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Politics Archives

A First Look at ‘Saints and Strangers’

posted by Corine Gatti

National Geographic will be releasing a four-hour epic television movie event this fall  that takes a historical look at what life was really like for the pilgrims, and the hardships they faced in the New World. Saints & Strangers will not […]

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‘I’m Tired of Watching America be Led by Lunatics’

posted by Corine Gatti

Conservative talk show host Kevin Jackson was signed to a national syndication deal by USA Radio Networks and will launch July 20th on USA Radio Networks XDS Channel 3. The Kevin Jackson Show will air weekdays from 12 noon to […]

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America’s Top Guns Helped Liberate Israel

posted by Corine Gatti

They were volunteers from the US risking their lives to help Israel gain their independence in the Arab-Israeli was in 1948.  A group of Jewish American pilots smuggled planes and trained in Czechoslovakia to stand as members of Machal. The […]

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‘Unbroken’ is a True Gift This Christmas

posted by Corine Gatti

After 57 years of being hung up, now a war hero’s story is on the big screen. Unbroken, a true story based on U.S. POW and 1936 Olympic runner Louie Zamperini will be released on Christmas Day. The timing could […]

Political Documentary ‘The Green Prince’ Thrills, Offers Hope

posted by

Political thriller, “The Green Prince” tells the story Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a key Hamas leader, who betrays his father and country to work for Israeli security forces. The narrative is framed around his life as a double agent, […]

Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan Top the Most Generous List

posted by Angela Guzman

The Chronicle of Philanthropy puts out a list each year of the most generous people – topping the list for 2013 is Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. The couple gave 18 million shares of Facebook, equating to roughly $992.2 million, […]

Paula Abdul Returns to Jewish Roots, Celebrates Bat Mitzvah

posted by Corine Gatti

Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul was raised in the Jewish faith longed for an opportunity to visit the Holy Land as a tourist and will finally get her wish on a 10-day trip to Israel. She also wanted to […]

Exclusive Interview with Rachel McAdams & Channing Tatum, Stars of “The Vow”, on Relationships

posted by Evan Derrick

I had the chance to sit down the other weekend with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum and talk about their new film (opening this weekend, Friday, February 10th ) called “The Vow.” Now, just so you know, I am NOT […]

Twitter Reactions to the State of the Union

posted by agreyson

In the not so distant past, we had to wait for the paperboy to gauge reaction to the traditional State of the Union Address. Television changed that and the internet has now revolutionized it. On Twitter we truly see the […]

This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moment

posted by Evan Derrick

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas The President asks us to live up to a young girl’s vision of the nation, an Icelandic singer saves her country’s nature and a Harry Potter group fights real-life evils. President Obama […]

This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by agreyson

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture PassionistasA rock star shares his family’s tragic history, a child star gives back and a TV network stands up against discrimination. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments.Gene Simmons Share His […]

Don’t Be Cynical About Sarah Palin’s Alaska

posted by agreyson

Great, another “celebrity” using media to promote herself for book sales and a Presidential run. That’s an easy attitude to have when it comes to Sarah Palin’s new show premiering this Sunday on TLC. In a world where we seemingly […]

This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by agreyson

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas “Funny or Die” takes on the very serious issue of voting, a “Fairy Jobmother” helps families get back on their feet, and Major League Baseball stands up to Cancer–here are this week’s […]

“Bridging the Gap” – Jewish and Middle Eastern Comics Laugh Together

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Comedians Avi Liberman and Ahmed Ahmed co-host “Bridging the Gap: A Middle East Comedy Conference,” September 16 on Showtime.

What, Exactly, Is Glenn Beck?

posted by douglas howe

The fine line between talk show host, newsman, media commentator, pop culture icon and spiritual leader has rarely become more cluttered than during the performance of Glenn Beck at the Washington, D.C. “Restoring Honor” event. “Something beyond imagination is happening,” […]

Mad Men Season Premiere

posted by Douglas Howe

“Mad Men” launches its Season Four this Sunday night, and, like several other ensemble dramas before it (“West Wing,” “24,” etc.), it’s moving beyond a cult-type audience to a wider viewership. The show had some more Emmy nominations and wins […]

Al and Tipper Gore Separating After 40 Years of Marriage

posted by Ellen Leventry

Al and Tipper Gore shocked the world with the announcement of their separation after 40 years of marriage. But the fact that the separation is scandal-free may be more shocking to a public used to tabloid-fueled break ups.

Christians Rock Tonight’s Tube: Amy Grant and Jennifer Knapp

posted by Paul O'Donnell

What a bonanza tonight should be for Christian music fans. Late night, Amy Grant will be talking about her first album in six years on ABC’s “Nightline,” while on CNN at 9 p.m., Larry King interviews Jennifer Knapp, the Christian […]

Election 2012: Sarah Palin vs. Vampire (?!) for the Republican Nomination

posted by Donna Freitas

So this has to be the weirdest announcement of a run for the presidency in history, for both the Democratic and Republican parties combined. Even weirder than Sarah Palin getting a spot on last election’s ticket as VP candidate and […]

Ordination Barbie: I Want One!

posted by Donna Freitas

Introducing Feminist Theologian Barbie. Reverend Barbie. Pastor Barbie! I literally cannot get over this: Barbie is getting ordained in the Episcopalian Church. I mean, I know she’s been president and entered into a whole host of other professions, but a […]

For National Poetry Month: My Favorite Movies That Celebrate Poetry

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Here are a few excellent movies that celebrate poetry and poets.

Mr. Biden, F-Bombs and Our Fading Culture

posted by Douglas Howe

The second most powerful man in our country–the one who sits one heartbeat or motorcade crash away from the Presidency–dropped the F-bomb during one of the most historic and highly rated television news moments in history. You can hear it […]

‘The Family Guy’ Takes On the Brain-Damaged

posted by Paul O'Donnell

You have to hand it to “Family Guy” for topicality. Fresh off last month’s run-in with Sarah Palin about her son with Down syndrome, animated sitcom “The Family Guy” opened Sunday night with a skit about Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged […]

Health Care: Learn From ‘Dave,’ ‘Mr. Smith’ and Toby

posted by Douglas Howe

Health Care Schmealth Care! It’s not just on the news channels right now. From the prime time TV newsmagazine shows to the morning, afternoon and evening talk shows, something called “The Health Care” vote is sure getting a lot of […]

Whose God Won the Oscar?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Hollywood and evangelical Christians don’t agree on much, but last night they shared a deep conviction that only God could have put an Oscar in Sandra Bullock’s hand. Often dismissed as the actress with the least star quality since the […]

Keith Olbermann’s ‘Life Panel’ Special Comment

posted by Ellen Leventry

Keith Olbermann’s impassioned plea to allow insurance-covered end of life discussions with doctors is a good lesson for all.

Tiger: Only Thing Missing Was ‘Thank You, Mr. President.’

posted by Douglas Howe

I believe that history will show that Tiger Woods launched his professional political career today, with his well-crafted and publicized press conference. He is no longer the golfer or the celebrity or the superstar. He is the cultural icon who […]

National Geographic Goes ‘Inside Polygamy’ This Valentine’s

posted by Ellen Leventry

National Geographic is given unprecedented access to explore an FLDS polygamous family in “Inside Polygamy: Life at Bountiful.”

Tackling the Tebow Super Bowl Ads

posted by Ellen Leventry

Paradoxically, the controversial Tim Tebow Super Bowl ads, may have been the least controversial of the broadcast.

What Do You Do with a Problem Like Tim Tebow?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Somewhere in academia, a grad student in cultural anthropology is already writing his or her dissertation using Super Bowls ads to deconstruct the history of modern America, a job that got easier last week when CBS reversed its policy against […]

Shame on You Pat Robertson

posted by Douglas Howe

He called Haiti’s earthquake a “blessing in disguise.” He calls it some sort of retribution for the Haitian people’s “pact with the devil” during the French Revolution. This is about as obnoxious as when he accused martial artists of “inhaling […]

A Yeah for Brit Hume!

posted by Douglas Howe

I wish to formally nominate television newscaster and commentator Brit Hume for, well, whatever I can nominate him for! You’ve probably heard by now about the controversy and web buzz because a television commentator suggested that a public figure who […]

Katherine Paterson Takes Office as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

posted by Donna Freitas

Katherine Paterson is one of my all-time favorite children’s writers. Author of the beloved “Bridge to Terabithia,” which won the Newbery Medal for Young People’s Literature, and so many other childhood favorites, like “The Great Gilly Hopkins,” Paterson took office […]

One Man’s ‘Sacred Books’ Is Another Man’s Sacrilege

posted by Paul O'Donnell

David Michael Slater’s first book, “Cheese Louise,” was about a piece of Swiss cheese who doesn’t like her holes. You’d think the cheese lobby would get up in arms about that calumny, but no, it wasn’t until the Oregon public-school […]

The Real War on Christmas

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Beginning its article with “Attention, culture warriors,” Time magazine briefly recounts the history of the War on Christmas in this week’s issue, noting that while the Puritans were not so big on celebrating the coming of the Christ child, their […]

Oprah’s Show To End; Her Influence…?

posted by Douglas Howe

CNN and other outlets are reporting today that “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will be ending after 25 seasons. The last show will be coming up soon: on September 9, 2011. Okay, so it’s not so soon! Mrs. Winfrey has followed […]

R. Crumb’s ‘Book of Genesis Illustrated’ Is Rated R

posted by Donna Freitas

The widely anticipated “Book of Genesis Illustrated” penned by R. Crumb, the famous comic book artist and graphic novelist released yesterday and the backlash from Christian groups and churches has already begun. I first heard about R. Crumb’s foray into […]

Horror Movies Not Halal?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Are gore and ghosts ungodly? For years Hollywood has been eyeing the huge audiences in two of the most populous Muslim nations in the world. But now legislators in neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia–both densely populated, with moderate Muslim majorities are […]

Kirk Cameron vs. Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Actor Kirk Cameron and friends are distributing versions of “Origin of Species” that includes a 50-page introduction presenting the theory intelligent design.

The Subversive Faith of Stephen Colbert

posted by Paul O'Donnell

It’s not news that Stephen Colbert is a Catholic. He’s admitted as much on his Comedy Channel show, “The Colbert Report.” (Besides, even with the best hairstylists in television at your disposal, you can’t fake that precisely parted, altar-boy-grown-up hair-do.) […]

The United States of Qur’an?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Can the Qur’an, a book that is indelibly, even necessarily, Arabic, have a place in American culture? Sandow Birk, a “vaguely Presbyterian” American artist from Southern California presents that question in “American Qur’an.” In an exhibit of works on paper […]

Mr. Kennedy’s Religion: Honored in Death, What About in Life?

posted by Douglas Howe

Well, the Lying in Repose, the Celebration, the Memorial Service and the Funeral are over. And the respect for Sir Ted Kennedy will live on. (You can read more here.) And after it all, what I will remember most about […]

DVD Pick of the Week: ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

For years movie critics have been trying to figure out why we haven’t had a great Iraq War picture. After six years, the Iraq War is still too “hot”–politically divisive and emotionally unresolved–for filmmakers to distill the experience of overextended […]

Derek Webb: ‘I Can No Longer Make Apologies’ for How Christians Behave

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Derek Webb talks to Idol Chatter’s Paul O’Donnell about his album “Stockholm Syndrome” and the controversy around his song “What Matters More,” a scathing critique of how evangelical Christians approach homosexuality.

It’s National Junk Food Day: Will It Survive?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Nobody seems to know where it came from, or when it started. But today, like every July 21st, is National Junk Food Day, a chance, according to tradition, to gorge on foods that are bad for you without a bit […]

Walter Cronkite: A Man of Truth

posted by Douglas Howe

He was the last trusted anchor. He was the man in the cultural pulpit. He was the one whom we trusted. He was what we once knew every night: the one who brought an unbiased representation of the news of […]

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

posted by Douglas Howe

40 years ago this Monday, my neighbor, Neil Armstrong, walked on the moon. I’m not sure which is more unbelievable to me: the fact that it happened, or the fact that he and I now have mutual friends (I’ve never […]

Bob Dylan: Too Christian for Jimmy Carter?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Jimmy Carter, it seems, believes in the separation between church and rock. The former president, whose 1976 White House campaign saw both performances by the Allman Brothers Band and the introduction of the term “born again” to the Washington media’s […]

Hostage to Nobody: Derek Webb’s ‘Stockholm Syndrome’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

A few minutes of footage from the making of Derek Webb’s new, stunningly successful album, “Stockholm Syndrome” explains a lot about what Webb, the consciously controversial Christian singer-songwriter, is up to with his latest release. In the docu-video released last […]

‘Bruno’ is No ‘Borat’

posted by Douglas Howe

We like to keep things positive here at Idol Chatter. The intersection of pop culture and faith is a dynamic and inspiring corner of the blogosphere. But I’m struggling to find what’s positive or inspiring about Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest […]

Respects to All, Including Mr. McNamara

posted by Douglas Howe

Apparently death isn’t a strong news story if there’s too many at one time. I fear our pop culture has become such a strong force in our nation that it may have more of an impact than it should upon […]

Faith-based Sarah Palin is a Media Star

posted by Douglas Howe

You may like her. You may not. But regardless of what the majority of politicos and pollsters are saying about her, Sarah Palin is emerging as one of the most recognizable pop culture icons of our time. She is the […]

Madonna, ‘Mercy,’ and International Adoption

posted by Douglas Howe

Madonna’s media representative released the news that the pop star has been approved by a Malawian court to adopt another child from that country. I can’t tell whether I hate or love all of the press she is getting. In […]

David Carradine: Death, Life, Stories…But No Suicide

posted by Douglas Howe

David Carradine, the well-known, well-remembered and well-misunderstood actor, died on the other side of the world recently, and news emerged that his death was the result of either suicide, personal experimentation gone bad, or foul play. Now the news has […]

Colbert from Iraq: More Relevant Than We Expected?

posted by Douglas Howe

Every time I travel to Los Angeles I love picking up my beloved L.A. Times. When I can’t, I read it online. A recent story on Stephen Colbert caught my attention. What do you think Stephen Colbert would have to […]

Carrie Prejean Loses Her Crown (And Gains a Career)

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Donald Trump and his Miss USA pageant may not have chosen their battle wisely when they finally decided to take away Carrie Prejean’s Miss California crown yesterday. Fox News is reporting that Prejean, the devout Christian who spoke out against […]

Jay Leno’s Last ‘Tonight Show’

posted by Douglas Howe

Last Friday, I witnessed a piece of TV history–the last “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” as it ended its 17-year run with a highly anticipated and well-marketed finale. I grew up about a mile from the set of “The Tonight […]

Will Anyone Be Balanced About Sotomayor?

posted by Douglas Howe

What a shame. The days of news being reported neutrally, accurately, and fairly are gone. I am so uninspired by tuning into the news networks and President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is a clarifying example. What a great […]

’24’ Finale: More Cliffhanger Than Conclusion

posted by Douglas Howe

After a day or two to reflect–and allow all you TiVO-ers to see the final show–I hope “24” will be back, though I didn’t expect to be thinking this as the show entered its final few weeks. You can watch […]

The Jolly, ‘South Park’ Loving Side of the Catholic League’s Bill Donahue

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The New York Times likes to profile William Donahue, president of the Catholic League, as much as it likes to quote his bombastic attacks on perceived enemies of the church. The ex-marine and one-man Defender of the Faith makes for […]

She’s Baaaack: Sarah Palin Gets a Book Deal

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Tina Fey, better find your Sarah specs: Governor Palin has a book deal with HarperCollins to produce a memoir for publication in 2010, the year she’s up for re-election. “There’s been so much written about and spoken about in the […]

The Donald Says Carrie Prejean Not Fired!

posted by Douglas Howe

CNN (as well as just about every news agency and tabloid under the sun!) is reporting that Miss California USA Carrie Prejean will be allowed to keep her crown, despite the recent controversies surrounding her title, her contest answer to […]

Miss California Appears at the Dove Awards

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Miss California, Carrie Prejean, may have lost the Miss USA title for explaining her opposition to same-sex marriage, but it looks like she’s gained a new gig as Christian idol. After appearing on Fox News, NBC’s “Today” and other talk […]

Liberty Liberal: Kevin Roose’s Year in Christian College

posted by Paul O'Donnell

In the past few years journalists have developed a strain of religion reportage that centers on a stunt, one patterned after George Plimpton’s turn as a major-league pitcher or maybe John Howard Griffin’s “Black Like Me.” The latest version, by […]

Jay Leno’s Entertainment: President Obama!

posted by Douglas Howe

The economy is tanking. The bailed-out companies are sending seven figure bonuses to their key managers. The banks are barely making it. The public is nervous. How does a President respond? Does he start a train tour? Does he take […]

Ted Haggard and Wife to Appear on ‘Divorce Court’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

As the death of his career continues, Ted Haggard just keeps moving toward the light–the television light. Since he admitted to homosexual acts and stepped down as pastor of a Colorado megachurch and as president of the National Association of […]

Catholic Church Bans ‘Gay-friendly’ Play in CA: ‘The God Box’

posted by Donna Freitas

By the end of my first time reading through the YA novel “The God Box” by Alex Sanchez (a writer colleague of mine) I was sobbing. Not only is it a beautiful story of two boys who fall in love, […]

Alice Walker Goes to Gaza

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Yahoo! News reports that Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker, who wrote “The Color Purple,” is traveling to Gaza with a group of female activists to deliver aid and meet with non-governmental organizations and residents. The trip was organized by U.S. […]

Is ’24’ Over the Top or a Timely Warning?

posted by Douglas Howe

Last night’s “24” went where no television show has gone before. Senators’ staffs being run by undercover terrorists. An international dictator leading commandos into battle in Washington. A firefight in the White House. It bordered on the thin line between […]

Obama’s Reality Show

posted by Douglas Howe

Wow, talk about reality TV! Earlier this week, President Obama was on every network. He was Must See TV 2.0, the Rock Star of the campaign trail, the Teleprompter-in-Chief, “No Drama Obama” who is no longer running for office. He […]

Twitter Is Everywhere–Even on My TV!

posted by Douglas Howe

A new force seems to be taking over the airwaves: Twitter! I viewed three morning shows earlier this week and they all invited the audience to join their “Twitter” page throughout the show. Celebrities at the Oscars weren’t supposed to, […]

Israeli Election Campaign Video ‘High’light

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Today is Election Day in Israel. Most Israelis view it as a day of choice with no real choice at all– Tzipi Livni, who’s considered honest, but is unseasoned; or Benyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, who is viewed as a “failed” former […]

Be Inspired by History TV

posted by Douglas Howe

If you’ve got some people together–or just have the TV on–and the Inauguration events are getting boring, check out “History in the Making Week” on The History Channel. If they’d have taught history like this in school, I’d have been […]

President Obama, the Rock Star!

posted by Douglas Howe

President Obama is a rock star! He and his family have shown up at more parties, events, gatherings, celebrations, fundraisers and other pre-Inauguration activities than movie stars on Oscar night. And the cameras have been there. Therefore, this may be […]

The Must-est ‘Must-See-TV’ Ever!

posted by Douglas Howe

From a television–and pop culture– point of view this has been one of the longest, dramatic, and most entertaining Presidential races of all time. And it comes to an end today with the swearing in of Barack H. Obama as […]

Thoughts from The Golden Globes

posted by Douglas Howe

Fresh thoughts while my bride (of 23 years) and I watched the 65th Golden Globes, live from the same Beverly Hilton ballroom as our Senior Prom… The simple beauty of an awards show that sits friends with each other around […]

Anne Hathaway Questions Obama’s Rick Warren Pick

posted by dross

Anne Hathaway, star of the upcoming “Bride Wars,” was recently interviewed by E! Online and mentioned how peeved she is that president-elect Barack Obama has chosen pastor and “Purpose Driven Life” author Rick Warren to give the inauguration prayer. When […]

Obama’s Lucky Charms

posted by shuang

What do a Hindu monkey god, a Madonna and child, and a gambler’s chit have in common? They are just some of the tiny good luck trinkets that soon-to-be-president Barack Obama carries with him. They are charms that have been […]

Best Spiritual Read of 2008: ‘The Purpose of Christmas’

posted by Douglas Howe

A few weeks ago I received an invitation from Beliefnet co-founder and editor-in-chief teve Waldman to make note of my “Best Spiritual Read of 2008.”  One book clearly came to mind. It’s a pretty simple, straightforward book, though I’ve tried […]

Muslim Punks Grow from a Novel Inspiration

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The New York Times has a story about Muslim punk rockers, the amazing life-imitates-art phenomenon of “The Taqwacores,” a novel by Michael Muhammad Knight.  They didn’t exist until Knight’s novel started circulating in the Muslim teen community. “This book helped me […]

Rev. Warren: Pastor, Author, Debate Host, Inauguration Star

posted by Douglas Howe

Several years ago, a pastor’s son planted a church in a tough-to-reach upper middle class suburb in Southern California. For years–even decades–he shunned the spotlight to focus on his ministry. His church grew. It spun off other churches. He coached […]

Best Quotes of the Year: Where’s the Inspiration?

posted by Douglas Howe

America Online recently reported its annual list of Top Ten Quotes of the Year, as named by Fred R. Shapiro. I found the list to be somewhat entertaining, partially nostalgic but, most of all, quite less than inspiring. Tops on […]

‘Frost/Nixon': Entertainment, History and Some Work

posted by Douglas Howe

While it doesn’t open in wide release until Friday, I had a chance to see “Frost/Nixon” out in Los Angeles last week and I can’t recommend it enough–for adults who remember the time but who can now reflect on history […]

Watch Video: ‘Prop 8: The Musical’

posted by dross

John C. Reilly, Neil Patrick Harris, Jack Black, and others form a big-name cast performing “Hairspray” composer Marc Shaiman’s new online video about the gay marriage ban recently passed in California. In the musical, two rival groups–conservative Christians (headed by […]

Obama Documentary Bought by HBO

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Since his trip to Africa in 2006, Barack Obama had someone hot on his tail: Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films production company, which had been following Obama on the campaign trail of what became his successful run for U.S. President. […]

Obama Won, So Is Baldwin Canada-Bound?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Ah, Stephen Baldwin. Between your passion for your faith and your movie career, you have provided Idol Chatter with much content over the years. And during this election, you did not disappoint, vocalizing your disapproval of Barack Obama, now our […]

Celebs Speak Out Against Prop 8

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Last week’s election was historic in a major way–with the election of Barack Obama, a Democrat and a liberal supported by many Hollywood folks, it looked like racism had been retired in favor of change and that a more conservative […]

Election P.S.: Don’t Quit Campaigning!

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the more inspiring storylines to this year’s election cycle was the large number of people who went to the polls. And one of the driving forces behind that was the large amount of non-news channel coverage of the […]

Ellen’s Election Statement: One Step Forward, One Away from Equality

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Outspoken comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres just released a statement about this week’s historic election; no surprise that while she lauded the election of Barack Obama as a step forward, she was disappointed by Prop 8’s ratification.3 “Watching […]

Who Really Won the Election? The Pop Culture Winners

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Bar none, the #1 non-political winner from this year’s election process is Tina Fey. You’d be hard pressed to find another cultural figure who entered the election maelstrom a superstar and emerged a megastar. She was already having a good […]

The Real Reason Obama Wins

posted by Douglas Howe

48 years ago, there was a national Presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Those who heard it on the radio believed that Nixon won. Those who saw it on TV hailed Kennedy as the winner. Kennedy then […]

Palin to Tina Fey: Keep the ‘Sarah’ Outfit

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If Sarah Palin’s recent shout out to the well-liked TV comedy star who portrays her on Saturday Night Live is any indication, the VP candidate must be feeling pretty confident about her chances of serving her country. At a rally […]

The Great Hack: Calling Cali Geeks to Defeat Prop 8

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

You’ve heard of “The Great Schlep,” the Internet phenomenon starring comedian Sarah Silverman and urging grandkids everywhere to get down to Florida to make sure their grandparents vote (presumably for Obama). You probably haven’t heard of “The Great Hack,” so […]

Top Five Media Masquerades

posted by Douglas Howe

Halloween gives the young (and the young at heart!) a chance to dress up, play a role, wear a mask, and be something or someone they’re not. For a day. That’s the key. On this Halloween, I’ve assembled a list […]

And from L.A.: Barack O’Lanterns

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Where passion and politics meet…pumpkins. You gotta love Los Angeles. As a recent transplant from New York, I’m constantly amazed by the parade of human…um…innovation. LAist, a daily online publication about life in L.A., shared a new election-themed site called–wait […]

As Election Day Approaches, How to Start the Healing

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

This election process has been a vicious one: but you don’t have to be a racist, a sexist, or have a backwards “B” carved into your face to know that however it turns out when all the votes are counted, […]

Religious Jews Wig Out Over ‘The Palin’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Not since “the Rachel” has a hairstyle been in such demand. Jewish bloggers have been writing about this for weeks. And politics always seems to spawn merchandising. Now the NY Post reports that in the past several weeks, a wig-shop […]

Some Obama-Love from Religious Folks and Another Funny Video…

posted by Donna Freitas

So the word from the Pew Research Center is that “religious voters appear to be gradually gravitating toward Barack Obama as their pick for president.” While Obama is edging out McCain among the mainline Protestant demographic, apparently, “McCain still holds […]

‘SNL’ and The ‘Palin Effect’

posted by Douglas Howe

If John McCain is photographed holding up a “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on Election Night in two weeks, pundits and media talking heads across the country will no doubt point to the invisible “Obama Factor” as the reason for why […]

Watch: Sarah Palin on ‘SNL’

posted by dross

Did anyone catch Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend? What did you think of the Sarah Palin rap on Weekend Update? I have to say, watching her raise the roof was pretty funny.

Oliver Stone Waxes Wise on ‘W’

posted by Douglas Howe

It’s always a privilege to be in on these media conference calls, but all I needed to hear from Oliver Stone about his current film, “W,” came in a response to Fox’s Courtney Friel’s questions about his approach to the […]

Where’s the Faith?

posted by Douglas Howe

During these troubled times, with prime-time TV dominated by news channels, I wish there would be more mention of our nation’s history of turning to God in times of trouble. I’ve scanned The History Channel, PBS, CNN, FoxNews, CNBC…and I […]

The Three Debate Goofs

posted by Douglas Howe

Man, what a drag! I like writing positive posts and wanted to say something great about last night’s debate. I suppose we could say that it was civil, and perhaps we could say that no fights broke out, and perhaps […]

Sarah Silverman, The Great Schlep, and Jews Who Get Out the Vote

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay so Sarah Silverman is known for her outrageous comedy skits but this one tops all: she’s done a video urging all Jews in the United States to take Florida by storm, making a special visit to their Jewish grandparents […]

Bill Maher Attacks Faith in ‘Religulous’

posted by Donna Freitas

According to New York Times reporter John Leland, he does. In this weekend arts section article, “Cameras Roll, and Faith Hasn’t a Prayer,” Leland says that “Religulous,” which comes out October 3rd in New York City, “shows Mr. Maher on […]

Can Noah’s Ark Save New Orleans?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

An art festival called Prospect 1 New Orleans promoters call the largest exhibition ever held in the United States opens November 1st in New Orleans, and one of the largest exhibits, naturally, will be Noah’s Ark. Los Angeles-based artist Mark […]

Why Were Bristol and Jamie Lynn Treated So Differently?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Celebrity, whether in the political or entertainment sphere, usually means relinquishing control over the message of who you are and what you’re about. Members of the media smell a story and run with it, sometimes despite the truth of the […]

Watch Video: Matt Damon Compares Sarah Palin to ‘Bad Disney Movie’

posted by dross

In an interview with the Associated Press, actor Matt Damon talks about his fear that Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, will eventually become President. Check out a clip from the interview below.

O’Reilly Hosts Obama; Oprah Denies Palin

posted by Douglas Howe

Two big names in the news-talk-entertainment business sent two surprising and completely different signals over the last several days. Oprah Winfrey, perhaps the foremost advocate of opportunities for women, says she will not have Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin on […]

Penn Jillette: A Welcome Change to the Political Discussion

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s a new kind of entertainment journalism emerging these days. Or, should I say that there’s a new kind of journalistic entertainment these days? I think it’s the former. Penn Jillette–the taller, louder partner of “Penn and Teller”–has written one […]

Sarah Palin: Our Culture’s Newest Star

posted by Douglas Howe

Hell hath no fury like the media scorned. And their all-out attack on the woman who could be the new feminist icon for a new generation of young women needs to stop. Or, there just need to be some other […]

Prime-Time TV: The ‘Diverse’ Republicans!

posted by Douglas Howe

Once every four years, like the Olympics, the National Presidential Nominating Conventions are called to order. The politics is a matter for another blog, but I’d like to comment on the inspiration, entertainment, and excellence that is making this week’s […]

Andres Serrano’s Dropping Stock

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Not long ago we blogged that Andres Serrano, the artist whose photograph, “P–s Christ”–a hazy shot of a crucifix dunked in the artist’s urine–raised Cain with social conservatives back in 1989, was planning a new exhibit at a Manhattan gallery, […]

The Conventions: Life Imitates Art

posted by Douglas Howe

Did you watch the Democratic National Convention on TV Monday night? No. Neither did I. It made me think back to that “West Wing” episode of a few years ago, where the dramatic twist featured all three major television network […]

‘Blue Like Jazz’ Author Will Pray for the Democrats Tonight

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Though I utterly despise the political conventions of any party, I guess I am going to have to watch at least part of the Democratic National Convention tonight out of curiousity. It seems that Donald Miller, author of the spiritual […]

Must-See TV: McCain and Obama at Saddleback Church

posted by Douglas Howe

Well, if you’re tiring of the Olympics, or can’t afford the gas to drive to a movie theatre, or can’t afford the popcorn after you buy the gas, there’ll be a relevant, interesting, and hopefully inspiring show that you can […]

Bernie Mac: Another ‘Done Too Soon’

posted by Douglas Howe

Add another one, Neil Diamond, to your “Done Too Soon” lyrics: Bernie Mac is gone at 50. Although he rose from a poor upbringing to become a household comedic name, there was always a sense that there was more genius […]

McCain and Obama’s Favorite Superheroes

posted by Douglas Howe

Presumed presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama have revealed their favorite pop culture icons, including superheroes, with McCain favoring Batman and Obama, Spider-Man and Batman, according to Reuters. I find myself asking two glaring questions: 1. Was this a […]

Jib Jab–For You, Too!

posted by Douglas Howe

The spirit of Bob Dylan, Johnny Carson and political cartoonists everywhere is alive and well in the newest (and best) political satire entertainment on the web. The folks at Jib Jab have again risen to the challenge of creating political […]

Been There, Dung That

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The art of Andres Serrano has been derided in the crudest ways. Now it seems those comments, at least the most potty-mouthed, are all true. The artist, who has long experimented with bodily fluids in his photographs, will display his […]

The Passion of Stephen Colbert?!

posted by Donna Freitas

Esquire Magazine’s August 2008 cover is of none other than the king of comedy (at least according to me), Stephen Colbert, posing as a jolly St. Sebastian! St. Sebastian is the Patron Saint of, among many other things, athletes, and […]

Mel’s Dad Friends Ron Paul

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Don’t you hate when your parents try to be cool and get on MySpace? Mel Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, famous for his crackpot Catholicism and his doubts about the historicity of the Holocaust, has reportedly erected his own page on […]

Saint Ron Paul? At Least According to Remaining Supporters…

posted by Donna Freitas

John McCain may have sealed the Republican nomination, but apparently libertarian Ron Paul’s supporters are not only hanging on, they are approaching his continued campaign with all the fervor of religious zealots, according to a New York Times Sunday Styles […]

Unlit Candle: Awareness of Oppression During the Festival of Freedom

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Every year, Jews celebrate Passover, the Festival of Freedom, often using the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the holiday’s themes: oppression, freedom, and liberation. When I was growing up, our synagogues and schools urged us to remember the […]

British Author Barred from Entering U.S. for Reasons of ‘Morality’

posted by Donna Freitas

Apparently, U.S. Customs is not only protecting citizens from terrorists entering the country, but also from British writers with questionable morals. In this week’s New York Times “Possessed” column, David Colman writes about “infamously debauched writer” Sebastian Horsley and his […]

Politico Pop: Purloined Campaign Anthems

posted by Ellen Leventry

There’s a serious ethical issue that surrounds this year’s presidential campaign. No, it’s not pulling out of the war in Iraq or universal healthcare, but a little thing known as campaign music clearance, a point illustrated once again by Democrat […]

And Idol Chatter Predicts It (sort of): Haysbert Endorses Obama

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

We don’t often gloat here at Idol Chatter. But last week we published a post by guest blogger John Brooks, who wrote about Obama as “America’s Second Black President,” second to David Palmer, who rose to Presidential power via the […]

America’s Second Black President? Barack Obama Follows President Palmer’s Path

posted by Idol Chatter

Young, bright-eyed, handsome and charismatic to the core; an optimist and a visionary with a profound ability to evoke a deeply rooted, and perhaps dormant, sense of populism in the hearts and minds of Americans. Yes, it has hardly gone […]

Philip Pullman Redux: My Last Word

posted by Donna Freitas

New Line’s Cinema’s December 7th film release of “The Golden Compass” could not have come any sooner. I’d begun counting the days a while ago–not because I was dying to see the movie–I already saw it twice. But because December […]

Today’s Romney Speech: Must-See TV?

posted by Douglas Howe

Mitt Romney has a big televised speech today. Because there’s anticipation, intrigue and drama surrounding one of the more interesting TV speech events since Bill Clinton’s “apology,” this makes for great TV. Many politicos, evangelical leaders and media members have […]

Unforgiven: Don Imus Returns

posted by Paul O'Donnell

It’s especially cruel to hear that Imus is back in the middle of my local public radio station’s pledge drive. After being hounded off his morning radio and cable TV slot for referring to Rutgers University’s women’s basketball team in […]

Bill Donohue Attacks Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass” Movie

posted by Donna Freitas

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, is at it again. Known for his hard-hitting attacks on, well, just about anything and everything (including Miller beer), Donohue has decided to settle on one big target for the time being. On […]

Top Ten Most Inspiring On-Screen Presidents

posted by Douglas Howe

In this season of unending presidential coverage, debates, campaigning, newsmagazine teases, ad infinitum and ad nauseam, I figured it’d be a good time to reflect on some of the most inspiring presidents of our generation–on the big screen and the […]

Video: Obama Girl vs Giuliani Girl

posted by dross

If you haven’t already seen this music video, check it out. It’s in response to the widely popular “I Got a Crush on Obama” video that circulated the Internet last month.

Romney’s Not The First Mormon to Run for President

posted by Douglas Howe

When I was growing up, my mom taught me there were three things not to talk about in public: religion, sex and politics. Don’t worry, this post won’t be about sex! But Republican Mitt Romney’s candidacy is igniting conversations about […]

Best Protest Songs of All Time?

posted by Douglas Howe

The lead feature going out to America Online’s millions of subscribers this weekend named the Top Twenty Protest Songs of All-Time, from spinner.com’s “The Hit List.” I thought it was a decent start, but the list lacked some that are […]

On “Live Earth,” Ratings, and Evangelicals

posted by Douglas Howe

“Live Earth: Ratings Blockbuster” it was not, but “Live Earth: Concerts for a Climate in Crisis” still drew a record web-audience and drew decent enough television ratings to raise some bucks and hopefully generate increased awareness for the cause. With […]

A Living Goddess Goes to Washington

posted by Donna Freitas

Sajani Shakya, a beautiful 10-year-old girl from Nepal, is currently enjoying her first trip to Washington, D.C. According to New York Times reporter Neela Banerjee, Sajani hopes to, among other things, go to the zoo and ride a roller coaster […]

Election ’08: A New (Better!) Version of an Old Series

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the newest versions of an old TV series is off and running, and I think it shows signs of being the best its ever been–and the most faith-based as well. Like “American Idol,” the losers will dwindle towards […]

And a Muppet Shall Lead Them

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Politicians? Diplomats? World leaders? Does anyone know what to do with the Middle East conflict? It seems to be the consensus that children in the region learn from their parents and the society that surrounds them–and those messages are hard […]

Some Good Political News?!?!

posted by Douglas Howe

The national reality show that is our national political stage plays on several cable news shows and network news and newsmagazines. There was a great plot twist–and the deepening of a main character’s character–that went largely overlooked last week, which […]

Memo to CNN: There’s No ‘EvangeliPope’

posted by Douglas Howe

I think the media has been propagating a dramatic myth for a long, long time and it does a disservice to our culture and our country. I wish someone would please tell them that I am not an EvangeliCatholic, although […]

In Iran: Sex, Lies, and Videotape

posted by dali

Paris Hilton was plagued last year by the wide-spread internet distribution of a private video, as was Pamela Anderson more than 10 years ago. But while these actors (if you can call them actors) faced humiliation, the loss of privacy, […]

“Santa Came!” And Polls Have Just Opened…

posted by Douglas Howe

The truest “reality TV” of all commences today, as the news networks are lined up for our viewership as much as the candidates are seeking our vote. Why? Because the drama of the entertainment portion of today overlaps with the […]

Best Word on Haggard

posted by Douglas Howe

Yes it’s election day and the Ted Haggard story news cycle has probably (hopefully?) run its course. But after the treatment on CNN and Fox, Leno and Letterman, and just about every other news and comedy outlet, I found the […]

Just in Time for Mid-Term Elections

posted by dali

Interested in some President Bush-bashing? Two new films–one about the Dixie Chicks’ grudge match with the president, and the other a mockumentary about the fictional assassination of the president–were released on Friday. I haven’t seen either, but both are being […]

The Culture of Entertainment News

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s a new version of an old mini-series that’s sure to be a ratings grabber for the next week or so. The stakes are high, the subplots are numerous, and the cast features old stars and emerging new characters. As […]

Battle of the Network Stars

posted by Ellen Leventry

The “Show Me” state’s airwaves have been overrun with showmen these past two weeks, leading up to a hotly contested Senate race between incumbent between Republican Sen. Jim Talent, who opposes an embryonic stem cell initiative, and Democratic challenger Claire […]

Finally! A Relevant Campaign Commercial

posted by Douglas Howe

Blogging about negative campaigning could seem as old and trite as blogging about taxes: There’s a sense that it’s never gonna change. We even have news networks whose bias is so pervasive that their negativity (or positivity) about certain causes […]

Are Evangelicals Green?

posted by Patton Dodd

Why are environmental ethics treated with such suspicion among evangelicals? It’s a question that has bugged me for years, but the answer is an easy one: because evangelicals, by and large, vote Republican. I often argue that evangelicals are not […]

Previous Posts

Dancing With the Stars Kicks off Season 21
You may have seen the Nae-Nae celebration dances on the commercials announcing season 21 of Dancing With the Stars kicking off on Monday, September 14th 8 - 10 p.m. ET on ABC. This season, Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will host the series. ...

posted 9:34:35am Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Wes Craven, Godfather of Horror Films, Dies at 76
Wes Craven best known as the godfather of horror films passed away August 30, 2015 after a battle with brain cancer. Craven, a director, writer, producer and actor, is best known for films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Scream series, ...

posted 8:39:27am Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

90 Minutes in Heaven Hits Theaters Sept 11th
90 Minutes in Heaven is the film based on Don Piper, who died in a highway accident, experienced heaven and returned to face severe physical, emotional and spiritual challenges—has landed a distribution deal with Samuel Goldwyn Films. The ...

posted 11:32:37am Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

WM. Paul Young's Book "Eve" Hits Shelves Soon
After selling 25 million copies of his bestseller The Shack, author WM. Paul Young has written a new novel that will be one of the best books of our time - Eve. When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the ...

posted 12:01:28pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

The True Story Behind ‘Woodlawn’ Will Amaze You
The highly-anticipated film, ‘Woodlawn’ is a powerful story of courage, strength, and football in the midst of impassioned racial tensions in Birmingham, Alabama in the early ‘70s. New football coach, Tandy Gerelds was struggling to put ...

posted 9:04:51am Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

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