January 9, 2013 |
“The Daily Show” was on break during the massacre last month in Newtown, Conn., and for the loud aftermath that followed - from the newly impassioned cries for gun control coming from surprising corners of the political universe, to the NRA's poorly received news conference and plan to install armed guards in schools across the county. A few weeks' delay didn't stop Jon Stewart from devoting nearly all of Tuesday's episode of “The Daily Show” to the issue of gun control.
September 6, 2012 |
Amiable and upbeat though it is, the documentary "Hollywood to Dollywood" lacks a compelling reason to see it. Unless you are a Dolly Parton zealot, which its two protagonists definitely are. Twin brothers Gary and Larry Lane, originally from a small town in North Carolina but now bona-fide Hollywood residents, are devoted to Parton, both as a performer and as a nonjudgmental source of inspiration. The twins are gay, but unlike Parton, their religious mother apparently does not accept them the way they are. For the last four years, they have put their "heart and soul" into a movie about their life, and they are bound and determined to have Ms. Parton star in it. So they and Gary's partner, Mike Bowen, rent a massive RV they nickname Jolene and take off on a 2,200-mile, eight-state road trip down Interstate 40. Their destination?
March 25, 2012 |
On March 14, a Jerusalem judge acquitted a man accused of forging an inscription on a small stone coffin. The writing, on what's known as the James Ossuary, reads "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus. " Its promoters claim that it's the first archaeological evidence of Jesus Christ's existence and that the box once held the bones of Jesus' brother James. Its detractors, including most scholars, say the last two words of the inscription are faked, modern additions to a genuinely ancient limestone casket.
January 12, 2012 |
If you think Rick Santorum is a weird, pious wackadoo, try being a female walking around certain ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Israel with your ankles showing. Santorum's near-victory in the Iowa caucuses last week raised the volume on some of his more paranoid kvetchings about the moral breakdown of society -- gay marriage being a slippery slope to marrying your pet, "Christendom" being under attack, birth control being "not OK" even for married couples. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem -- where I was last week -- the big story was about religious extremists spitting on schoolgirls.
August 14, 2011 |
Raed Habbal was not a particularly devout Muslim, a relative recalls. The 19-year-old college student and scion of a socialist family in the city of Hama even occasionally took a swig of alcohol with friends, the relative says. But during the 1982 uprising in Hama, the young man was snatched up by security forces aiming to crush what they called an armed Islamist revolt. By the time the government crackdown ended, then-Syrian leader Hafez Assad's forces had flattened swaths of Hama, the country's fourth-largest city, and killed tens of thousands of civilians.
July 21, 2009 |
Afew years ago, while walking through Mea Shearim, the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, I came across a strange poster. It pictured the Second Temple, the center of the world before the world was smashed in AD 70 by Rome, over a Hebrew phrase that means something like, "Jews! Watch what you say! For The Holy of Holies was destroyed not by Roman soldiers, nor by the Divine will, but by the gossip of the people." What could it mean, this talk of gossip?