Why American Satire Doesn’t Need Jon Stewart

The Daily Show Host Made an Old Tradition New Again—Which Is Why We’ll Do Just Fine without Him

Like the legions of other admirers of Jon Stewart, I’m eager to hear who will
succeed him at The Daily Show. In my research on political satire around the world, Stewart has impressed me as one of satire’s most effective and influential performers.

The Daily Show started in 1996 as a parody of conventional newscasts with a focus on pop culture rather than politics. So when Comedy Central announced in 1999 that Jon Stewart would be taking over with an increased emphasis on political satire, I was delighted. I looked forward …

When Will Hollywood Figure Out That Diversity Sells?

The Most Successful Movies and TV Shows Reflect America’s Demographics, But Executives, Writers, and Directors Are Still Catching On

Just a few days after an Academy Awards ceremony that host Neil Patrick Harris joked honored “Hollywood’s best and whitest,” entertainment insiders at a “Thinking L.A.” event co-presented by Zócalo, …

Hollywood UFD statues

Why Can’t Hollywood Tell America’s Stories?

Our Onscreen Heroes Are White Men. But Most of Us Aren’t.

The 2015 Oscars broadcast will reflect the demographics of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters—who are overwhelmingly older Anglo men—but it won’t reflect the demographics of the …

Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson

Has California’s Greatest Filmmaker Lost His Focus?

Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights Were Golden State Masterpieces, But Inherent Vice Is Just Incoherent

Has Hollywood’s foremost interpreter of California lost his touch?

That may seem a strange question to ask now that said interpreter—the writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson—is up for a screenwriting Oscar at …

Necessity Is the Source of Eddie Van Halen’s Inventions

The Path to Rock Superstardom Involves Immigration, Experimentation, and the Occasional Electrocution

Rock legend Eddie Van Halen didn’t set out to change the way the guitar was played. But, as he explained to a standing-room-only crowd at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of …

The Electric Guitar’s Long, Strange Trip

From Its Gentle 16th-Century Acoustic Origins to the Souped-Up ‘Frankenstein’

I remember the first time I saw Eddie Van Halen on MTV, the way he played two hands on the fingerboard during his short “Jump” guitar solo. I loved his …