Apatow’s characters often talk like TV sitcom characters where a facility with insulting others, especially for any flaws in their physical appearance, is an important character trait, proof of one’s wit and toughness.

Paul Rudd … Pete
Leslie Man … Debbie
Albert Brooks … Larry
John Lithgow … Oliver
Written and directed by Judd Apatow

Review by Dan Geddes

This is 40 is a moderately entertaining Judd Apatow comedy about a married couple facing the difficulties of life as they face their fortieth birthdays.

Peter (Rudd) is a Viagra-taking, cupcake gobbling, indepedent music producer married to Debbie (Mann), a beautiful…

Review by Dan Geddes

The Circle, Dave Eggers’ novel named for a fictitious Google-like company that profits from its users’ data and destroys individual privacy, is a topical and compelling read. The story takes place in a near-future Silicon Valley where cheap video cameras are being deployed nearly everywhere, even in nature. Doctors place cameras in people’s houses to monitor their condition. People are even starting to go “transparent”; to wear a Circle-built device on a necklace that records everything they see and do and broadcasts it via the internet — sort of like Google Glass is supposed to be.

by Dan Geddes

It will probably be impossible for future generations to understand the special place that J.D. Salinger held in the minds of readers in the mid-to-late twentieth century.

The Catcher in the Rye remains a classic statement of youth alienation, and continues to attract defenders and detractors. Many of its young readers are grateful to find a book that not only understands them, but also articulates their misgivings about growing up and joining the compromised adult world, where there seems to be little room for ideals.

J.D. Salinger remained one of the great legends in American writing throughout…

How did Freudianism achieve such a solid foothold in the intellectual life of the West with so little scientific basis?

Review of Ernest Gellner’s The Psychoanalytic Movement

The Psychoanalytic Movement tries to answer the question: how did Freudianism come to achieve such a solid foothold in the intellectual life of the West, especially in light of the fact that Freudianism has such little scientific basis?

Gellner is sarcastically dismissive of the claims of psychoanalysis, but backs up his claims with a wealth of insight and argument. His premise is that no movement should be studied strictly on its own terms…

No Logo is a now classic book of the anti-corporate movement. Although No Logo was not the original catalyst for the movement, Klein draws together the threads of 1990s anti-corporate activism into a compelling story. The story is the rise of the mega-brand in the 1990s. Business consultants agreed that corporations should focus on brand building and so companies such as Nike outsourced production to contractors in the developing world. Then they lavished money on advertising their brands rather than their products.

The power of multinationals is now so pervasive that this change of focus affects people worldwide. In the…

Review of Thomas Frank’s The Conquest of Cool

Review By Dan Geddes

Thomas Frank’s The Conquest of Cool successfully reframes the traditional perception of the Sixties counterculture: that it represented a rebellion against the consumption-oriented values of “mass society.” Frank’s purpose is to demonstrate that Madison Avenue and consumption-based industries such as soda bottlers and men’s wear welcomed the counterculture, realizing that the cult of instant gratification would make the Baby Boomers better consumers than their thrifty parents. Frank even suggests that the Creative Revolution in advertising anticipated and in some ways precipitated the counterculture. Historians of the Sixties have…

by Dan Geddes

While conspiracy theorists often imagine billionaires meeting together in secrecy to plan the future of the world, billionaires themselves scoff at this idea.

Based on a recent Washington Chronicle survey of the approximately 1,000 billionaires in the world (81% of billionaires responding), most billionaires claim they have never even knowingly met another billionaire. They also deny that they personally have much influence on things, let alone conspire together regularly in order to run the world.

“The idea that billionaires have more influence on world events than the man in the street is completely ridiculous,” George Soros stated…

by Dan Geddes

NEW YORK — Fox News issued a statement today proclaiming that “yellow journalism is now a thing of the past.”

Wikipedia defines yellow journalism as “a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.”

FOX’s statement read: “The American media, especially Fox News, has achieved fair and balanced reporting. …

Review by Dan Geddes

Spoiler alert: This review assumes you’ve seen the movie and so contains spoilers.

Why do so many people love The Big Lebowski?

The Big Lebowski is the Coen brothers’ funniest movie, a smart, feel-good comedy. While all the Coen’s movies feature a dry sense of humor, usually the violence or neo-noir elements dominate and prevent the viewer from relaxing enough to enjoy the humor. While Lebowski has its share of action (mainly involving The Dude getting knocked around), the movie always remains fun.

Review By Dan Geddes

Fargo dramatizes how one small crime can snowball into a series of tragedies. Criminals are often not the smartest human beings, and the law of unintended consequences rules our world.

But it seems so simple. Jerry Lundegaard (Macy) is a Minnesota car salesman who really needs a big score. He owes his job to his wealthy father-in-law, Wade (Presnell), who bullies him and doesn’t trust him to partner with him in business. Jerry has already embezzled money from the car dealership, and needs to pay it back pronto. So he decides to hire some men to…

Dan Geddes

Editor of The Satirist (thesatirist.com) America’s Most Critical Journal; satirist, critic, standup in Amsterdam

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