1. “The Dark Powers of Fraternities.” A yearlong investigation of Greek houses reveals their endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems—and a sophisticated system for shifting the blame.
“The notion that fraternities are target defendants did not hold true in my investigation. College students can (and do) fall out of just about any kind of residence, of course. But during the period of time under consideration, serious falls from fraternity houses on the two Palouse campuses far outnumbered those from other types of student residences, including privately owned apartments occupied by students. I began to view Amanda Andaverde’s situation in a new light. Why are so many colleges allowing students to live and party in such unsafe locations? And why do the lawsuits against fraternities for this kind of serious injury and death—so predictable and so preventable—have such a hard time getting traction? The answers lie in the recent history of fraternities and the colleges and universities that host them.”
2. ” Judi Dench on Beating Failing Eyesight, Bad Knees and Retirement.” The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the 79-year-old Philomena Oscar nominee, who has been largely absent from the awards campaign trail, to discuss the impact of her macular degeneration, her “best friend” and why she still works 12-hour days.
“As the legendary Judi Dench nears her 80th birthday, she is enjoying as great a third act as any actor ever has. In January, for her performance as a mother searching for her long-lost child in Stephen Frears’ Philomena (which is based on the true story of Philomena Lee), she landed her seventh Oscar nomination; all of them, including her best supporting actress win for just eight minutes of work in Shakespeare in Love, have come in the past 16 years, since she turned 63. And, despite macular degeneration, which has robbed her of most of her eyesight, and recent knee surgery, which has hobbled her movement, the Dame has no plans of slowing down her schedule anytime soon.”
3. “Being Human Seems Enough.” Jennifer Lawrence of American Hustle Adds Evidence of Star Quality.
“From Ms. Lawrence’s interviews, her off-screen mugging, photo bombing and Marty Feldman-caliber eye popping, she doesn’t appear especially interested in playing the star; being human seems enough for now. That isn’t as easy as it sounds given how profoundly difficult it’s become for stars to have anything like a private life—to walk to a yoga class or pass out drunk in a friend’s car—without becoming fodder for tabloids and gossip sites. Some stars handle the lack of privacy disastrously, feeding the beast even as it eats them, while others turn their lives into performances that they deliver one item at a time, as Angelina Jolie brilliantly does. Many just smile and repeat the same canned answers about how thrilling it was to work with this other famous person.”
4. “After Normal” Looking, Michael Sam, and the state of gay culture.
“Episode 5 was a movie unto itself. For one day, the other characters ceased to exist. The world seemed to stop in order for one man to understand the other better. The day began and ended in bed, but included a train ride, a stroll through Golden Gate Park to the Morrison Planetarium, a conversation at Ocean Beach, and a visit to a fortune-teller. If you were down on or ambivalent about Looking, if you found it boring or lazy or flavorless, if you were still feeling it out, this was the episode meant to push you off the fence. Patrick and Richie’s morning-after date doubles as a treatise on how to turn love into discourse without losing the balance of romance and comedy, not unlike those Richard Linklater movies with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke—this would be Before Outer Sunset. ’Look at what we’re finding out about each other,’ Patrick says. ’Neither of us has AIDS. You don’t like your teeth. You have bad taste in movies.’ At the Morrison, a conversation about anal-sex terminology and its limitations begins with them gazing up at the stars. Richie is reminded of the time on Friends that Ross took Rachel to a planetarium on their first real date.”
5. “Let the Witness Speak.” In Claude Lanzmann’s new Holocaust documentary The Last of the Unjust, the line between right and wrong blurs.
“The Last of the Unjust fleshes out much of the Holocaust’s berserk paradigm, in particular the basic moral dilemma between resistance’s capacity for additional destruction and cooperation’s potential for saving lives. Murmelstein is relentlessly self-justifying, but you come away with the unarguable sense that the position in which the rabbi was put—the position in which every Jew was put—was essentially impossible, and cannot be dissected or assessed in an ordinary social context. Conclusions about survivors’ behavior should always be drawn with superhuman prudence.”
Video of the Day: The Sacrament gets a Red Band trailer:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.