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American political celebrity

At a recent event for a 2020 Democratic hopeful, I was struck by a question from the audience. Cloaked in a floral dress and cool demeanor, the woman ever-so-slightly raised her hand. “I saw you speak in New York a few weeks ago. You were different – subdued, diplomatic, placating. Is this just the California version of you? Who’s the real you, Senator?”

Natalie Portman keeps the uneven ‘Jackie’ grounded

Towards the middle of Pablo Larraín’s “Jackie,” First Lady Jackie Kennedy announces that she would like to stage a grand funeral procession to honor her murdered husband. President Johnson’s security detail is concerned. What if President Kennedy’s assassination was just the first event in a wide-ranging conspiracy? A Secret Service member tells Attorney General Robert…

In defense of paranoia

The existence of absurd programs in the past does not mean that any of the other conspiracy theories are true. Nor does it mean that the American government is fundamentally malicious, or out to harm its citizens. However, given the extensive list of too-crazy-to-be-true events that have actually occurred, a healthy skepticism is more than warranted.