STANTON | Sharon Jones and the Upside of Echo Chambers

Last Sunday, John Oliver concluded the third season of Last Week Tonight with a cathartic send-off to the year in a segment so eloquently dubbed, “Fuck You, 2016!” If you haven’t seen the episode, I’ll give you three guesses as to what it’s about. In a year that began with David Bowie’s death, the state of affairs never bothered to resettle on any form of status quo — opting instead to perpetually tumble further downhill. The general mood on campus following Election Day has seemed to oscillate somewhere between vitriol and despair, to the extent that a casual “How are you?” serves as an invitation to air out grievances rather than go through the motions of small talk. And whether in tone or subject matter, the election results have pervaded a large portion of the Daily Sun’s output because, well, what else is there to think about? As the White House proceeds in its transition to high-stakes reality TV show, pundits have made much of the modern media’s role in President-elect Trump’s ascent.

Understanding Celebrity News with Robert Frost

“…I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again…”

“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost

What does Robert Frost have to do with Joaquin Phoenix? Precious little at first glance. And yet he may have everything to do with explaining, in part, our obsession with celebrities.

Why do so many of us Americans find celebrities fascinating enough to read and talk about? I believe that when future anthropologists study today’s popular culture, they will find the obsession with the lives of actors, musicians, politicians, and other famous figures to be a complex phenomenon.

The Day Clay Aiken Came Out of the Closet

…and the day the entire English-speaking world said, “Yea? And?”

The tale is as old as the concept of quasi-celebrities themselves. Boy (or girl) is gay, boy or girl gets famous, boy or girl keeps his or her homosexuality a secret and boy or girl comes out of the closet. And time after time, the world is unsurprised and unmoved and yawns at the announcement

[img_assist|nid=32138|title=Aiken holds a “secret.”|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]Aiken reports that he decided to come out to the world because he simply cannot raise his newborn son with a lie, the way he has done for so many years. The now 29-year-old father decided last year that he would conceive a child with his friend Jayme Foster.

Ashton Kutcher and the 15 Minutes of Fame

It’s totally old news by now that Ashton Kutcher began coaching high school football. It’s such old news by now that it’s not even really funny anymore. Shock value made it amusing and, of course, Kutcher’s past as MTV’s original prankster made it semi-unbelievable. But now, a week later, nobody cares.
Actually, it’s not exactly that nobody seems to care, but more that the joke has sizzled out and died. Even the poor guy who just learned today about Ashton’s amazing career move will not laugh, and the corners of his lips will only tease upwards for a split second before he realizes he kinda-sorta missed the bus.