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Culture Briefs

- - Monday, July 26, 2010

Facebook envy

"Since TV was invented, critics have pointed out the dangers of watching the perfect people who seem to inhabit the screen. They are almost universally beautiful, live in interesting places, do interesting work (if they work at all), are unfailingly witty, and never have to do any cleaning. They never even need to use the toilet. It cannot be psychologically healthy to compare yourself to these phantasms.

"So it's interesting that social networks have inadvertently created the same effect, but using an even more powerful source. Instead of actors in Hollywood, the characters are people that you know to be real and have actually met. The editing is done not by film school graduates, but by the people themselves."

Stan James, writing on "Facebook acquaintances the new TV stars," on July 22 at his site Wanderingstan

Nation of servants

"This raises the question of what will happen to those trapped in the low end of the labor market. Recently, the cultural critic Annalee Newitz offered a provocative hypothesis: 'We may return to arrangements that look a lot like what people had over a century ago,' Newitz writes.

"As more skilled women enter the work force, and as the labor market position of millions of less-skilled workers deteriorate, we'll see more servants and nannies in middle-class homes. While this future might seem disturbing at first, there is no reason to believe that these armies of servants and nannies won't earn decent wages. But let's just say that this isn't the future most of us envision for our children."

Reihan Salam, writing on "Will Your Children Grow Up To Be Servants And Nannies?" on July 23 at Forbes

History a la Stone

"Director Oliver Stone belittled the Holocaust during a shocking interview with the Sunday Times today, claiming that America's focus on the Jewish massacre was a product of the 'Jewish domination of the media.' The director also defended Hitler … and railed against the 'powerful lobby' of Jews in America. Stone said that his upcoming Showtime documentary series 'Secret History of America,' seeks to put Hitler and Communist dictator Joseph Stalin 'in context.' 'Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support,' Stone told reporter Camilla Long."

Alana Goodman, writing on "Oliver Stone: 'Jewish-Dominated Media' Prevents Hitler from Being Portrayed 'in Context'," at Newsbusters on July 25