third Friday in October as the time to make the switch.

“That creates the right combination of controversy, head-scratching and, ultimately, lots of affinity and partisanship,” Fisher says. “And a great deal of affinity to the music.”

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Oh, Won’t Somebody Think of the Rapists?

Robert R. Jennings. Photo | Lincoln University

Robert R. Jennings. Photo | Lincoln University

Last week I wrote about street harassment and why women worry, with particular attention to the threat of the unknown and unfamiliar: the strange men that encroach upon a woman’s personal space in public, the terrifying possibilities that wait in dark patches of sidewalk and around the bend of a street corner. But there is something more pervasive that also causes concern: rape culture.

“We have, we had, on this campus last semester three cases of young women who after having done whatever they did with young men,” said Lincoln University president Robert R. Jennings in remarks to an all-women’s convocation in September. “And then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.'”

If you weren’t sure what rape culture was before, you should be now: Jennings’ attitude embodies it perfectly. Read more »

Philly Man Building Actual Batman Batsuit

Photo edited with http://www.tuxpi.com

Some people launch Kickstarter fundraising campaigns to make bison wool socks. Others want to make a documentary about Phish fans (ugh). But Philadelphia University industrial design Jackson Gordon has a much more fun goal in mind: He wants to build a Batman batsuit.

Gordon launched his campaign called Batman: Real Combat Armor on Monday and has raised $450 so far.

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Now That Amy Schumer Can Say Pussy on Comedy Central …

shutterstock_84519679-AMY-SCHUMER-400There’s no elegant way to say this, so I’m going to let Jessi Klein do the honors.

We can say pussy now!” the head writer and executive producer of Inside Amy Schumer announced over the weekend during a panel discussion for the New York Comedy Festival. “Can we talk about that? It was a great moment in U.S. history.”

Obviously, she was being funny here, but the crowd certainly approved. And while it won’t go down in any history books, the show’s fight to say the word “pussy” on Comedy Central did get quite the round of Internet applause and a firm endorsement from Lady Twitter.

As you probably know if you’ve spent more than a half hour watching Comedy Central, they drop the word “dick” pretty liberally for comedic effect. And this didn’t seem right to Schumer and her team, who — in addition to being advocates for equality and free speech and other noble notions — didn’t want to interrupt a sketch about meerkat pussies with a clunky “bleep.”

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Rosenbach Museum Sues Maurice Sendak Estate

A canceled stamp featuring one of the monsters from Where the While Things Are.

A canceled stamp featuring one of the monsters from Where the While Things Are. | Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library is suing Maurice Sendak’s estate, saying the late author intended to bequeath his book collection to the museum, and for his work to continue to be displayed there.
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Feminism Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Confused.

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For as much as I enjoy dropping the F-word proper (and I do — no one has ever accused me of being a lady), I have to admit that the other F-word — feminism — has been giving me trouble.

In an article titled “Is Feminism Dead?” for Philadelphia magazine’s Conversation Issue, Sandy Hingston recently sat down with two Philadelphia millennials to gauge how they felt about the word.

The answer, of course, is no – feminism is not dead. Beyonce does not stand in front of banners bearing dead words, or even sickly words. But is feminism confused? Judging from Hingston’s enlightening conversation — as well as pretty much every smart, reasoned discussion on the topic that invites a diverse group of women — feminism is having something of an identity crisis in 2014.

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On Lena Dunham Sexual Abuse Controversy, Truth Revolt Has a Point

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A discussion about Lena Dunham has a way of sending everyone to their respective, petty corners.

Feminists over here. Those who are offended by imperfect nakedness, over there with Mr. Stern. Jealous writers who didn’t get a sweet advance on the book they haven’t written, right this way please (it’s getting crowded over here — watch the elbows). Casual fans who just want to relax and watch Girls? You’re a little well-adjusted for this group, but sure, there’s one corner left.

In fact, “discussion” is a generous word. Peruse the comments section of any article about the writer, director and Girls creator, and you’re in for a nasty blend of misogyny and body shaming that, frankly, we don’t hurl at Seth Rogen every time he bares his flabby ass in an unnecessary movie about rich white kids.

And so when the (extremely) right-leaning website Truth Revolt published an article last week accusing Dunham of sexual abuse, I have to admit I was all but programmed at this point to take her side. But the thing is, they make a pretty good case — after you get through the pop-up ads reading “How Leftism Violates All 10 Commandments.” Read more »

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