Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Nov. 24 2015 10:07 AM

Apple Pie Has No Place at Thanksgiving

In 2013, L.V. Anderson took the somewhat controversial position that apple pie should not be served on Thanksgiving. If you ask Anderson, this remains as true today as it was a year ago. Anderson's argument is reprinted below.

It’s practically a law that in late November, every publication must offer a Thanksgiving guide. This year, I would like to draw your attention to two exceptional ones (other than Slate’s). The first is theOnion’s “11 Steps For Cooking a PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey,” which is full of hilariously bizarre advice (e.g., “Thaw for two or three days by burying the bird in a deep hole in the backyard”).  The second is “Grub Street’s Very Simple Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner,” which is full of hilariously good advice (e.g., “Serve a lot of alcohol”).

Actually, I should say that Grub Street’s list is mostly full of good advice. Everything’s great up until this part: “Put someone else on pie duty and if they show up with anything other than a pumpkin pie and an apple pie, throw them out of your home immediately.”

This is simply wrong. If someone shows up at your Thanksgiving with an apple pie, you should throw them out of your home immediately. Apple pie has no place at Thanksgiving.

Video Advertisement

Nov. 24 2015 9:42 AM

Google “A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away” for a Great Star Wars Easter Egg

In the lead up to the new installment of Star Wars, the Force has been pretty much unavoidable this year—and Google is the latest to get in on the frenzy. The corporate giant has paid tribute to the franchise with a clever easter egg: When you search for “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” your results will scroll upwards in the style of the movies’ iconic opening crawl.

For the optimum experience, click the sound button in the right corner of the screen to unleash John Williams’ magnificent brass score.

Nov. 24 2015 8:30 AM

The Three Big Questions Cass Sunstein Should Investigate in His Star Wars Book

This article originally appeared on Science of Us

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Cass Sunstein, the legal scholar and former White House regulatory czar, is writing a book about Star Wars. Details are scarce: The article notes only that the book will be an “exploration” of Star Wars and that “Sunstein will touch upon everything from history to politics to fatherhood.“ But looking at Sunstein's interests, as well as some of the most Sunstein-esque mysteries from the original trilogy—since everyone knows the second trilogy never happened—offers some hints at what could be in there, or what should be in there, at least.

Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard, has written articles and books on just about everything during his prolific academic career. During his time in the White House and in published work from the last few years, though, he’s taken a keen interest in the insights of behavioral economics, a field concerned with better understanding human decision-making and the biases that can lead it to unfortunate results. Sunstein is a big proponent of “nudges”—unobtrusive, behavioral-econ-informed interventions that can help encourage people to make better decisions without forcing the issue (putting the desserts in a slightly harder-to-reach place in a cafeteria, for example, and laying the fruit out in front of them), and he brought this enthusiasm with him to the White House. In books like Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Human Happiness, which he co-authored with the pioneering behavioral economist Richard Thaler, he’s dug deep into the science behind these issues. Sunstein is also very interested in the related question of how governments and other large organizations can function better, more efficiently, and with a smarter approach to cost-benefit analyses, subjects he’s tackled in Simpler: The Future of Government and Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter.

To me, all of this points in a clear direction. What’s the one big government entity in the original Star Wars trilogy? The Empire. And does the Empire seem to fall into some potentially preventable traps of poor decision-making? Yes, indeed! I’d argue, then, that Sunstein should look at the following three questions from the original trilogy.

Nov. 24 2015 8:02 AM

In Casablanca, Lessons for the New Age of Refugees    

The speed with which the American political conversation has shifted from sympathy for the victims of the Paris attacks into hostility toward Syrian refugees might lead one to wish for a work of popular culture to stir public sympathy, to engender a sense of obligation to help victims of unspeakable violence. Thankfully, such a work already exists, and it just happens to be one of the most famous movies ever made.

Casablanca might seem an unlikely fit for the role. A tale of unrequited love played out in dinner jackets and evening gowns over champagne cocktails, it may not at first appear applicable to a humanitarian disaster. But beneath the classic Hollywood glamor, Casablanca is a movie about a refugee crisis that insists on the humanity and individuality of refugees, rather than seeing them as a threatening undifferentiated mass. As the number of people displaced by war around the world hits its highest level since World War II, it’s worth revisiting an iconic film from the last global era of refugees. It might even be a good idea to screen it for members of Congress.

Nov. 23 2015 10:55 PM

Eddie Murphy’s Bill Cosby Impression Is as Good as Ever

Back in October, Eddie Murphy accepted the 2015 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and used the opportunity to deliver his first live stand-up set in 28 years. At the time, only brief snippets of the set were made available, but on Monday PBS finally aired the ceremony—and Murphy’s lively, six-minute acceptance speech—in full.  

Naturally, the highlight is Murphy’s Bill Cosby impression, which includes a shout-out to Hannibal Buress, whose sharp, vicious set last October helped amplify outrage at Cosby’s history of abuse.

Nov. 23 2015 8:23 PM

Justin Bieber Just Broke a 51-Year-Old Beatles Record

With track names like “Sorry,” “Trust,” “No Pressure,” and “Life Is Worth Living,” Justin Bieber’s new album, Purpose, is a masterclass in penitence-pop. And fans are lapping it up: On Monday, the album helped Bieber shatter the 51-year-old record for most songs simultaneously on Billboard’s Hot 100, with 17 of the deluxe edition’s 18 songs charting.

The record had previously been held by the Beatles, who had 14 songs on the Hot 100 in the April of 1964, and Drake, who did the same in March and October this year. Below are all 17 Bieber songs and their respective positions:

No. 2 "Sorry"
No. 4 "Love Yourself"
No. 5 "What Do You Mean?"
No. 19 "I'll Show You"
No. 31 "The Feeling," featuring Halsey 
No. 34 "Where Are U Now" (Skrillex & Diplo With Bieber)
No. 42 "Mark My Words"
No. 43 "Purpose"
No. 49 "No Pressure," featuring Big Sean
No. 53 "Company" 
No. 54 "No Sense," featuring Travi$ Scott
No. 67 "Life Is Worth Living" 
No. 74 "Children" 
No. 81 "Been You" 
No. 88 "We Are," featuring Nas
No. 90 "Get Used to Me"
No. 98 "Trust"

Nov. 23 2015 3:02 PM

Watch H. Jon Benjamin Record a Whole Jazz Album on the Piano Even Though He Can’t Play the Piano

H. Jon Benjamin is a man of many talents—comedy, voice acting, and … jazz? The voice of Bob from Bob’s Burgers and Archer might not be a devoted fan of the genre, or know how to play piano, but that didn’t stop him from dedicating three hours to learning the craft and making his own album. This Friday, fans of jazz (or more likely Benjamin) can purchase Well, I Should Have…, Benjamin’s first jazz LP. (One track was even mixed by Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard.) We’ll let the artist himself explain:

Nov. 23 2015 1:10 PM

Michael Caine Reclaims His Throne as the Best Impersonator of Michael Caine

Everyone thinks they can do the perfect Michael Caine impression, from Tom Hanks to Kevin Spacey to Steve Coogan to Rob Brydon to anyone who’s learned the trick where you just say the words “My cocaine.”

But the best Michael Caine impersonation comes from a surprising source—British actor Michael Caine. The actor did his best Michael Caine for Stephen Colbert’s Late Show recently, and it’s pretty uncanny. I guess practice makes perfect.

Nov. 23 2015 11:46 AM

Game of Thrones Straight Up Put Jon Snow on the Poster for Season 6

Have you spent the months since Game of Thrones’ bloody Season 5 finale wondering whether Jon Snow is really dead? HBO bets you have—so much so that their poster for Season 6 is all about the brooding bastard. In the poster, which simply says “April,” Snow’s eyes are obscured and there’s a stylized streak of blood over his face. Is he alive? Dead? Rolling his eyes? HBO would like us to think that we still know nothing.

Nov. 23 2015 10:59 AM

Watch Miss Piggy and Kermit Parody Adele’s “Hello,” Prove That the Song Can Make Anything Poignant

Back in August, the Muppets went from loveably ridiculous to uncomfortably real when Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, the two halves of one of the most longstanding celebrity couples of all time, “announced” they were “on a break.” But last night the rift reached a whole new level of melodramatic, when pig and frog reenacted the music video for Adele’s “Hello” during the American Music Awards.