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Fashion theft

"Say you don't have the dough to add the fashions you see at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony to your closet. If you buy knockoffs instead, are you shopping smart or stealing?

"Today it's perfectly legal to copy whatever you see on the red carpet and sell it yourself. To some, such as Diane Von Furstenburg, this sounds a lot like theft. The former German princess is one of the world's most successful fashion designers and she's teaming up with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to push a bill that would give designers a three-year monopoly on new creations.

"The whole point of intellectual property is to spur innovation, and that, according to supporters, is exactly why the fashion industry needs such a bill. Without tougher protections, they say designers will have less incentive to create new looks. But is the fashion industry really hurting for innovation? And are top-tier designers like Von Furstenberg really getting ripped off by bargain hunters? And even if they were, who's to say whose look is truly original?"

from "Reason.tv: Academy Awards Alert! Why You Might Be a Fashion Criminal" on Feb. 24 at the Reason blog Hit and Run

Unpopular girls

"It sounds impossible but it's true: a Grammy-nominated, critically acclaimed, indisputably hot rock star with no groupies. Yet in a fascinating Twitter stream of consciousness this weekend, Neko Case, the New Pornographers vocalist and solo artist, admitted a dark, often sexless secret of celebrity. … 'No, ladies in bands don't get ANY action,' Neko Case, a woman Playboy readers once deemed the 'Sexiest Babe of Indie Rock,' tweeted on Saturday. 'Back me up ladies. no one believes this.'

"And the ladies did indeed. What followed was a frank, often funny examination of the disparity in sexual attention that male and female musicians receive, with hearty tweets of agreement from the likes of Michelle Branch and Anya Marina. 'You are 100% correct,' wrote Crooked Fingers' Miranda Brown. 'I have gotten laid exactly one time on tour, and it was an ex. laaaaame.' …

"Rock's male groupie shortage isn't new. Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles has said, 'We liked to bring the cute guys backstage and chat and flirt but that was as far as it went.' Even Belinda Carlisle, whose group the Go Go's made a notorious video sexually taunting a male member of their entourage, has said, 'We did everything male rockers did, and more — except for the sex. I have to say, we always wanted to have male groupies, but we scared them off.'"

Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing on "Why don't female rock stars have groupies?" on Feb. 22 at Salon

Kleenex for J-Lo

"For nigh on many seasons now, fans of 'American Idol' have grown accustomed to watching the wannabe superstars who flood into Hollywood each season dissolve into puddles of tears and heartache amid the pressure (and sleep deprivation) of the competition, the devastation of getting cut, and even the elation of making it on to the next round. Year after year, it always makes for a fizzy cocktail of empathy and melodrama, spiked with a shot of schadenfreude — in other words, its usually darn good television.

"But watching Jennifer Lopez crumple into the ugly cry in the face of letting contestant Chris Medina go? Chris Medina, the young man whose audition package and backstory reduced this hardened Idol-covering veteran to spill his own copious tears, but whose later performances (when we got to see them, anyhow) were decidedly, and unfortunately, kinda meh? And Jennifer Lopez, the kind of superlatively gorgeous, A-list-y mega-star who is only ever allowed to be that vulnerably, emotionally naked in front of a national television audience when accepting an Academy Award for Best Actress?"

Adam B. Vary, writing on "Jennifer Lopez's 'American Idol' breakdown: Was that some great TV or what?" on Feb. 24 at Entertainment Weekly

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