CNN’s Anderson Cooper called out Jared Kushner Tuesday for attempting to “gaslight” Americans with a wildly inaccurate summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law of and adviser, claimed the investigation “has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple Facebook ads.”
Cooper slammed Kushner for trying to summarize the extensive Russian meddling in the 2016 election that was detailed in the redacted 448-page report as “a couple of Facebook ads.”
“Who else other than maybe that Cliff guy could sum up such a long, dense document so concisely?” Cooper taunted before offering a “KushnersNotes” version of the report .
Watch RuPaul School LL Cool J On The Power Of Drag Culture In 1995
These days, the 1990s comedy series “In the House” is perhaps best remembered for bringing rapper LL Cool J to network television. But the sitcom, which ran from 1995 through 1999 on NBC and UPN, also featured a guest appearance by none other than RuPaul in a radical-for-its-time take on drag culture.
In the latest installment of his “Culture Cruise” video series, Seattle-based writer Matt Baume breaks down the episode of RuPaul’s appearance, “Boyz II Men II Women.” The installment aired in late 1995 ― a time that Baume describes as “a pivotal moment” for TV depictions of drag and gender roles.
“In the House” followed a retired football player, Marion Hill (LL Cool J), who rents rooms in his home to a newly divorced single mother, Jackie Warren (Debbie Allen), and her two children, Tiffany (Maia Campbell) and Austin (Jeffery Wood). In “Boyz II Men II Women,” RuPaul guest stars as Marion’s longtime pal Kevin, who announces plans to pursue a new career as a nightclub performer ― in drag, of course.
At the time this episode aired, RuPaul was a star on the rise. His 1993 dance-pop album, “Supermodel of the World,” was a hit, featuring the smash single “Supermodel (You Better Work).”
The success of the album helped make RuPaul a global media darling ― which, in turn, helped usher in a cultural boon for drag, as represented by the happy conclusion of “Boyz II Men II Women,” Baume told HuffPost.
“Prior to the ’90s, drag in the media was usually a punchline, a way to mock someone for not conforming to gender roles,” he said. “Men in dresses were often humiliated, or in a position where they had to keep their identity secret because it was shameful or a liability.”
Attitudes about women and trans people not being ‘as good’ as cis male performers need to be broken down just as much as the gender binary of previous decades.
He noted that RuPaul ― as well as the 1990 ball culture documentary “Paris Is Burning” and well-known performers like Lady Bunny ― showed that “drag could be a source of personal power.”
At the same time, Baume said, “Boyz II Men II Women” is a reminder of the “frustrating gatekeeping” that exists around drag and gender roles even today. He pointed to recent controversies over the inclusion of transgender artists on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as an example.
“Attitudes about women and trans people not being ‘as good’ as cis male performers need to be broken down just as much as the gender binary of previous decades,” he said.
Baume, the author of the 2015 book “Defining Marriage: Voices From a Forty-Year Labor of Love,” has examined LGBTQ-inclusive episodes of “The Golden Girls” and “Married… With Children,” among other shows, for “Culture Cruise,” now in its second season.
In January, New York Times writer Margaret Lyons praised “Culture Cruise,” calling it a “thoughtful and thorough” look at “queer representation — the good and the bad — in pop culture.”
Britney Spears Working Out To Relieve Stress
Britney Spears has further reassured fans she’s fine after taking time off to deal with stress by posting a new workout video online.
The singer took to Instagram on Wednesday (24Apr19), hours after posting a video statement about her health, and shared footage of herself lifting weights and dancing to Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin’s I Like It.
“Who knew stress would be a great 5 pound weight loss. Yay for me,” she wrote under the video.
Spears previously fired back at reports suggesting she was being held in a mental institution against her will.
“Hi guys, just checking in with all of you who have been concerned about me,” Spears said in the video. “All is well. My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately so I just needed time to deal. But don’t worry I will be back very soon.”
In an accompanying caption, she wrote: “There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear.
“My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment. You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you.”
Spears checked herself into a health facility earlier this month (Apr19) to deal with stress brought on by her father’s current medical crisis following colon surgery.
On Tuesday, her boyfriend Sam Asghari assured fans she was going to be fine during a chat with TMZ, stating, “She’s doing great. Thank you for your concern… She’s doing amazing. Her fans are so amazing to be so concerned, but she’s doing great. Nobody needs to worry.”
‘Avengers: Endgame’ Is Like Graduation Day: Satisfying, Nostalgic And Long As Hell
“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst famously says in the series’ stunning conclusion, captured on a hot mic while going to the bathroom.
His full comments were in a different order, according to The New York Times, which reported Wednesday that Durst’s lawyers are planning to devote much of their defense on the documentary’s “manipulations” when Durst goes to trial later this year.
A portion of the documentary footage’s transcripts, submitted as part of the ongoing court case involving Durst’s alleged murder of close friend Susan Berman in 2000, shows that the filmmakers cobbled together Durst’s apparent confession from a much longer sequence of rambling remarks.
“That’s the hero gig: Part of the journey is the end,” Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) says in the culminating “Avengers” extravaganza, having spent the past decade auditing a course in Joseph Campbell studies. The wealthy tech wunderkind otherwise known as Tony Stark is the reason we’re here today, 22 Marvel movies deep and counting; thank or blame him as you will. What a journey it’s been — one in which death is impermanent, enemies come and go, and entire nations and planets join the carefully calculated crusade cooked up in Hollywood boardrooms and passed down from one director to the next. Once considered a risky choice to launch an entire franchise, Iron Man’s destiny won him the ultimate prize: eternal fame.
As a reward for being the guinea pig, Downey — an actor whose Marvel affiliation rehabilitated his flailing career — gets to be the one true star of “Avengers: Endgame,” which bids farewell to several company players whose contracts predate Disney’s governance. For anyone paying attention, the departures on which “Endgame” hinges much of its narrative come as no surprise. Everything has been leading to this, a precious handover when the seniors graduate and the juniors take their place. As we go on, we remember all the times we had together.
Is it a spoiler to say that the characters who supposedly died at the hands of the giant purple villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) in “Avengers: Infinity War” can be resurrected to keep the series alive for many moons? No. You already knew that. You already knew, in broad strokes, close to everything that happens in “Endgame,” and you wanted it that way. For fans, this is comfort food, deep-fried and delectable. Does anyone care whether a funnel cake uses the highest-grade dough? What counts is that it’s chewy and familiar. But a little quality goes a long way, and thankfully “Endgame” has it in spades. It’s a satisfying spectacle that justifies its absurd three-hour running time — a feat.
Most films involving at least one Avenger follow the same pattern: exposition, banter, battle, then more exposition, more banter and an even bigger battle, and probably another one after that, and finally a setup for the next installment. “Endgame” understands that combat is not Marvel’s strong suit, even if it dominates the enterprise. (The studio’s action sequences tend to assault the senses with incoherent editing and overblown digital effects, but I digress.) In their latest joyride, co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who have maybe learned a few tricks after making four of these suckers, let the Avengers savor one another’s company.
Particularly in the movie’s first half, our heroes luxuriate in their friendships. Lo and behold, they are real characters. Sure, they have goals to execute in order to restore 50% of Earth’s population, decimated by Thanos in “Infinity War.” But they get time to play paper football, discuss email habits, attend grief-support groups and make “Back to the Future” jokes. Refreshingly, the comedy in Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s script is a guiding force instead of mere window dressing. Plus it’s fun when Iron Man judges how Captain America’s (Chris Evans) suit makes his butt look.
But of course we wouldn’t have a movie if there weren’t a world to save. After inducting Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) into their clique, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) put their O.G. Avenger creds to work. Their aim is to seize the so-called Infinity Stones needed to reset Thanos’ damage, prompting them to time-travel through the franchise’s greatest hits to pull off various conquests. That takes them back to New York in 2012, where the first “Avengers” entry was set, and to Asgard in 2013 and the “Guardians of the Galaxy” planet Morag in 2014.
Along the way, we’re provided an inventory of Marvel’s payroll. That means cameos galore. Remember when Robert Redford, of all people, was in one of these films? I won’t tell you who else appears for fear of being scolded by the diehards, but it’s rather shocking to realize just how much of Hollywood has been bitten by the comic-book bug. On the one hand, it’s delightful to see so many great actors and actresses in one place; on the other, don’t [insert Oscar-nominated superstars here] have something better to do than appear silently for 30 seconds so we can feel a little nostalgic?
I’m being coy about what else happens in “Endgame” because I’d rather not see my inbox flooded with angry emails. Trust that I’ve only scraped the surface. But know also that even a superhero agnostic like me might be held rapt by what unfolds onscreen — not because “Endgame” is an especially excellent movie, but because its quest to please everyone who purchases a ticket is filled with so much winning humor and pathos. Much like in the new “Star Wars” trilogy or the latest “Game of Thrones” episodes, watching characters meet or reunite after years apart is reward enough. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe was made for anything, it’s this.
It helps, too, that “Endgame” isn’t overly violent. There’s far less action than expected, which gave my eyes and ears a much-deserved rest. Instead, it’s a fairly thoughtful saga about the toils of heroism, what it means to risk your life for a greater good, and how the leadership torch gets passed from one generation to another. Downey is especially good at capturing these struggles; after years on the front lines, he wears exhaustion all over his body. Hemsworth, too, gives a bravura performance, though his is built more on comic tension: Thor has let himself go, looking more like Jeffrey Lebowski than a Norse god.
The rub, and therefore the success, of “Endgame” is that not much of anything is actually ending, and yet we still leave feeling like an era has passed us by. Just like the forthcoming “Star Wars” spinoffs and “Game of Thrones” prequel, there’s another batch of Avengers-adjacent movies simmering right now, including July’s “Spider–Man: Far From Home.” Maybe Downey’s contract has run out, but the franchise will march on — to infinity and beyond, if you will. Call me when we’ve really reached the last superhero flick ever, and we’ll have a lot more to reflect on. But for now, dear reader, I almost shed a tear. Almost.
“Avengers: Endgame” opens April 26.
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