The Nose

Chion Wolf

This week a rodeo clown made news when he wore an Obama mask for a routine that straddled the line between permissible lampooning of a president and unsettling evocations of a lone black man being chased and menaced while a white crowd cheered and jeered. How do we resolve those two strains at the moment? There's our belief in loud, lusty rebuke to people in power and our sense that some depictions of black and white kick historical tripwires and throw us back to 1861.

Flickr Creative Commons, marcn

Are you ready for a woman to lead the country? Is it Hillary you want? And there seems to be no end to so called inappropriate behavior in the Anthony Weiner campaign.

This week, his spokeswoman used a few ugly words to describe a former intern, adding to an already disappointing stereotype about female bosses. Do bad words cut deeper when they come from women?

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I find it difficult to think about the mess currently embroiling Anthony Weiner without also thinking about Virginia Johnson, who died this week at 88. She was one half of Masters and Johnson, the research and writing duo who opened up sex as a discussable topic.

Chion Wolf

Over the last ten years, one of the hottest trends in television has been the 13-episode story arc, with each of the first 12 ending in cliffhangers and question marks.

Right on the heels of that came binge watching, which amounts to blowing past the stop sign of each cliff hanger and instantly moving onto the next episode.

'Much Ado' About Wendy Davis' Abortion Filibuster

Jun 28, 2013
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Flickr Creative Commons, ejmc

The Nose Bids Farewell To James Gandolfini

Jun 21, 2013
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Wikimedia Commons

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Ordinarily on The Nose, we don't dive right into hard news, but it's hard to ignore the disclosures from the last few days about FISA, phones, PRISM and government access to Internet servers.

Flickr Creative Commons, ElectronicFrontierFoundation

Ordinarily on The Nose, we don't dive right into hard news, but it's hard to ignore the disclosures from the last few days about FISA, phones, PRISM and government access to Internet servers.

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I'm one of those odd people who still gets physical newspapers thrown into his driveway.

On Monday, I was paging trough the New York Times and came upon Angelina Jolie's now-famous essay about her decision to have her breasts removed preventively, after learning of her high genetic risk factor for beast cancer. I had the odd sensation of looking at my laptop on a nearby table and knowing that, inside it, a massive cyber-conversation was unfolding.  

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It has been widely reported -- but not heavily discussed -- that Charles and David Koch are the leading suitors to buy the eight newspapers belonging to the Tribune Company. One of those eight newspapers is the Hartford Courant.

Editor B, Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons, Tony Fischer Photography

We had a big menu of things we could talk about on The Nose this week, but there was no possibility we weren't going to tackle "Accidental Racist,' the collaboration between country star Brad Paisely and rap star LL Cool J, mainly because of all the heat and light this song as generated among journalists and critics. 

Chion Wolf

Today on the Nose, we're going to talk about looks. 

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This week two parallels drama unfolded before the eyes of the nation.

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What a week.  Here's what we're tackling on The Nose today.

Well, we can't NOT talk about Pope Francis. I'm fascinated by his austere lifestyle and how it's going to mesh with the high-ranking cardinals in the Curia, who mostly do not live that way at all.

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On the Nose today: Have you seen so many post apocalyptic movies and read so many books like "The Road" and those Justin Cronin novels, that you're almost too exhausted to participate in your actual dystopian future?

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We're doing something a little unusual on The Nose today. We're spending pretty much the whole show on one topic -- transgressive humor.


I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and the subject came to a boil last weekend when Seth MacFarlane, who specializes in tasteless and sophomoric material, hosted the Oscars and gave the international audience a heaping dose of what he's known for.


Chion Wolf

So what kind of Oscar year is this? One in which two best picture nominees have been criticized by members of Congress for their inaccuracies. The dust-up between Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney and screenwriter Tony Kushner is the more benign. Courtney asked director Stephen Spielberg to re-edit the film before it goes to DVD. He's concerned that classroom use of the film will pass along an untruth -- that two members of the Connecticut delegation voted against ratification of the 13th Amendment. Kushner, a mensch in my personal experience, has been surprisingly testy.

Flickr Creative Commons, midwestnerd

It seemed this week that we were living in a Jonathan Franzen novel -- or maybe a collaboration between Franzen and his long-departed buddy David Foster Wallace. A cruise ship so impaired that passengers spent days pooping in bags. A flurry of accusations back and forth between a great newspaper and the inventor of an electric car.

Chion Wolf

It feels good to do radio in a big snow storm. Can I read some cancellations? Episcopalian Primal Scream of Newington, the Little Bitty Bitty Ducky Dirty Diaper Day Car, Etruscan Goat Dancing, are all canceled.

The poet Bill Collins writes of:

"The government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling."

Flickr Creative Commons, Anderson Mancini

I have come to believe that of all things bright and beautiful on God's green earth, there aren't very many that can't be ground up and mixed with something else and used as either an aphrodisiac or a performance enhancing sports supplement. Or both.

From intestinal whale secretions to blister beetles to monkey glands to rhino horns, everything seems to have a use.

Flickr Creative Commons, light lady

In the Satyricon by Petronius, I know, is that a pretentious opening or what? We read about the feast of Trimalchio. It's long, it's opulent, and precious.

It's a satire of the moires of the moment. But them, as we digest it, it's a little more than that. It's an Instagram of a moment in time. It's all about a monied class completely out of touch and, implicitly, about an empire grown top heavy with spoils.

lwpkommunikacio, Flickr Creative Commons

I made today's Nose panelists go see Zero Dark Thirty, just to make sure we all had one controversy we could discuss.


That was before I realized how generous the week would be with controversy. The labyrinthine story of football player Manti Te'o and his imaginary girlfriend sneaked up on me. That's the fresh sports scandal making the wires buzz right now.

 But last night's sit-down between Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong breathed new life into an old sports scandal.