Erin Keane

'Govern me, daddy': How Kentucky's Governor Andy Beshear became a clean-cut sex symbol for the coronavirus age

Of all the wild turns 2020 could have taken, I doubt anyone had "Kentucky's new governor becomes a sex symbol during the coronavirus crisis" on their bingo card, but here we are. Or rather, here we were until Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, 42, delivered a loving yet stern call-out during his press briefing Wednesday to defiant bingo halls that weren't closing to enforce social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These updates, live-streamed daily at 5 p.m. Eastern time, have become must-see and -listen events for Kentuckians thanks to Beshear's combo of trustworthy information, empathy, and uplifting we're all in this together messages. "If you are a bingo parlor in Pike County, you ought to be closed by the end of today," he said, with unmistakable concern in his eyes. "Those parlors cater to an older and more at-risk crowd." Forget being brave enough to face the toilet paper-hoarding supermarket crowds, there's a new benchmark for courage: Andy Beshear's not scared of angering stir-crazy grandmothers in order to protect his people.

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Here are 7 must-read novels to kick off 2020 right

The new year brings so many tantalizing possibilities, including a resolution to read more – whether it's to fulfill a shiny new book challenge for 2020 or just fill your brain with something more nourishing than the noise from the depressing news cycle and social media. This is a chance to make a new author discovery, enjoy the next bestseller, or even possibly change your life. It's a new decade; bring on the books!

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Now that Ivanka can't pretend there's not a gigantic mess in the White House, she appeals to her core audience

On Thursday, as the House of Representatives voted to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, his Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump — first daughter, daughter first — met the extraordinary circumstances of this historic moment with an unusual reaction of her own: She acknowledged that the dumpster she’s sitting in is actually on fire.

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Ronan Farrow's high-wire act: Why it matters that 'Catch and Kill' is such a page-turner

Most stories about journalism, outside of active war zone reporting, are not exactly thrilling to observe. Journalism itself — the grinding, sometimes grubby, day-to-day practice of it — rarely is. A lot of the work behind even the most explosive stories can be tedious; for every heart-racing secret meeting in a parking garage, there are thousands of hours spent waiting to be called back by people who do not really want to call you back. Even acclaimed films like “The Post” and “Spotlight” — built around the biggest, era-defining investigations — must work their cinematic tension exquisitely to make document diving and note taking exciting enough to watch, let alone stand for Best Picture.

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Americans are sitting so much it's becoming a public health issue

It seems that exercise trends and a rise in the popularity of standing desks have not been doing much for our sedentary lifestyles: A new study finds that American are sitting more than we were 10 years ago.

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The paradox of toxic masculinity: Why gender norms are set up to privilege straight white men — who in turn 'are eating themselves alive'

Novelist Jared Yates Sexton catapulted onto the national media radar in 2016 when his dispatches from Donald Trump presidential campaign rallies — prompting me to ask him once, "how does a nice creative writing professor end up covering the presidential election?" — revealed a cultural insider's perspective on the rise of Trump. He avoided the press pen and moved among Trump's rowdiest supporters, where he was able to observe up close the toxic levels of white-male rage directed at Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and their supporters, which Trump exploited all the way to the White House.

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Game of Thrones recap: Don’t send a king to do an assassin’s job

The opening shot of “The Long Night,” episode three of the final “Game of Thrones” season — which we know will bring the fight between the dead and the living, foretold in that very first episode, to Winterfell — is a close-up of a pair of shaking hands. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is not a warrior — he knows this, we know this — but the scholar and former Night’s Watchman has refused to hide in the crypts with the women and children, so into his trembling hands a pair of dragonglass daggers go. The dead are coming, and if they’re lucky the ensuing battle will make heroes of a few, along with the expected martyrs. A good deal more will be slain on the field, where the best they can hope for then is to stay dead where they fall.(Melanie McFarland, Salon’s TV critic and your regular guide to “Game of Thrones” episodes, is off this weekend, so you’re stuck with me, a person who dreads long battle scenes so much she signed up to recap one of the most important in TV history to date. Just picture me in Night King “bring it” stance.)Even the battleworn among them are terrified, with good reason. If you want to make the Lord of Light LOL, make plans. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) skulks off to the crypts, wine sack in hand, to wait it out with Varys (Conleth Hill) and the women and kids. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is wheeled to his rendezvous with death, the blood-red leaves of the godswood rising menacingly above the ramparts, where Theon (Alfie Allen) and a handful of extras will guard him until the Night King comes to finish old business.

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'They were our electorate': David Carr's daughter explains why MSNBC, CNN and Fox News elected Donald Trump

Documentary filmmaker Erin Lee Carr is known for her incisive portraits of complicated, dark subjects: "Mommy Dead and Dearest," the HBO documentary that led the current media avalanche of attention on Munchausen syndrome by proxy victim Gypsy Rose Blanchard's murder of her mother Dee Dee; "Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop" and "I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter," both of which, like "Mommy Dead and Dearest," examine the intersections of technology and criminal law; and "At the Heart of Gold," premiering this month at Tribeca Film Festival, about the U.S. gymnastics team sexual abuse survivors whose powerful statements at the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar captivated a nation in the midst of reckoning openly with the #MeToo movement.

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Is Amy Klobuchar is being smeared by sexist 'mean boss' stories?

On Friday, the New York Times published a story with a deceptively understated headline: “How Amy Klobuchar Treats Her Staff.” The first implication carried by such a headline is “poorly,” of course — happy workplace families, being all alike, are not stories. The second is “exceptionally so,” positioned as crucial information for voters to have going forward into the interminable Democratic presidential primary.

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'There's no way to save up money': 'Maid' author Stephanie Land on the rigged math of being poor

"I'm sorry I'm so distracted," Stephanie Land says to me. Not that I could tell.  At that point we had been on the phone for 45 minutes talking about her new memoir "Maid," which chronicles the years she spent working as a housecleaner, balancing hard physical labor in a low-wage, high-stress job with single parenting and college, and throughout our conversation Land's focus has not ever appeared to waver.

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Here's what a skeptic learned from consulting psychics, astrologers, tarot readers, empaths and more

Victoria Loustalot didn't set out to write another memoir, exactly, when she decided to spend a year interviewing psychics, astrologers, tarot card readers, shamans and other mystic art professionals about their work to examine what's real, what's fake and what's just wishful thinking in the relationship between them and their customers and fans. Unlike her acclaimed memoir "How You Say Goodbye," this story — "a skeptic's search for an honest mystic," as it's billed — wasn't initially meant to be about a personal journey. And yet a psychic she visited on a bachelorette party trip gave her a preview of a future relationship that ended up coming eerily true, and after she embarked down the path of investigation that became her new book "Future Perfect," she told me, "it ended up being by far one of my most personal projects."

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins the rigged conservative shame game - by refusing to play

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can’t win.

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A literature professor explains what everyone gets wrong about Hunter S. Thompson

It's easy to appreciate Hunter S. Thompson first and foremost for his style, for that famous Gonzo prose knocked off so often (and often so poorly) it's almost startling to revisit his work and realize how clear-eyed and articulate both his fear and loathing always were on the page. In Timothy Denevi's new biography, "Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson's Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism," fear and loathing receive a re-appraisal as the rhetorical framework that Thompson employed deliberately and with very specific ends in mind while creating some of the most influential journalism of the 1960s and '70s.

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With Kavanaugh's Confirmation, the Patriarchy Strikes Back

When Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, made the dramatic announcement on Friday afternoon that she would vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, she took pains to paint herself first as supportive of Christine Blasey Ford, the professor who testified to the Senate that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school (an allegation the judge denied under oath), and of the #MeToo movement in general.

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Missing Melania: Here's Why Wild Theories About the First Lady Aren’t Going to Stop

For about a month there, Melania Trump went missing.

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The 'Roseanne' Revival We Really Needed is the One They’d Never Make

In the end, ABC’s experiment of reviving “Roseanne” — a sitcom once beloved for its portrayal of the loving and lovingly imperfect working-class Connor family during a time when such families were hard to come by on primetime — was a failure.

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'Bullsh*t Jobs' is the One Book Every Millennial and Generation Z New Graduate Should Read

When I graduated college in the late ’90s, I carried forth into the cold wage-paying world the career wisdom of Lloyd Dobler on how to avoid losing my soul to undesirable work. Big-hearted slacker Lloyd (John Cusack), the hero of Cameron Crowe’s 1989 romantic comedy “Say Anything,” is asked by the father (the late, great John Mahoney) of his date, valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye, in a once-in-a-generation role), what he wants to do now that they have graduated from high school.

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It's Too Early To Forgive Male Celebrities Taken Down By #MeToo

Even F. Scott Fitzgerald learned — flogged-to-death quote from his unfinished novel “The Last Tycoon” notwithstanding — that second acts in American lives are possible, as he wrote in his less-frequently quoted essay “My Lost City”: “I once thought that there were no second acts in American lives, but there was certainly to be a second act to New York’s boom days.”

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Should We Let 'Roseanne' Speak for the Rust Belt?

ABC’s “Roseanne” revival is officially a hit, and not only because it’s reaping the fruits of network TV nostalgia like “Will & Grace” and “Fuller House” before it. Because of the scrutiny the national media has placed on voters like those at the center of the show — a working-class household headed by white Baby Boomers with high school educations in post-industrial middle America — “Roseanne” is under the microscope not only for whether its humor holds up, but for what the show and its reception might tell us about the state of American politics. Critics and viewers alike are watching for the intersection points between the politics of its outspoken eponymous star, a Donald Trump supporter, and the politics of the show itself.

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Does Melania Trump Deserve Any Sympathy Whatsoever?

The recent news cycle has not been kind to Donald Trump’s marriage, no matter what the state of that union had been before Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal spilled their guts on their alleged dalliances with the President of the United States. Even a whiff of celebrity infidelity is usually enough to create a sizable pile-on of public support for the cheated-upon spouse, but over the last two weeks headlines have been conspicuously silent on that front. In the wake of each woman’s televised interview, attention has not exactly pulled away from Melania — we know she stayed behind in Mar-a-Lago as per “tradition” for Spring Break last weekend; she is said to be “focusing on being a mom,” — but noticeably absent has been vocal outrage on her behalf.

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Donald Trump Jr.’s Celebrity-Villain Divorce: Forgive Yourself for Staring

The New York Post broke the news that Vanessa Trump filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr. this week, and public response has run the gamut from delighted scorn to handwringing over the spiritual utility of Schadenfreude in these ugly times. (OK, maybe that's just me.) Even some journalists, of the ilk that both Donalds Trump, junior and senior, constantly insult, have found themselves on the side of The Mooch here. “Really weird and upsetting to see folks acting gleeful at the Don Jr. divorce news. It’s his private life and he has five kids,” tweeted Sam Stein of the Daily Beast. “Leave it alone.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes agreed, calling Stein’s tweet a “100% Correct Take.”

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Hollywood's Pay Gap Doesn't Get Much More Ridiculous Than This

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but women are angry. We are fed up; we have declared #TimesUp on the grabbing and the assaults and the demeaning comments and the gendered expectations in our workplaces. We are tired of being told we are worth less than our male co-workers, both explicitly and implicitly, and when we fail to rectify that through sheer will alone we are tired of being told we must not have wanted it badly enough. And when you’re already angry and fed up with pushing this boulder up a mountain every day with no summit in sight, one small bit of news can feel like enough to make you want to turn around and hurl the rock as hard as you can down the mountain, devastation in your wake be damned.

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What 'Hillbilly Elegy' Won't Tell You About Appalachia

As Donald Trump is fond of pointing out, he won 306 Electoral College votes, claiming states as different from each other as Wisconsin is from Texas, Idaho from Florida. But one red region of the map has become a living symbol of his victories since the contentious 2016 presidential primary season. When you see headlines that begin "In the heart of Trump Country . . . " chances are, you're reading a story about Appalachia written by a writer who doesn't live there. When you see a headline like "No Sympathy for the Hillbilly" on a New York magazine column, you get a glimpse of the mainstream media attitudes that help shape the narrative that Appalachia is, at best, a good place to be from.

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'So You Want to Talk About Race,' White People? Start Here

A few years into Obama's first term in office, I taught my final section of an interdisciplinary undergraduate seminar I had designed on popular music and American literature. Roughly 75 percent of the time I taught that class at this small liberal arts college, my student roster was 100 percent white. One of my semester-end reading assignments in that course was bell hooks’ essay “Madonna: Soul Sister or Plantation Mistress?” And during one of those final discussion periods of that last semester I taught, one that if I recall correctly was an all-white class, one of my students exploded. “Racism is over,” she fumed. “My friends and I, we don’t see race. We all talk about everything and nobody cares what color anyone is. Professors like you are the reason why racism still exists, because you keep bringing it up.”

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Why Study the History of the KKK? We Are Currently Reliving It

Images of the Ku Klux Klan, forefather of the many white supremacist hate groups that are active and becoming emboldened in America today, often focus on two terror-filled epochs: the group’s genesis during Reconstruction, formed to prevent through violence the gains black Americans stood to make in the former Confederate states during the post-Civil War era, and the mid-20th century third wave that arose in the American South in backlash to the fight for civil rights.

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Ivanka Has Played the Same Role for Her Dad for Over a Decade

Congratulations to everyone with a “found something in common with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, WTF?” square on their 2017, Amirite? Bingo card. During a debt ceiling and disaster relief meeting Wednesday between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, first lady-daughter Ivanka Trump pulled one of her patented Oval Office pop-ins and, according to CNN, Republican leaders were “visibly annoyed by Ivanka’s presence.”

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First Gourmet Sandwiches, Now Burger-Shaming! Can More Sensitive Lunches Heal America?

Last week, New York Times columnist David Brooks projected all of his anxieties about class in America onto one ill-fated visit to a “gourmet sandwich shop.” This week, Business Insider senior editor Josh Barro followed with his own lamentation on the left’s “hamburger problem.” A sure-fire way to heal America’s politically polarized culture, apparently, is through our stomachs.

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White House Window Dressing: The Myth of Ivanka's Influence

Ivanka Trump’s best trick is her disappearing move. When the White House makes an announcement that’s bad for her personal brand, like withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, Ivanka is somehow nowhere to be found. It’s a Friday night and she’s observing Shabbat, or, like during the first disastrous Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace attempt, she’s out of town with her kids on a spring break vacation. And on Thursday, Ivanka, who had been working behind the scenes to convince President Trump not to put his fingers in his ears and sing la-la-la while the environmental dystopias of our summer reading list build momentum around us, celebrated the holiday Shavuot with her husband and kids as her father tuned up the jazz band to play a jaunty funeral tune for the planet.

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Let the Wild Romp-Us Begin! What Have Men in Suits Done for Us Lately?

A couple of mornings ago, I woke in a panic. My dreams have been hyper-realistic verging on the hysterical lately, and I had just spent a cycle living out the beginning days of a “Handmaid’s Tale” violent transition to full reproductive martial law. This kind of thing happens when, after a long day of working through a logic-defying, emotionally abusive news cycle, one binges misogynist-dystopia prestige drama to unwind. My first thought was thank god I still live in America, not Gilead. Then I remembered I should check Twitter to confirm; Dear Leader is up and all thumbs while the rest of us dream fitfully of our own subjugation.

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It’s the Wealth Gap, Stupid: Inequality Drives 'Economic Anxiety' - Both Real and Perceived

One of the most prominent story types of 2016 election coverage involved dropping in on Southern and Rust Belt communities that supported Donald Trump and probing the people and their towns for answers. The economic “anxiety” of the white working class emerged as an explanation for why an ill-tempered real estate magnate had become the champion of voters who might in other years have been turned off by his conspicuous affluence, lackadaisical faith and combative demeanor, to say nothing of his “Access Hollywood” tape. Trump voters, it was said, have been left behind economically by globalization and the technological divide and have seen their economic prospects plummet in recent years.

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Ivanka Trump Is Clueless About the Way the World Works and Has Shared It with the World in Her New Book

Ivanka Trump’s new book “Women Who Work” is not, as you may have already guessed or read, particularly useful, even compared to other bland corporate tactical manuals. If you are a woman who works — or know one with a graduation or a promotion or a birthday coming up — save your money. The Trump family’s rapacious worldview is in its full glory in this clip job of a so-called monograph; Ivanka (or whoever “architected” this sugar-, fat- and gluten-free life manual) takes the subhead, “Rewriting the Rules for Success,” to an absurdly literal level. The book is not written so much as it is aggregated, borrowed so heavily from certain individual sources that she ought to owe royalties to Sheryl Sandberg and the estate of Stephen Covey, not that they’re any more likely to collect now that her office is in the West Wing instead of Trump Tower. What else is the intellectual work of others but “content” for “Ivanka” to “curate” (“wordsmith,” even!) for her own profit?

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