A Look at Cancel Culture’s Trashing of a Remarkable Filmmaker

Smaker filming in Saudi Arabia

This week I listened to an interview with Meg Smaker, a gutsy yet empathetic filmmaker whose documentary, Jihad Rehab, was initially hailed by numerous film festivals and critics, then condemned and dropped like a hot potato. The claim that the film was Islamaphobic is behind its sudden death sentence. After…

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My 10 Best Nonfiction Picks from 2022

Nonfiction November focus image

Since it’s “Nonfiction November” I thought I’d spend some time reviewing my favorite nonfiction reads from this year. I’d say that on the whole, 2022 has been a better-than-usual year for nonfiction—basing that statement on nothing other than my personal experience. I feel like this year I broke through a…

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Bassins des Lumières, Man’s Awesome Capacity to Destroy or Exhilarate

Bassins des Lumières

After a week of perfect weather, another glorious morning fueled our footsteps as we made our way beneath the Porte de Bourgogne to catch a northbound tram. It was our last day in Bordeaux, a city of 250,000 residents with an enviable transportation network comprised of 4 tram lines, 80…

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Visiting the Louvre through the Eyes of Outstanding Cartoonists

Variations on Mona Lisa

Each time I visit Paris I think, maybe this time I’ll make it to the Louvre. There are so many things to see and do, however, that I never seem to get there. A quick eyeballing of the swarms in the Louvre’s main courtyard and the throng serpentining in front…

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French Blockbuster Disappoints, Reinventing the Life of Gustave Eiffel

Passion atop the Eiffel Tower

I love my local independent movie theater but have to admit to being disappointed with their decision to show more Hollywood blockbusters, heavily diluting what used to be a steady stream of foreign and independent films. For this reason, I make an effort to attend every French film that brightens…

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Alain Passard, Revolutionary 3-Star Michelin Chef Who Went All Veggie

Kitchen of Alain Passard

I love to cook and I love French bandes dessinées, so when I learned that the comic author and artist, Christophe Blain, had written a book about one of France’s top chefs, I wanted to check it out. Published by Gallimard in 2011, En cuisine avec Alain Passard is the…

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The Foremost Photographer Of The Belle Époque’s Superstars

Nadar by Nadar

I’ve previously written about Nadar, the colorful French author, artist, and entrepreneur who first made a name for himself in the middle of the 19th-century as a caricaturist. Nadar’s Panthéon is a colossal lithograph containing a long parade of 250 heralded writers of the day. It took Nadar two years…

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