Rick McGinnis

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Getting out of the echo chamber

Getting out of the echo chamber

Six years after I was laid off from my job at a national daily newspaper and sent back out to the uncertainties of freelancing as a writer and photographer, I’ve found myself with a steady gig again. Of those six years I can’t say much except that it’s no way to earn a living. The new job is more interesting – editing a Huffington Post-style group blog called The ... (Continue reading)

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Whatever happened to Peggy’s baby in Mad Men?

Whatever happened to Peggy’s baby in Mad Men?

Rick McGinnis wonders whatever happened to Peggy Olson's baby. By the time you read this the last episode of Mad Men will be about to air, and since it’s unlikely that that last hour will satisfy everyone that’s followed the show for eight years, there might be some shouting. The series finale probably won’t be the Shakespearean tragedy that concluded Breaking Bad ... (Continue reading)

The pornification of Hollywood

The pornification of Hollywood

When Fifty Shades of Grey made the transition from best-selling novel to box office smash movie – on Valentine’s Day, no less – we were given another opportunity to watch the border between the mainstream movie industry and its pornographic cousin evaporate into further irrelevance. For anyone living in blissful isolation for the last couple of years, Fifty Shades began life as the first part of a trilogy written by ... (Continue reading)

Charlie Hebdo and Pope Francis

Charlie Hebdo and Pope Francis

The slaughter of the cartoonists and staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamic terrorists last month forced us to define precisely what we mean by “freedom of speech.” This was long overdue, and judging by some of the attempts made in the weeks after the murders, it would seem we have a long way to go. As everyone must be aware by now, Charlie Hebdo specialized in ... (Continue reading)

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Elite ideology as class warfare

Elite ideology as class warfare

I blame Karl Marx for a lot of things, but after inspiring some of the most destructive and blood-thirsty governments in modern history, his most abidingly destructive legacy is hobbling our understanding of the word “class.” For as long as I’ve been alive, when almost anyone talks about the class system they end up invoking images frozen somewhere in the middle of the European 19th century. Arrogant entitled aristocrats and heartless mill owners; upright bourgeois, dispirited workers and peasants. It’s a ... (Continue reading)

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Media elite unplugged

Media elite unplugged

Last month I wrote about the unease and apprehension that the internet and social media have inspired, within society and even in the precincts of Hollywood. The story so far is that, after marvelling at the massive new fortunes made by entities like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve begun worrying that moving parts of our social and emotional life online might not be healthy for us, and definitely won’t do ... (Continue reading)

Social dysfunction

Social dysfunction

No one’s really sure who coined the term “social media,” but there’s a loose consensus that it came about almost 20 years ago, in and around AOL and the small but vital nexus of tech companies that were busy birthing the internet as we know it today. What no one seems to dispute is the idea that, with social media, something wholly new had been brought into the world, ... (Continue reading)

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The broken culture

Amusements Rick McGinnis Critics are used to playing Cassandra – lamenting the fallen state of the world and prophesying its woeful future, all while giving you the latest news on gross-out comedies, reality television or the state of young adult fiction. As such, you can be forgiven if the latest prediction of cultural calamity strikes you as more than one too many, inspiring more yawning than hand-wringing. That’s my ... (Continue reading)

Boyhood cannot escape the emotional facts

Boyhood cannot escape the emotional facts

I was sitting on a midway ride recently, waiting for the lights to start flashing and the machinery to start hurling us around when I realized that my life might not actually get better than this moment. I was with my family, near the end of a lovely day at the end of our summer vacation, and it felt like a line was drawing itself around the moment to ... (Continue reading)

Enraptured

The rapture used to be top of the list whenever it came time to make fun of “things Crazy Christians believe,” or at least it was until Tim LaHaye published his bestselling Left Behind series of novels. Spawning a burgeoning franchise of further books and movies, it made the rapture of sudden social and monetary interest to the entertainment industry in general, so it’s no surprise that we’re about ... (Continue reading)

Putting the midlife crisis in perspective

Amusements There weren’t a lot of books in our house when I was a boy, but I remember a copy of Gail Sheehy’s bestseller Passages sitting on my mother’s bedside table for the longest time, alongside a copy of I’m OK, You’re OK. There they were: two high water marks of mass market pop psychology that my poor mother probably read desperately, a woman born before World ... (Continue reading)

Four more years

Four more years

“When Toronto voters chose Rob Ford to be their mayor on October 25, 2010, they knew full well they were electing a flawed man.” This is the sentence reporter Robyn Doolittle chose to begin the final, summary chapter of Crazy Town, her book on the rise and (apparent) fall of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and to give her credit, it shows that she understands the people pejoratively dubbed “Ford ... (Continue reading)

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A thoroughly modern Noah

A thoroughly modern Noah

We are apparently in the middle of another surge of religious films, which is a sure way of telling that Hollywood is losing money and running scared and desperate to pull in the audience they do their best to ignore when times aren’t so lean. Forgive me for sounding cynical, but if you think I’m being bleak, I dare you to name one masterpiece of religious filmmaking made since ... (Continue reading)

Movies focusing on despair

One of the most profound aspects of Christian teaching is the idea of the sin of despair. It might seem either abstract or inapplicable for many people either too commonsensical or faithful than myself, but once the idea behind it became clear to me, it was like a bright, pitiless light came on in my mind, casting light where I had never had the wit or strength to shine ... (Continue reading)

The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

Maybe it’s a good thing, but war movies aren’t anywhere near as popular as they used to be. There is, to be sure, no shortage of violent films doing decent box office, many set amidst vast wars fought in space, or in some wild reimagining of the distant, even mythological past. But dramas set during wars happening in recent memory are thin on the ground; on a scale of ... (Continue reading)

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