Maggie Kuhn is demonstrating her "Gray Panther growl" -- the signature move of an activist group that has challenged the mandatory retirement age, protested negative media portrayals of the elderly and, in general, encouraged senior citizens to make a ruckus. The indomitable founder of the group stretches out her hands. Bent with arthritis, they quiver like seaweed. "Compassionate hands," she says. But her warm gesture is coupled with a stuck-out tongue. "Cry out against injustice," she exhorts the crowd in front of her, which responds with enthusiastic screams.
Mahatma Gandhi has had a hard time of it lately. Lad mag Maxim recently featured illustrations of the revered activist being beaten up by an oversized jock -- choice images for the magazine's "Kick-Ass Workout" feature. "Teach those pacifists a lesson about aggression," exhorted the copy, as Gandhi was hoisted, stomped on and thrown around. Mayhem ensued when Maxim received more than 5,000 complaints, prompting the magazine to issue an apology defending its "edgy sense of humor, laced with irony."
Those who have read Maxim might find that last defense particularly funny: Any magazine that treats gadgetry and women's erogenous zones with the same button-mashing enthusiasm has no sense of irony.
With all its talk of getting down to the basics, it was only a matter of time until Survivor tried the boys-against-girls tactic. In recent years, the reality-show franchise has gone beyond its original premise and trotted out a whole new set of tricks to keep both viewers and contestants off-kilter. Instead of having two teams whittle themselves down to one skinny $1 million winner, Survivor creator Mark Burnett has tried tinkering with three teams, team swapping and other variations on his show's evil themes of backstabbing, celebrity whoring and really bad indigestion. But there is something diabolically simple -- and potentially very entertaining -- about this latest incarnation, Survivor: The Amazon.
Nia, the heroine of the new CBS series My Big Fat Greek Life, is gabbing at an airport luggage carousel. She just came back from her honeymoon; she's Greek and she married -- gasp! -- a non-Greek guy. Her crazy family freaked out, of course, but now everything is OK. "Yeah," she says to the hapless guy she's cornered while waiting for her luggage, "it would make a good movie."
Jay Leno and David Letterman should take lessons from one of the newer talk-show hosts on the block: Isaac Mizrahi. The garrulous fashion designer has been chatting up celebrities on the TV channel Oxygen for nearly three seasons now (new episodes start next week), and with his artfully disheveled hair and artless charm, he has a real way with getting stars to talk about, well, anything.