Ben Carson’s Islamophobia Could Cost His Mormon Support

Ben Carson, photo by Gage Skidmore; Wikimedia Commons

The 2016 Republican nomination is turning into quite a spectacle, even when we’re not talking about Donald Trump. True, the Donald’s ridiculous xenophobia has set the tone for the race, but he’s not alone in sharing some outrageously racist opinions.Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign has been trudging along steadily. Recently, Carson topped the polls among Utah Republicans. Though his biggest news moment came this weekend when he expressed doubt in whether a Muslim would qualify for President. Carson … [Read more...]

Celebrating Samuel W. Taylor, a Peculiar Person

Sam Taylor

Samuel W. Taylor was born, as we all were at one time or another, on February 5, 1907. But make no mistake, he was no ordinary chum. As it just so happens, Samuel had six mothers. That is to say, his father had six wives. Also, his father was at one time, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.I say at one time because two years before Samuel’s birth, his father resigned as member of The Quorum of the Twelve over the issue of plural marriage. In short, he was still l … [Read more...]

Ahmed Mohamed, and The Need For A New Narrative

Photo courtesy of Anil Dash

  Ahmed Mohamed, a high school student in Irving, Texas, had a rude awakening this past week when he brought a homemade clock to school. Much has already been written about Ahmed’s experience, as he appeared on Good Morning America, had a shout out from Mark Zuckerberg, and President Obama himself.One of his teachers thought the clock looked like a bomb, and alerted authorities. Ahmed was escorted out of class, handcuffed, and interrogated. He was not even allowed to call his p … [Read more...]

The Utah Soda Wars Are Here, So Let’s Hurry Up With The Apocalypse

Photo credit: Mike Mozart, via Flickr. Adjustments by Cody Ray Shafer.

In the 1980s, America was subjected to a bizarre race to the bottom between competing soft drink marketing campaigns from Coca-Cola and Pepsi. In 2015, it there is a whole new war brewing over fizzy beverages, and it’s taking place between two Utah-based drive-thru soda fountain companies, St. George based Swig and Provo’s Sodalicious. It’s like the American Civil War if the Civil War was fought not over the nation’s soul but which side wanted the greater responsibility in cases of diabetes … [Read more...]

American Gas: Reflections on Home After a Year Abroad

Jnn13/Wikimedia Commons; Gage Skidmore/Flickr Commons; Naotake Murayama/ Wikimedia Commons. Alterations by JJ Feinauer

I’ll ask the reader to forgive my following foray into a personal travel log, but I suspect there’s some lesson to learn, or at least some idea buried deep down, somewhere, that makes this somehow worth the effort.The truth is, I’m still exhausted, jet lagged, and suffering something of a culture shock. Only, if there was a word for culture shock infused with stingy nostalgia, that word would color my experiences over the last week. I don’t think such a word exists, so instead I'll indulge in … [Read more...]

James Bond becoming more interesting and relevant isn’t a bad thing


 Idris Elba basically oozes everything one associates with James Bond. Pretty much everyone recognizes this. He's also an amazing actor (see: BBC's Luther, among other things). But recently, author Anthony Horowitz (who apparently writes James Bond novels?) thinks he is “too street” to do the job right. There are lots of problems with this, racism being the most apparent, but I'm also really interested in how this reflects our attitude toward longstanding franchise characters.As Kev … [Read more...]

When did celebrities become so powerful?


 There's nothing terribly new to the idea that maybe we give celebrities far too much credit for being whatever it is they are. After all, being overhyped is basically the job of any good pop culture icon. But last night, as I was plunking around on the Internet, I was painstakingly reminded that celebrities have somehow grown to be seen as primary indicators of the health of our society. I'm talking, of course, about the MTV Video Music Awards and the hubbub that surrounds them, but … [Read more...]

Remembering Wes Craven


Horror movies were off limits when I was a kid. That’s the way it should be. My mom, in her best intentions, always declared that watching a scary movie would definitely lead to nightmares the following night. I suffered from sleep paralysis as a kid, so nightmares were inevitable. But the connection between the two was profoundly influential on my relationship with horror. The idea that some piece of art could affect me in such a way that I physically suffered—how cool is that?Sometimes it f … [Read more...]