Matt Philbin

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Managing Editor for MRC Culture


Latest from Matt Philbin

If you’re in San Francisco April 25, hopscotch your way over and around the homeless people, discarded needles and human feces to Grace Cathedral for true spiritual nourishment -- the transubstantiation of bread into Pop Tart.



How About a Good Therapist Instead? I am second to none in my appreciation of animals. (Well, I’m happily second to this guy.) Dogs, cats, debauched sloths -- I love ‘em. On the other hand, we’ve taken the sentimentalization of pets about as far as we should. If your Twitter bio includes “dog dad” or “cat mom,” you should probably try Bingo. I know, I know -- we’re all supposed to admire and be inclusive toward -- what’s the phrase? -- “Nontraditional families,” but bereavement leave for Fido?



Chloë Sevigny is an actress. Actor, I should say, since she seems to be exquisitely “woke.” (On the chance that Sevigny is super-duper woke, I’ll apologize now for having the presumption to use feminine pronouns.) Anyway, Sevigny -- an astute observer of relative melanin levels among various populations -- has determined that there are “too many white people” in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Or maybe in the world.

 



The recently crowned Best Picture is about a woman getting freaky with a fish-man hybrid thing. And the fantasy seems to have created a stir among a certain segment of the alt-left.

Since the markets abhor a vacuum, Shape of Water-inspired dildos are earning rave reviews at places like Slate. But the Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg has no time for mere baubles of unfulfilled aquatic fantasy. She found a fish fornication expert to review The Shape of Water.



ESPN isn’t just dying the death of a thousand chord cuts. Ratings for the Oscars aren’t down simply because the Academy keeps nominating movies nobody has seen. And it wasn’t just a disappointing U.S. medal haul or NBC’s amateurish broadcast that drove Winter Olympics viewership down 24% compared to Sochi among viewers aged 18-49.



Great literature, as everyone knows, is made by committee. Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, The Tempest -- all were shaped early in the editing process by contact with hordes of perpetually outraged tweeters. The Inferno initially included an extra circle of Hell for people who chew with their mouths open. Readers of advanced copies were troubled by Dante’s privileging of Eurocentric table manners. Louisa May Alcott originally titled her masterpiece Big Women, until a Facebook coalition of gender non-binary advocates and body-image activists called her out for hetero-normative fat-shaming. Alcott then proposed Little Persons, but pushback from the Lollipop Guild led to the eventual compromise of Little Women.



Vice’s music site Noisey is reassuring readers, “You Don’t Have to Worship 2pac.” It seems that “Recent criticism of the rap icon from Lil Xan and 03 Greedo forces us to ask whether or not our heroes are beyond reproach.” Heroes assuredly are not beyond reproach. Neither is Noisey’s definition of “hero.”



Well that was predictable. National Geographic has an issue dedicated to self-flagellation for its racist past. That weak sauce virtue-signaling may be fine for general consumption, but good luck impressing a social Justice warrior like Slate’s Rachelle Hampton.



The Obama administration is blessedly just a memory, but the entertainment industry is banking that progressives will want to revisit those golden years, one TV episode at a time. First it was CBS, “ordering a pilot for Main Justice, a show based on the life of former attorney general Eric Holder.” Alas, it’s not a prison drama. Heck, it won’t even be grounded in reality, since “Holder is also serving as executive producer.”



I put on women’s clothing, and hang around in bars …-- The Lumberjack Song by Monty Python

If only it were still that easy! Drag queen RuPaul has a show called Drag Race, in which drag queens compete doing drag queen things; the winner, assumedly, being the drag queeniest. But what if the winner has a little extra help? As Caroline Framke explains in Vox, RuPaul’s answer left him facing some very cross crossdressers.



And now, from the same people who see a need for 60 different gender options on Facebook, a complaint about gun defenders splitting hairs over word choice.



UVA’s Darden School of Business is at the forefront of popularizing a new, cutting edge business model: antagonize your best customers. Turning the laws of commerce on their head, Darden professor Morela Hernandez and MLB candidate Joseph (Sonny) Siragusa, are arguing that, long-term, flipping off America is a growth industry.



It’s hard -- nay, impossible -- to have anything but contempt for The Washington Post. Whether it’s the dishonest arrogance of the “news analysis,” the one-sided reporting, or the high school journalism club motto, Jeff Bezos’s plaything isn’t good for much but getting your kindling going.



Twitter is shocked -- shocked! -- that people use it to be mean to each other. CEO Jack Dorsey took to his platform March 1 with a series of tweets that were part mea culpa and part plea for help. Dorsey wants suggestions to solve Twitter’s anger problem. Question is, what does that mean for conservative tweeters, who’ve had their wings clipped disproportionately when Twitter has tried policing itself before.



Finally, the socialists at The Guardian have something positive to say about conservatives. It turns out we’re way more fastidious about personal hygiene than our liberal counterparts. To be sure, it’s a low bar, as anybody who ever walked by an Occupy encampment or a Phish concert can tell you. Still, if we must dwell on the things that divide us, it may as well be conservatives’ aversion to smelling like the floor mats of a NYC cab.



The left sure isn’t letting the Parkland shooting crisis go to waste. They’ve pulled out all the stops: shell-shocked kids libeling politicians and gun owners, flailing commercial boycotts, and playing good cop-bad cop with the Second Amendment. (“I don’t know how long I can restrain him. Just give me expanded background checks and age restrictions, and I might be able to calm him down.”)



Jennifer Lawrence never wanted to save the world. Not the real world, anyway. She didn’t think actresses should talk politics. But then “Donald Trump got sworn into office,” and “that f*cking changed.”



It’s always a treat when liberals condescend to try to understand the rest of us. They get out their IQ tests and personality surveys, crunch some numbers and use science! to explain our inherent inferiority. The latest exercise, by lefty psychology prof John Ehrenreich, is particularly enlightening.



When atrocities like the Parkland shooting happen, calling evil “evil” offends Rolling Stone’s Jesse Berney. “Evil,” he wrote after the Las Vegas shooting (Rolling Stone recycled the piece for the latest horror), is a “fantasy” the human mind turns to because “It’s comforting to ascribe an external, unknowable motive to events so terrible we can't imagine a motivation.” And anyway, “What if evil doesn’t exist in this world?”



Sex tourists: Are you through with Thailand, over Amsterdam, full up on the Philippines? Why not get your nordic folklore freak on? Try Iceland for the Elvish trade!