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A new television sitcom, “The Grinder,” holds up a mirror that should make us ashamed or at least embarrassed. I watch a lot of television because it helps me keep in touch with popular culture and my students. Knowing what’s on TV helps me relate to students and understand American culture. Karl Barth is supposed […] Read More

Marcus Mumford, front man for the popular musical act, Mumford and Sons, has caused a stir among evangelical Christians. When asked by Rolling Stone magazine if he considers himself to be a Christian, Mumford said: “I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage.” He added: “So, no, I wouldn’t call myself […] Read More

Forbes magazine’s annual Celebrity 100 list is out, and not much has changed. Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey bumped last year’s topper, Mel Gibson, and took the top spot for the first time. Her Chicago-based show, going for more than two decades, continues to soar and produce ancillary products like magazines and book clubs. Winfrey ranked […] Read More

Movie stars aren’t just about paparazzi, private jets and plentiful cash. Some of them are also about religion. Mel Gibson’s traditional Catholicism, which helped prod him into making “The Passion of the Christ,” has set the bar for a celebrity-religion mixture that yields a film. Newspapers and magazines have been intensely talking about religion and […] Read More

Kevin Costner has always loved the movies. Born in California in 1955, Costner grew up learning some of life’s lessons from the silver screen. “Movies affected me a great deal,” Costner said recently while promoting his latest movie, “The Upside of Anger.” “Movies informed me about how I wanted to be in my life.” “I’d […] Read More

In a world where life sometimes imitates art, Arnold Schwarzenegger, an actor with no previous political experience or apparent political interest, is now governor-elect of California. This election was not merely a contest between a failed political insider and an energetic and creative outsider—though Arnold’s camp certainly tried to pitch the race in these terms. […] Read More

Who’s the all-time greatest icon in popular culture? Oprah Winfrey, according to VH1. The cable channel is counting down the top 200 popular culture icons this week, and the talk-show host bested superhero Superman to win the top slot. Rounding out the top 10, starting with No. 3, were Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Tom Cruise, […] Read More

More than 80 percent of Americans say celebrities’ political opinions don’t affect their own political opinions, according to a recent CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll. But Americans’ self-reporting on this matter seems suspect when one takes cultural trends and markers into account. The Dixie Chicks, of course, recently created controversy when lead singer Natalie Maines told a London […] Read More

Celebrity involvement in charity work has a long history, and it’s sure to continue with a new crop of Hollywood stars who are lending their profiles to humanitarian causes. Actress Mira Sorvino announced her participation in Amnesty International’s new campaign, “Stop Violence Against Women,” on March 9. Actress Minnie Driver traveled to Southeast Asia in […] Read More

With war against Iraq looming, celebrities are talking. And some folks don’t care for it. Thompson, who plays the district attorney on NBC’s “Law & Order,” says in the ad, “Thank goodness we have a president with the courage to protect our country.” The relationship between celebrities and war fascinates people. Bob Hope performed for […] Read More