Monthly Archives: October 2013

The China Blog IMG_4010

Hong Kong, Beyond the Neon Lights

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By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham I doubt anyone goes to Hong Kong specifically to explore the Ping Shan or Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trails. After all, this former British colony (now a Chinese Special Administrative Region, or SAR) offers visitors a plethora of other attractions: world-class dining, exciting nightlife, a spectacular skyline, and high-end shopping, just […]


Dear Television, Masters of Sex, Week 5 Snake

You Won’t Read This Review of “Masters of Sex”: The Problem of Episodic Criticism

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I WANT TO TALK with you about Masters of Sex. I want to talk about Michael Sheen’s acting, Lizzy Caplan’s costuming, and the friction between its serial and series elements. I want to tell you that the weepy, one-dimensional wife got, at least temporarily, less weepy, and that the show, for its initial resistance to […]


Dear Television, Masters of Sex, Week 5 Loofbourow_DTV_Masters_MG_Orig

Sex and the Slightly Unreliable Narrator

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Dear TV, I’D HOPED Masters of Sex would resist following Mad Men down the sepia brick road to the land of overburdened flashbacks, and so far so good; five episodes in, it seems to have a comparatively sane relationship to its past. So far we’ve met Mr. Johnson and the original Mrs. Masters. Mather Zickel’s George Johnson […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 4 outcasts

One Season Wonders: “Outcasts” and “Terra Nova”

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by Jonathan Alexander ONE OF THE PLEASURES of TV these days is the Netflixable delight of watching entire seasons in a weekend. You might have to wait till the series is done to binge properly, but the bingeing is sometimes worth the wait. And the complexity of the long TV narrative is better appreciated, in […]


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Save The World Stage

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By Scott Doyle “Save The World Stage” Campaign Launched Community Rally Set for October 26 Jazz musicians like Branford Marsalis, Max Roach, Roy Hargrove, Elvin Jones, Billy Childs, Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Pharaoh Sanders, Horace Tapscott. And of course, co-founder Billy Higgins, the most recorded jazz drummer in history. Writers like Yusef Komunyakaa, Sonia Sanchez, […]


Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 Hitch

Ambivalent about Horror

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Dear Television, TO LOVE HORROR is to love genre. As Annie’s piece on abjection and Phil’s on “Hellmouth” (new meme, anymore?) have both pointed out, discussions of horror very often lead to categorization. Whether in defining the psychoanalytical underpinnings of horror’s affective range or in noting the types of tropes that converge in horror narratives, […]


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Jogging the Memory

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By James Carter With Fall Break relieving me from teaching for a few days, I recently spent a week in Shanghai researching a new book that uses the events of a single day at the local horse-races to explore a variety of questions about China’s 20th-century history. I’m interested in that particular place at that […]


Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 Maicak_Sleepy

Greetings from Hellmouth, U.S.A.

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Dear Television, THE THING ABOUT American Horror Story is not just its insanity or its abjection or its politics or its provocations — it’s how much of it there is!  As such, the list becomes a common feature of essays about the show, including our own. We don’t write about the monsters; we write about the […]

Dear Television, Horror, Week 4 AHS

The Exquisite Repulsion of “American Horror Story”: An Essay on Abjection

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Dear Television, An African-American albino. A 200 year old woman who looks 45. A vagina that destroys all that enters it. A MINOTAUR. This is the stuff of abjection, and American Horror Story: Coven is overflowing with it. You hear that word — abject — and think of something done horribly, wretchedly. In Coven’s premiere, the Supreme […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 3 Identity

Men Behaving Badly: White Masculinity in Science Fiction Television

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TELEVISION IS A PLACE where we work through our cultural anxieties and project idealized versions of our selves. Even if no one really believed that Father Knows Best, it was comforting to imagine a benevolent patriarchal authority. As male series leads became more complex, viewers nonetheless inevitably sympathized with protagonists, seeing the good heart beneath […]