Today's Cultural Paradigm: Audacious Women with Impressive Racks

We're dreaming of the days when Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller. Why are today's celebrities associated with mediocre intelligence and a modicum of moral sensibility? 

What's the Latest Development?


Nobody should fault you for ruminating on celebrity news. Evolutionary psychologists say our attraction toward successful people is a subconscious strategy for passing on our genes. But there was a time, says Simon Doonan, when accomplished celebrities held our attention. Perhaps you've read somewhere that Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller? Unless it's all a clever ruse, we associate many celebrities of our day with an inability to demonstrate even a mediocre level of intelligence or a modicum of moral sensibility. The central figures of our pop culture are 'audacious women with impressive racks'. 

What's the Big Idea?

Why have we shunned the likes of Rudolph Nureyev, Mahalia Jackson and Bertrand Russell? Blame it on our soft society, says Doonan, where everyone is special and nobody is a loser. "We are fearful of accomplished people because they can do stuff that we cannot do, and giving them the spotlight would un-level the playing field. We are, as a result, much more comfortable with the famous-for-nothing paradigm, because then, we, the great unexceptional masses, still have shot at celebrity." Are we just engaging in celebrity bashing, which is its own form of devotion, or can we earnestly demand more enlightened cultural figures? 

Photo credit: Lee James Cox/Shutterstock.com


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less