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Cursing at the Emmys

You'd be forgiven if you were watching the Emmys on Sunday night and thought that Ray Romano said "fucking." That's because in the middle of Romano's joke about his former on-screen wife Patricia Heaton sleeping with her new on-screen beau Kelsey Grammer, the Fox censors used their seven-second buffer to cut awkwardly away from the presenter. While some articles that mention the incident reveal that the actual term used was "screwing" (and thus not particularly offensive), many media outlets are so worried about the delicate sensibilities of their readers that they fail to clear up the confusion. Here are a few examples:


Grading the Box Office

Of the goofy things that many media outlets regularly report on, Hollywood box-office numbers are perhaps the silliest. There's little connection between these numbers and the quality of the films (duh) or even how much profit the films will end up making. (As Slate's David Edelstein points out, the high cost of advertising means that most films lose money at the box office.) Even if we're to give some sort of merit to these numbers, the fact that these receipts are measured only in non-adjusted dollar amounts means that we today's numbers have a major built-in advantage to those of previous years.


Reviewers on 'The Simpsons Movie': 'The Lesson Is, Never Try'

The Simpsons Movie is about to open, which means that the world's newspapers are now flooded with reviews packed to the gills with our favorite Simpsonisms. (Or at least the ones that translate relatively unawkwardly to headlines; so far, we haven't come across any reviews titled, "This Movie Smells Like Cat Food.") But as Slate points out today, reviewers have already tapped into characters like Mr. Burns for inspiration, even if they can't seem to agree on whether the movie was any good or not:


When Fake Food Becomes Fact

This past weekend, to promote the upcoming Simpsons Movie, 7-Eleven transformed a dozen of its stores in various parts of the country into full-fledged Kwik-E-Marts, the convenience store from the TV show. While these stores will go back to being 7-Elevens soon, several other stores first seen in television and movies have been reified as lasting tributes to the fiction that inspired them.


Getting to the Bottom of 'Fanny'

There are a handful of ubiquitous classic rock songs from the '70s that always seem to pop up on the radio, in advertisements, and on movie soundtracks. In addition to a catchy chorus and lengthy duration, many of these songs share something else: a muddled meaning. We're not talking about the confusing lyrics that Kiss This Guy has teased out; we mean the near-scholarly debate that has emerged on the web about the significance of certain lyrics. Below, Gelf examines a few of the most contentious and popular songs, and considers the question, is "The Weight" really about getting the clap?


The Next Bad Thing

If the creators of the new sci-fi premonition thriller starring Nicholas Cage could really see into the future, perhaps they wouldn't have named their film Next. Reviewers have taken the lame title for the equally lame movie and, predictably, turned it into a cutting criticism of the work. Here are a few headline samples:


Ignorance 1, Nike 0

"Thank you, ignorance." That's the first line of a full-page Nike ad on race and sports that appeared in Sunday's edition of the New York Times. (According to AdAge, the same ad will be run on several websites as well.) The ad thanks Imus—without naming him—for "unintentionally moving women's sport forward" by focusing attention on the Rutgers women's basketball team. Or, as the ad copy goes, for "making an entire nation listen to the Rutger's team story."


On Snorting Ashes

In a recent interview with NME, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said he snorted his dead father's ashes. Richards' exact quote: "The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow." Richards has now issued a statement saying his comments shouldn't be taken seriously. His manager, Jane Rose told the BBC News that Richards remarks were "in jest." Whether true or not, Richards isn't the first to have the idea of inhaling the dead.


The Lost Boys Speak Out

Ishmael Beah's book A Long Way Gone is enjoying its sixth week near the top of the New York Times bestsellers list and is receiving lots of sparkling reviews. The book is an autobiographical account of Beah's life in war-torn Sierra Leone, where he was given an AK-47 and strong drugs at age 12 and sent off to kill. (The Oscar-nominated film Blood Diamond is also, in part, about the trials of another child soldier in the same war.) But Beah's isn't the only story of children in an African nation struggling with violence, starvation, and civil war. Recently, books and films inspired, narrated, or written by young survivors of these conflicts have increased tremendously in number and popularity.


Of Movies and Math Jokes

If you're thinking about seeing the new Jim Carrey flick The Number 23, you should check out the reviews first. They just might convince you to save yourself a Hamilton or two. This quasi-thriller is supposed to be about a man who becomes obsessed with how the number 23 presents itself in all areas of his life, but the plot never really comes together or makes any sense. Or, as over 30 different reviewers and their editors put it, the movie "doesn't add up." And there are plenty of other math clichés to throw at this crappy movie.

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