Sarah Ball

Pop Culture's Worst Racial Stereotypes

Charlie Chan might be getting a new lease on life as a popular character, but some storied depictions of minorities in pop culture haven't aged as well. Here are five of the most dated and stereotyped characters in movies, cartoons, and literature.

Tactical Engagement: Bristol Palin, Levi Johnston Make an Art of Tabloid War

Like Thucydides, diligently recording the ups and downs of Athenian and Spartan conflict, modern scribes have worked their pens into a frenzy over the War of 2010: Bristol Palin vs. Levi Johnston. But within that bitter battle—now an all-out redneck fracas—is another conflict: the sparring between rivals Us Weekly and People.

Salinger Like You've Never Seen Him

In April of 1968, the stamped date of the never-before-seen photograph held by documentary filmmaker Shane Salerno, J. D. Salinger would have been 49 years old. He was recently divorced, and three years into the seclusion that would span the last 45 years of his life. Salerno won't yet reveal any details about the mysterious picture.

The Sugar High of Cake-Themed TV

From 'Cake Boss' to 'Ace of Cakes' to the new D.C. 'Cupcakes', airing Friday on TLC, our television cravings are running from cake, to cake, to more cake. Should we stick a fork in this trend—or embrace this spate of comfort-food TV?

Who Won the LeBron James Jingle Sweepstakes?

LeBron James's hourlong ESPN prime-time special tomorrow night beckons his new city of choice—most likely Cleveland. But more poignantly, it means the end of all the cheesy LeBron-themed jingles.

Is 'Twilight' Looking to 'Eclipse' the Ladies?

"Twilight" is leaving you in the lurch, ladies—at least, that's what new research is claiming. Ahead of the release of "Eclipse," a new study suggests the third film is suppressing the book's romantic fervor in favor of action-packed battle scenes and, in the process, devaluing its female fans. Why? As the study puts it, because Hollywood "doesn't confer cultural legitimacy on texts until they are embraced by men, not just women."

It's Casual Friday, Every Day

Increasingly lax office culture means we have not two wardrobes—work and play—but one. These days, are there any fashions not allowed at work?

Movies: Italy Porn (for Ladies Only)

Used to be, summers were for travel. Now they're for travel movies—ones that assiduously indulge us right here, in the air conditioning, in a reclinable velour chair, with a 64-ounce beverage. And this summer, we're going to Italy.

'SATC2,' 'Prince of Persia' Bomb at the Box Office

This past weekend was the most sluggish Memorial Day at the movies since 1995—a bad omen for summer business. The 'Sex and the City' sequel—ye of $153 million in 2008—wilted under the critics' heat lamp. So did Disney's 'Prince of Persia,' starring Jake Gyllenhaal and his pectorals. What gives?

Obama's Financial-Reform Speech to Be Lean, Mean

Obama's coming north, and he's carrying a big stick: the president is expected to deliver a stern reprimand to the banking sector in his speech in New York Thursday, in the process excoriating some of his biggest financial backers, The Washington Post reports.

Weekend Update: Goldman Sachs Hid Troubles From Investors

Not exactly ideal image rehab: The Times of London reported Monday that Goldman Sachs is doling out $5.3 billion in bonuses, amounting to roughly $167,783 per banker, with "with a handful of top traders expected to be in line for multi-million-[dollar] bonuses." That's the cherry on top of a stunning, four-day meltdown at the white-shoe firm, which lost $12 billion in market value on Friday alone.

Put NASA on a Diet?! Them's Fightin' Words, Mr. President.

A new space race! After President Obama announced aggressive cuts to NASA—leaving Ares rockets, the Orion crew capsule and (most prominently) the Altair lunar lander of the mooncentric Constellation program on the cutting-room floor—the backlash from critics and prominent "space boosters" caused him to rethink the plan, senior administration officials said Tuesday night.

A Ticket to the Circus

The high times of Norman Mailer, as seen from the perspective of Norris Church Mailer, his much younger, good-humored sixth wife. She takes you ringside for 33 tumultuous years with one of 20th-century literature's biggest icons.

To Nancy Drew on Her 80th Birthday: You're a Nintendo Game?!

Nancy friggin' Drew—happy birthday, baby! Our favorite slim sleuth of River Heights turns 80 this year, not that she looks her age. Botox, Pilates, intravenous chardonnay therapy—to whatever she's doing to look so fab, we say cheers.

Tweeple Trail: Tiger Woods Had Better Win the Masters, Or Else

Last week, Tiger's sexts were the talk of Twitter—from the golfer's predictably nasty ones to our favorite, "No turkey unless it's a club sandwich."  But now, with Woods confirmed to appear at Augusta in fewer than two weeks, Tweeps are forecasting what his sordid text-trail will mean on the course.

Wait, What? Obama Still Smokes?!

The First Physical came and went Sunday, handing down a clean bill of health for President Obama—but we've been loving the feverish reaction to doc Jeff Kuhlman's note about "smoking cessation efforts." The New York Daily News wonders how much the president is still smoking, while CBS calls him "Smoker In Chief"; The Christian Science Monitor helpfully suggests to the president that instead of Nicorette he try "not inserting a cigarette into [his] mouth." Politico went with reporterly...

Book Review: Jane Austen's Zombie Mashups

Textually speaking, it's tolerable menfolk Lizzy finds in short supply—not loyal girlfriends. Elizabeth Bennet, the pride of Pride and Prejudice, is steeped in enough estrogen to last a lifetime of Yoplait ads.

J.D. Salinger's Influence

Salinger himself, as well as his most famous character, has influenced pop culture, crime—even modern linguistics.

Donald Margulies on His New Play

... disaster looks back at us. Donald Margulies talks about his new play on how war correspondents are affected by the conflicts they cover.