Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Oct. 24 2016 2:48 PM

The Saddest Dogs at the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade

Around this time every year, New Yorkers congregate in Tompkins Square Park to parade their dogs around in miniature Halloween costumes. On paper this sounds like a cute Saturday, right? That’s what I thought—until I brought my camera to the event and got depressed. All of the dogs looked miserable.

New York magazine’s the Cut recently argued that dog Halloween costumes should be illegal, and I’m starting to see their point. On Saturday, most of the pups were dressed in bulky and restrictive outfits: masks, hats, wigs, chains, glasses on their faces, which when shook off would be put right back on, eventually breaking most of their wills. There wasn’t a lot of room to move, and when cameras flashed, the owners did their best to try and physically force the dogs to pay attention. Poor little guys. As funny as some of the costume ideas were, I couldn’t help but empathize with all those sad puppy eyes whispering, “save me.”  I wouldn’t be surprised if the animals held a grudge, and their owners wake up one morning strapped down wearing a wig.

Oct. 24 2016 12:31 PM

Watch the Full-Length PBS Documentary Hamilton’s America, Online Now

On Friday, PBS debuted its long-awaited Hamilton documentary, Hamilton’s America, which chronicles the making of the hit Broadway musical and delves into the history behind the show. The full 82-minute doc is now available online and is a must-watch for fans of the musical, especially since it contains rare footage of the original cast in performance:

Oct. 24 2016 12:24 PM

In its Season Premiere, The Walking Dead’s Brutal Violence Finally Went Too Far

Resolving a season-spanning cliffhanger and ending a full year of speculation, The Walking Dead revealed in last night’s Season 7 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” exactly whose head it was that Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s villain, Negan, crushed with a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat. The answer, as it turned out, was twofold: First Michael Cudlitz’s Abraham went down, and then, with no advance warning, so did Steven Yeun’s Glenn, a fan-favorite character who has been with the show since its first episode.

Oct. 24 2016 11:11 AM

Upgrade Your Halloween Playlist With This Childish Gambino–Stranger Things Mashup

Halloween is approaching, and if you’ve been on the hunt for something less clichéd than “Thriller” and way cooler than “Monster Mash,” your playlist is about to get a serious upgrade. Mashup expert kmlkmljkl has laid Childish Gambino’s vocals from Camp track “Bonfire” over Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein's theme from Stranger Things. The result—a perfect mix of eerie synths with Gambino’s acidic bars—is exactly the Halloween jam we’ve been looking for:

Oct. 24 2016 10:51 AM

Here’s How You Can Dress Like SNL’s David S. Pumpkins This Halloween

If you watched Saturday Night Live this past weekend, chances are you caught a glimpse of Tom Hanks’ glorious, Halloween-themed creation David S. Pumpkins, a smirking eccentric who terrorizes haunted elevator riders with strange asides and robotic dance moves. He also dons a killer pumpkin suit—and it’s quickly becoming a must-have for late Halloween costume buyers.

Oct. 24 2016 9:36 AM

John Oliver Puts Big Pharma on Blast for Enabling America’s Opioid Epidemic

John Oliver would like to talk to you about drugs. Last Week Tonight has taken on Big Pharma in the past for aggressively marketing its products to doctors, but on Sunday, Oliver called out drug companies once again for their role in an epidemic that’s become particularly hot-button this year: American opioid addiction.

In 2012, doctors wrote more than 250 million prescriptions for opioids, and painkiller overdoses lead to thousands of deaths annually—including one high-profile case that put opioids in the headlines earlier this year. On Sunday night’s episode, Oliver examined the role prescription painkillers have played as a gateway to illicit drugs like heroin and broke down the reasons for their abuse, from physicians overprescribing powerful drugs for minor injuries to pharmaceutical companies like Purdue downplaying the addictiveness of the products.

Oct. 24 2016 9:03 AM

The Best Place for Women in Action Movies Is Next to Tom Cruise

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

On Friday, Tom Cruise returned to theaters with the second installment in the Jack Reacher film franchise, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Much like last time, Cruise’s Reacher is called upon to clear the name of an innocent person saddled with a heinous crime, in this case, his former commanding officer Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). It’s the latest installment in the Cruise Action Canon, a set that started in earnest with the first Mission Impossible back in 1996 and has carried through six installments in that franchise, two Reacher movies, and a handful of one-offs like Oblivion, Minority Report, and Edge of Tomorrow. And while these films are all marked by incredible stunt sequences and formidable fight choreography, they’re also notable for something else: providing the best safe spaces for women in all of action cinema.

Oct. 24 2016 8:33 AM

How Barry Jenkins’ Medicine for Melancholy Laid the Groundwork for His Gorgeous, Haunting Moonlight

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, the gorgeous, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in an impoverished, predominantly black Miami neighborhood, has received glowing reviews and is widely considered to be a serious contender in this year’s Oscar season. Just last week, the Gotham Awards announced that it had won a special jury award for outstanding ensemble, along with nominations for Best Feature and Best Screenplay, while New York Times critic A.O. Scott wrote a review headlined Moonlight: Is This the Year’s Best Movie?” Such praise is deserved—the film is ambitious in its scope (filmed in three acts, three different actors play each of the main male protagonists), mesmerizing in its style, and wonderfully specific in its content, with a main character and a setting that feel unlike anything we’ve ever seen on screen. If you haven’t already, you should absolutely go see this film.

But first (or after, if you’ve been so lucky): Watch Jenkins’ debut feature, Medicine for Melancholy, a quiet, contemplative indie centered around the brief relationship between two black twentysomethings, Micah (Wyatt Cenac) and Jo’ (Tracey Heggins). When it was released theatrically in 2009, it slipped largely under the radar of most moviegoers, but, as a recent Indiewire profile points out, it established Jenkins as a new and exciting voice, and inspired other young, aspiring, black filmmakers, such as Justin Simien (Dear White People) and Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty) to keep plugging away at their craft. And now, in the wake of Moonlight, Medicine for Melancholy feels even more like a revelation—the not-so-subtle hint of a talented filmmaker with a lot to say.

Oct. 24 2016 8:03 AM

Hamilton Wrote Like He Was “Running Out of Time.” But How Was His Actual Handwriting?

America’s current favorite founding father, Alexander Hamilton, has always been considered a fine writer; the Federalist Papers have long been praised as exemplars of American political prose. But as the musical Hamilton reminds us, he was also a fast writer—he wrote “like [he was] running out of time”—and his way with quill pens was almost as important as his way with words. A third, oft-overlooked element was key to Hamilton’s success: He had great handwriting.

For striving men in the pre-typewriter era, having good handwriting could be key to your rise in rank. Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern explains how Poggio Bracciolini’s good handwriting helped him ascend from modest beginnings to papal secretary. Hamilton similarly parlayed his facility with loops and strokes to success.

Oct. 23 2016 12:49 PM

Leslie Jones Fires Back at Trolls and Hackers With Hilarious SNL Takedown

Comedian Leslie Jones is receiving lots of praise for a blistering rant on Saturday Night Live aimed straight at the hackers and Twitter trolls who have made her life difficult over the past few months. Hackers have stolen private photos of her and posted them on the internet, and she was also subject to lots of racist online abuse that even led her to briefly quit Twitter. But when Jones went on a Weekend Update segment to talk about cyberterrorism, she managed to take her personal experiences and turn them into a hilarious and poignant takedown of people who try to make others’ lives miserable.

“All they did was release some nude pics of me,” Jones told Colin Jost, “which is nothing because, I don’t know if y’all know this about me, but I ain’t shy … I am very comfortable with who I am. I am an open book. I keep my porn in a folder labeled ‘porn.’ If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask!”


“What I’m trying to say is, if you wanna hurt anybody these days, you’re gonna have to do way more than leak their nudes or call them names—you can’t embarrass me more than I have embarrassed myself. I know all the details, ’cause I was there,” she said. Jones then went on to describe a few of her life’s embarrassing moments, before making a slight pivot and talking to the trolls who have attacked her mercilessly on Twitter.

“Do you think some words on the internet can hurt me? I once had a crazy bitch try to beat me with a shovel at a bus stop because I took her spot on the bench. Now that’s a troll. Real trolls ain’t tapping on keyboards, they’re swinging shovels,” she said.

And Jones ended with a message that, while hilarious, was also very poignant and seems to provide a great life lesson for us all: “I have spent decades getting roasted by comedians,” she said. “Trust me, at a certain point, you stop being embarrassed and start being you. And I have been me for 49 years. Because the only person who can hack me is me, and my firewall is a crazy bitch with a shovel.”

Lots of people online are praising Jones for her rant.

“That may’ve been Leslie Jones’ finest #SNL moment,” wrote Michael Ausiello, editor in chief of TVLine.