Jennifer Lopez is a jack of all trades. She can sing, she can dance, and she can act. Like, really act. Not only does she nail roles on the small screen, like Detective Harlee Santos in Shades of Blue, but also in big-ticket movies. Lopez has built a film career for herself since nabbing a part in the 1986 drama My Little Girl, and in light of the news of her latest film, Second Act — which she’s starring in with real-life BFF Leah Remini — we’re taking a look at some of her best roles. From playing Selena in the biopic of the same name to fighting to get her life back in Enough, Lopez has won us over with her silver screen roles for over 30 years and counting.
Where do you start when it comes to analysing Trump’s language? If you ask him, he’ll tell you: «I know words. I have the best words.» There have been countless linguistic studies on the man himself already, and those experts would respectfully disagree.
We can all probably do a passable impression of Trumpspeak; ‘thanks’ to his Twitter feed, it is not hard to mimic or parody Trump’s distinctive idiolect. We are used to more polished speakers most of the time, certain world leaders excluded. We are used to speeches that have been crafted in advance. Eloquent speakers can improvise in this polished way as well.
Some linguists argue that Trump’s language is much more ‘normal’ than we might first think. He seems «unique» because he doesn’t speak like a politician; «he speaks like everyone else.» Jennifer Sclafani’s two year study of Trump’s language concluded that although Trump «creates a spectacle» and «a brand» with his language, most of the features we associate with Trumpspeak («a casual tone, a simple vocabulary and grammar, repetitions, hyperbole and sudden switches of topic») are merely conventions of «everyday speech.» She adds, «It’s just unusual to hear it from a president speaking in a public, formal context.»
Not all linguists agree. While these spoken language features are typical in spontaneous speech, there are other conventions that are strangely absent. Trump even breaks some of the most basic ‘rules’ of spoken language, notably the cooperative principle. Paul Grice theorised that there are four ‘maxims’ in spoken communication. These are the unwritten rules and the assumptions that we make when interacting with others, and the key to effective communication. The four maxims are quality, quantity, relation and manner. If someone is deliberately not following these principles, then they are not speaking and interacting in a cooperative manner. When Trump breaks the maxim of quality, the reaction is (rightly) fear, disbelief, outrage and lots of headlines.
The maxim of quality:
Try to make your contribution one that is true.
Do not say what you believe to be false.
Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
Leaders sometimes lie, granted. But rarely are the lies so obvious, immediately identified, immediately countered with evidence, and yet still denied.
Here it is essential to distinguish between different levels of ‘untruths’: an untruth may be a deliberate lie, an error, and a delusion. With the latter, the speaker may firmly believe that they are telling the truth. They may pass a lie-detector test, so certain are they of their truth.
Errors happen. Everyone makes the odd mistake here and there, especially in unplanned, spontaneous spoken language. Errors may be accidental or the result of ignorance. When an error is pointed out to us, we have some choices: we can accept the error quietly, we may address it publicly, or we may reject it. If we continue to believe that we were correct, then our error becomes a delusion. If we know we made an error but we persist in repeating it, it becomes a lie.
Deliberately lying in politics is, sadly, nothing new, but its potential can be highly dangerous. Orwell had a lot to say about the insidious potential of lying in politics, and it is entirely understandable for us to jump to the conclusion that Trump has a masterplan to destroy truth and replace it with Trumpian Newspeak in a fascist dystopia. But Trump’s relationship with the truth is more complex than that.
Lawrence Douglas explored some typical features of Trumpspeak in his piece for the Guardian, following Trump’s interview with Time magazine, back in March. Douglas noted that Trump «overwhelmed his interviewer with such a profusion of misstatements, half-truths, dodges and red herrings that one grows dizzy trying to untangle it all.» He analysed Trump’s relationship with the truth, and drew the following conclusions:
In Trumpspeak, a speaker can never be accused of lying if he’s simply repeating the statements of others.
Truthful statements do not necessarily offer an accurate account of events in the world. They provide an approximation or exaggeration of something that might, in theory, have occurred.
Trumpspeak confuses prophecy with honesty. If a news organisation failed to correctly anticipate the president’s win at the polls, Trumpspeak treats this as evidence of the falseness and mendacity of that organisation’s reportage about all of reality.
Belief is a signal of truth. If his supporters believe him, then what Trump is saying must be true.
Trumpspeak places no independent value on truth. The value of speech is to be measured, exclusively in terms of its effects. If a statement gets me closer to my goal, then it is valuable; if it does not, it is worthless.
Douglas points out at the end of his piece that he does not «mean to suggest that Trumpspeak is a conscious construct of the president,» and that, I think, is key to understanding Trump’s flexible attitude to the truth. I do not think this is deliberate. I don’t think this is case of reframing truth, and an Orwellian «destruction of words.» I mean, it’s clearly not working, for a start. Orwell wrote, «Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.» That’s not what is happening here. Trump is not a convincing liar in the slightest.
I think it is more likely that Trump has long believed that the truth is what he says it is. And that this is because he has always had power, not because he is trying to claim power. I think he believes what he is saying, and this means we are firmly in delusion territory. Fake News is anything that threatens his narrative, not because he’s ticking off ‘destroy the media’ from his word domination checklist, but because for once, he is not being told what he wants to hear. Decades of sycophantic support have fed this delusion; it is not easy to speak truth to power. And now he faces countless journalists and broadcasters, whose job it is to do just that. World leaders do the same. Renowned experts do the same. Here is the emperor who has just been told that he’s been walking around naked. Of course he’d rather believe he’s decked out in the snazziest new fashions. To do that, he must discredit the experts, the journalists, the broadcasters and even other world leaders. All of them threaten his understanding of truth.
So much for the maxim of quality, then. But Trump flouts the other maxims too. He does not make his speech as informative as he needs to. He drifts from the topic at hand. But the other really worrying area of Trump’s spoken language is where he flouts the maxim of manner. This fourth maxim refers to lucidity, clarity and precision. If we are following the cooperative principle, we should avoid ambiguity and obscurity, we should be brief, and we should be orderly.
In Sharon Begley’s article on Trump’s language for STAT, she opens with an example of a spontaneous utterance that, well, you can see for yourself:
It was the kind of utterance that makes professional transcribers question their career choice:
«…there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero.»
When President Trump offered that response to a question at a press conference last week, it was the latest example of his tortured syntax, mid-thought changes of subject, and apparent trouble formulating complete sentences, let alone a coherent paragraph, in unscripted speech.
Where Begley’s article takes the analysis of Trumpspeak further is in her exploration of how Trump «was not always so linguistically challenged.»
In interviews Trump gave in the 1980s and 1990s, he spoke articulately, used sophisticated vocabulary, inserted dependent clauses into his sentences without losing his train of thought, and strung together sentences into a polished paragraph, which — and this is no mean feat — would have scanned just fine in print.
So what’s changed? It could be stress, or emotional upheaval. It could be strategic; «maybe Trump thinks his supporters like to hear him speak simply and with more passion than proper syntax.» But Begley isn’t convinced that it’s just that.
Research has shown that changes in speaking style can result from cognitive decline. (….) For decades, studies have found that deterioration in the fluency, complexity and vocabulary level of spontaneous speech can indicate slipping brain function due to normal aging or neurodegenerative disease. (…) Although [none of the experts STAT consulted] said [Trump’s] apparent loss of linguistic fluency was unambiguous evidence of mental decline, most thought something was going on.»
This isn’t the first time researchers have analysed the language of a president in this manner, either:
Researchers have used neurolinguistics analysis of past presidents to detect, retrospectively, early Alzheimer’s disease. In a famous 2015 study, scientists at Arizona State University evaluated how Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush spoke at their news conferences. Reagan’s speech was riddled with indefinite nouns (something, anything), «low imageability» verbs (have, go, get), incomplete sentences, limited vocabulary, simple grammar, and fillers (well, basically, um, ah, so) — all characteristic of cognitive problems. That suggested Reagan’s brain was slipping just a few years into his 1981-1989 tenure; that decline continued. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994. Bush showed no linguistic deterioration; he remained mentally sharp throughout his 1989-1993 tenure and beyond.
If you can bear to, have a look at this video and ask yourself whether you think this is a man who is deliberately lying, consciously performing, or merely believing his own delusions.
There’s nothing I can add to this pic.twitter.com/QJW3ukhXUG
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) October 13, 2017
George Orwell once said, «In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.» There are deliberate deceptions that must be addressed, of course, perpetrated by Trump’s official and unofficial allies. But with Trump himself, we are not so much in a time of deceit as we are in a time of delusion, and therefore telling the truth becomes a revelatory act. To tell Trump the truth is to reveal what has been hidden from him for decades. It is to tell the emperor that he is naked. Revelations can fall on deaf ears; they can be painful. But we must keep presenting an honest reflection rather than feeding the delusion. Like Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mirror’, we are «not cruel, only truthful»; it’s time for Trump to take a long, hard look at himself.
Sex and the City was a game-changer in terms of TV. It’s become a buzzword for the representation of women, a kind of cultural benchmark for discussions of sex, sexuality and relationships. Women defined themselves using the characters’ foibles and trademarks. That’s so Miranda, we might say. And we knew what it meant. If like me, you watched it avidly the first time around, you definitely had an opinion on who Carrie’s best boyfriend was.
Then came the films; the first, a more serious attempt at a continuation of the story, and the second, a daft romp that was not reviewed kindly, to say the least. So I had mixed feelings when the news broke that Sex and the City 3 had been shelved, apparently because Kim Cattrall wouldn’t do it.
SATC3 could have been a return to the show’s glory days. Roles like that don’t come along often for women over the age of 50. Politically speaking, another shot at pushing the envelope in terms of representation of female sexuality and issues pertaining to women’s bodies could have been welcome. It could have been really interesting to see the show’s take on those issues in the current political climate. Imagine Miranda representing a woman in a sexual assault case, Samantha wearing a Pussy Hat to the Women’s Day March, Charlotte teaching her daughters about role models like Malala, and Carrie finally getting round to teaching that ‘Women in the Arts’ writing class to some young people in need of a mentor and role model. With crazy fashion, occasional slapstick and some sex jokes thrown in for good measure.
But again, the rose-tinted nostalgia glosses over some of the issues in the show, issues that perhaps don’t stand up to scrutiny so much now. And so, as I read the hot-takes flying in about the show, the films, and Cattrall’s decision, I couldn’t help but wonder: is there still room for the SATC brand in 2017? How does the show hold up now? Is it time to strike the movies from the canon?
For reasons that seemed a good idea at the time, I recently completed a re-watch of the series. I’ve seen the whole thing countless times before, but the boxsets had gathered some dust since the last visit. As the episodes rolled on, there were a lot of things that dated the show. Surprisingly, fashion isn’t really one of them. Some of the outfits were so bonkers at the time that they are still just bonkers now. The shoes are still fabulous. The technology seems ancient; Carrie uses email for the first time in season 4. SEASON 4! (Who feels old?) She even has an embarrassing email address like so many of us did the first time, before we realised we’d have to start using it to apply for jobs. Hey, Shoe Gal.
But more seriously, it was a little disconcerting that the show I remembered as such a driving force in terms of representation would be pulled apart if it aired in 2017. It’s really white. It could be called Rich White Women Problems and the City. It doesn’t do well representing lesbianism, bisexuality or trans issues. There are beloved gay male characters, but these rely on outdated clichés and outlandishly flamboyant campness. How did I not notice all this the first time around? It’s like reuniting with someone you thought was a delight and a hoot, only to realise they are actually a bit of an arse.
The episode on abortion is also somewhat uncomfortable, with rather too much (for my taste) focus on the guy’s right to know, and some borderline unpleasant judgment from the otherwise perfect Aidan. (Perfect for me, not for Carrie.) Would the 3rd movie have taken a bolder stance? We’ll never know, but it’s unlikely. There are plenty of things that you can ‘get away with’ on TV that would never make the cut in a mainstream movie.
It’s what the films did to the characters though, that makes the cancelled movie more of a relief than a disappointment. Adorable Steve became Steve the Cheater. Big went from ‘go get our girl’ romantic epiphany to wedding day flight risk. You could excuse (to an extent) some of those transformations by narrative need; stories that were neatly resolved in the show needed a fresh injection of conflict to justify the movies. OK, Big was never totally reliable. But Steve? How dare you.
It didn’t stop there. And this is where you can’t help but be thankful that the third movie never existed to provide its take on current affairs. Stanford and Anthony conveniently stopped hating each other’s guts and got married, so that the second movie could have a gay wedding. Featuring Liza Minnelli, of course. Hell yes for a gay wedding. But Stanford and Anthony together? Look, Anthony put it best when Charlotte tried to set them up on a date in the show. Just because they are both gay doesn’t mean that they will get along, or like each other, or fall in love. I admire the intention, but more could have been gained with Stanford marrying a New Character Who Happens To Be Gay (fancy that?) and hiring Anthony as his wedding planner. Now that would have been interesting. Just imagine the Groomzilla moments we could have seen…
Carrie always was rather melodramatic in the show, but usually in a harmless way. No more: Movie Carrie became hurtful, snobby and mean. Samantha went from risqué and provocative to an embarrassing American tourist, in an attempt to address attitudes to female sexuality in the Middle East. That was meant to be profound and political, but instead it was mortifying. Just, hide-behind-your-hands mortifying.
In all honesty, the highlight of the second movie was a brief conversation between Miranda and Charlotte about how hard motherhood is, where they were kind and supportive to each other while acknowledging their privilege.
So yes, there would have been lots of opportunities for interesting representations and messages, but could we trust them to do it well, given the evidence of the first two films? Not so much.
I still love a lot about the show. I kind of enjoyed the first film, if you can call ‘furious and crying’ enjoyment. I enjoyed a few bits of the second film, and cringed through much of the rest. I would have seen the third film, though it would have been out of apprehensive curiosity rather than full-blown excitement.
I mean, it could still get made. They could write Samantha out, or re-cast the role (as Kim Cattrall suggested). Or they could just come up with a new idea. How about that, Hollywood? Use the SATC fans as a demographic, as you can probably rely on them to turn up to watch it, especially if you cast those actors who want to work together again. But make something new, rather than recycling material that should be left to the warm, fuzzy realm of nostalgia. AND DO IT BETTER.
P.S. Big and Carrie clearly belong together.
P.P.S. Berger and the Russian are the worst.
P.P.P.S. How come I still can’t afford Manolos?
One of the best moments from this year’s Emmy Awards was the reunion between BFFs Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton. The trio, who starred together in the iconic 1980 comedy 9 to 5, hit the stage to present the award for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie and took a shot at our current president, saying, «In 1980, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss . . . and in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss.»
Needless to say, it was amazing to see these three together again: back in January, Dolly and Jane were supposed to link up to present Lily with a lifetime achievement award at the SAG Awards, but when Jane got sick, Dolly went it alone (and killed it). These days, Lily and Jane star side by side in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, which garnered them both Emmy nominations on Sunday night, and Dolly is still gracing the stage on concert tours — but despite their busy schedules, the three are still close friends. We’re taking a look back at their cutest moments together over the years.
Here’s something from the conservative outfit The Daily Wire from conservative «intellectual» Ben Shapiro. It’s about Columbus Day. Warning: It will elicit white hot blinding rage.
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) October 9, 2017
Thankfully, Jason Ritter can calm your frazzled nerves by breaking the Guinness Book of World Records record for most hugs in a minute.
— The View (@TheView) October 9, 2017
10. Great News & The Mick — I doubled up here because they’re both sophomore comedies that had good first seasons but look like they’re only going to improve in their second seasons. Now that Tina Fey has jumped aboard for an arc on Great News, it feels like a legitimate successor to 30 Rock. John Michael Higgins and Nicole Ritchie (yes, Nicole Ritchie!) are absolutely crushing it. Meanwhile The Mick is one of the most purely enjoyable sitcoms on network television now — it’s basically Sweet Dee from It’s Always Sunny with a rich, spoiled family that sometimes shows flashes of humanity (Scott MacArthur’s Jimmy is the scene stealer here). Hey! Did you know that these two guys were brothers?
— Scott MacArthur (@scottwmacarthur) April 6, 2017
9. The Deuce — I am invested. It is great television. I have gotten over my dislike of James Franco, and I love all The Wire actors showing up, but man, it is past time for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s prostitute character to climb out of the hole. Every week, she hits a new low, and at this point, IT’S LOW ENOUGH. (Only on The Deuce is directing porn films a significant step up, huh?)
7. American Horror Story — I never thought I’d say this about American Horror Story this far into this season, but I am legit enjoying it. Alison Pill’s character was killing me in the first few episodes, but to find out her «twist» has completely transformed the series. Also, I am not sure what the take-home message of the show is, but you gotta respect a guy willing to cut off his own arm to perform his civic duty, right?
6. Fear the Walking Dead — Three great episodes in a row! The show is killing off characters left and right and they introduced their own Michonne last night. If the show can shed Madison and Daniel and move into next season with a core of Troy, Alicia, Nick, Taqa, Strand and Nu-Michonne, it has a chance to be a legitimately entertaining series week in and week out.
5. Star Trek: Discovery — I haven’t seen this week’s episode yet (I wait and watch it with the boy on Monday), but I thought last week’s episode was great, and addresses a lot of the concerns Steven had about the series (Steven will be writing more about the status of the show later this week).
4. The Good Place — The show finds new ways to make it work every damn week.
3. The Mayor — I didn’t know how well the high-concept premise would work (guy trying to bring attention to his rap career runs for mayor and accidentally wins), but I absolutely loved the pilot. Lea Michele is somehow not annoying, Yvette Nicole Brown is amazing, and Brandon Micheal Hall is a goddamn delight. I am fully in.
2. You’re the Worst / Better Things — I’m doubling up again because there was a lot of great TV this week (and I can’t even squeeze in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Lethal Weapon, This Is Us, and a couple of promising-ish pilots (Kevin (Probably) Saves the World and Gifted), but You’re the Worst continues its excellent television, although Gretchen — bless — doesn’t deserve Boone. Meanwhile, on Better Things, Sam offered one of the best ever explanations for why we fear falling in love, and how opening yourself up can completely wreck your otherwise fine existence. Also, notwithstanding how badly he screwed up that weekend date, how great has Henry Thomas been?
2. Halt & Catch Fire — That’s how you do a grieving episode, folks. It’s not about the weeping and the histrionics. It’s about cleaning out the house, packing up the stuff, and coping with the memories and the loss, and finding solace in one another. The episode made me sad to think that one day I will be reduced to «Remember when Dad …?» stories to my kids, and also anxious to ensure there are more «Remember when Dad …?» stories for them to remember.
1. Black-ish — Black-ish dropped the hammer on Christopher Columbus and by mixing Schoolhouse Rock and Hamilton, offered a powerful, fantastic history lesson on slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation. Whether you watch Black-ish or not, seek this episode out. It’s one of the most daring, profound network television episodes you’ll ever see.
How’s this for a trip down memory lane? Nickelodeon just dropped the trailer for its upcoming Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, and it looks like it’ll give ’90s kids exactly the sort of closure we need for our favorite cartoon! According to a Nick press release, the film will pick up where the original TV series (which ran from 1996-2004) left off when it hits the small screen this Fall, following Arnold and crew on a search for his missing parents in South America.
The trailer includes everything we’ve missed about the show, including Helga’s secret Arnold shrine and Abner, Arnold’s loyal pet pig. Give it a watch, then check out these details about the movie — you know you can’t resist tuning in for nostalgia’s sake!
When does the movie premiere?
Instead of going Black Friday shopping this Thanksgiving, you’ll want to stay home and watch Nickelodeon; Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie debuts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24.
Is the original cast and crew involved?
Yes! Craig Bartlett, the show’s creator, cowrote and is producing the movie, and most of the original cast is returning. While the original voices for Arnold and Gerald aren’t reprising their starring roles, they will appear as other characters in the movie. The original voice actors for Helga, Phoebe, Harold, Grandpa, Mr. Simmons, Big Patty, and many more will voice their original roles, so naturally our hearts are filled with nostalgic joy!
Will Stoop Kid leave his stoop?
Well, you’ll just have to wait and see! But considering that the original Stoop Kid voice actor will be reprising his role for the film, we have high hopes.
Julia Roberts has had some iconic roles over the years, and she reenacted almost every one of them when she stopped by The Late Late Show on Wednesday. Yes, we’re talking everything from Pretty Woman to her upcoming film, Wonder, with Jacob Tremblay. Aside from reminding us just how heartbreaking Stepmother is, she also threw in a singing number as she paid homage to her hit film, My Best Friend’s Wedding, which turned 20 this year. If you need us, we’ll just be rewatching all of Julie Roberts’s films for the foreseeable future . . .
This year’s movie kisses bring out a variety of emotions: swooning, lust, envy . . . it’s sort of the huge reason we go to the movies. Though some of these kisses are sweeter and some are on the very steamy side, all of them are worthy of reliving (and maybe some will end up as all-time best movie kisses).