The actor Ryan Reynolds before a panel at Comic-Con International for the Green Lantern, which premiers this June. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
A purple-skinned alien hurtles across the cosmos, bearing a ring that grants its wearer unimaginable power. The alien is mortally wounded, and the ring is seeking its next wearer -- the Green Lantern, Earth's champion -- by finding the planet's most courageous inhabitant.
In a world with billions of people, what are the chances that the ring's next owner is a white American dude?
I'm on record as being less than thrilled with the eulogizing of Robert Byrd, whose major accomplishments as a senator seem to have involved funneling money back to West Virginia and holding down his seat for a really, really long time. The length of his tenure placed him third in line for the presidency as president pro tempore, but since his passing, he's been replaced in that role by Hawaii's Daniel Inouye, who is 85.
Over at The New Republic, John McWhorterlavishes praise on Stuart Buck's book, Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation, which probably isn't terribly surprising. The thrust of Buck's book -- that blacks lag in educational outcomes because of a dysfunctional pathology that demonizes academic excellence -- has been McWhorter's pet cause for years.
As much as I enjoyed Avatar: The Last Airbender, the excellent and popular animated epic that aired on Nickelodeon a few years ago, I'm viewing the premiere of its movie adaptation tomorrow with serious apprehension, and not simply because it's being helmed by M. Night Shyamalan. The television show is set in a deeply imagined world whose inhabitants are mostly Asian. Aang, the heroic Avatar, appears to be a Shaolin monk, with an origin story similar to that of the Dalai Lama. His fellow travelers, who hail from the fictional world's cold south, are comparatively darker-skinned and appear to be Inuit.
Along with his fellow Republicans, Jeff Sessions spent much of the first day of Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings weirdly taking aim at the storied judicial career of Thurgood Marshall. Why? Because Marshall was an enemy of originalists, and the senators wanted to portray Kagan, who clerked for him, as cut from the same ideological cloth.