This weekend, Veronica Mars fans were delighted by the release of the long-awaited film sequel, which was partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign to the tune of $5.7 million last year. But now that the excitement of a new Veronica Mars adventure has worn off, critics can start evaluating the content of the film — and NPR's Linda Holmes has a particularly thoughtful critique of the movie's troubling philosophy on relationships. (Spoilers for the Veronica Mars movie to follow.)
The Veronica Mars movie offers a textbook example of what Holmes dubs "The Bad Caterpillar Theory": The idea that a "mean, jealous, possessive, violent, angry, emotionally unavailable," guy will evolve into a noble, trustworthy, good-hearted man if the female protagonist simply waits long enough. In this case, Veronica's boyfriend of nearly a decade is pushed aside in favor of Logan Echolls, a bad boy with a heart of gold:
By the time the movie starts, Logan has emerged as the Butterfly to a degree that's almost comical. He no longer has any flaws whatsoever; he shows up in Navy whites that weirdly look like they're too big for him, but the message is clear: he's all grown up. There's effectively no edge left to the character at all, and although the movie co-opts the language of addiction and recovery to have Veronica talk about the relationship as an addiction, there's no indication that any of it is actually bad for her or that she's even legitimately conflicted about it. He's transparently innocent of the crime she's trying to get him off the hook for, he's in the Navy ... he's basically been transformed into a cartoon prince.
At last, her patience, her faith, her unwillingness to give up has paid off. The Butterfly has arrived.
So of course she has to dump her nice, generous, supportive, unexciting boyfriend. Of course she does. [NPR]
Last month, the U.S. exported more natural gas than it imported for the first time in almost 60 years. The country exported 7.4 billion cubic feet of liquefied gas a day in November, compared to the 7 billion cubic feet it imported daily, The Wall Street Journal reports.
American gas exports have jumped more than 50 percent since 2010, and the Department of Energy expects the U.S. to become the third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2020, behind Australia and Qatar. The two biggest U.S. customers are Canada and Mexico, who are partnered with the U.S. through the North American Free Trade Agreement. Plans to export to other partners, like South Korea and Singapore, are already in the works.
There's at least one thing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has remained faithful to throughout the presidential election: his love for cheese. While at a queso competition in Texas on Wednesday, Cruz spent nearly a minute professing his unwavering love for the delectable melted dairy beloved in the Lone Star State. "It speaks to the soul," Cruz said. "Good queso relaxes you."
While Cruz has previously said he loves cheese in general, he indicated Wednesday that queso ranks top cheese in his book. While your run-of-the mill cheese can be served on anything from a cracker to "one of those tiny Vienna sausages," Cruz argued that queso is something special. "Queso is made to be scooped up with tortilla chips, dribbling down your chin and onto your shirt," Cruz said.
Catch Cruz's entire queso monologue below. Becca Stanek
— Jordan Rudner (@jrud) December 7, 2016
On Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, radio station WNYC shared its original broadcast aired on Dec. 7, 1941. The station, which was reportedly the first in New York City to report the attack, offered play-by-plays of American retaliation against the Japanese and of the Hawaiian governor's reports to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt over the phone as a "second wave of Japanese planes began flying over Hawaii."
Take a listen below. Becca Stanek
WNYC was the first radio station in NYC to report the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today. Hear the original broadcast: pic.twitter.com/vFZrWDvEtJ
— WNYC (@WNYC) December 7, 2016
A three-mile deep, 70-mile long crack in Antarctica could soon cause a chunk of the continent to break off and float away as a massive, state-sized iceberg, Popular Science reports.
The piece of ice threatening to snap off comes from a region called "Larsen C" and only makes up about 12 percent of the ice sheet's total area. Still, it would create an iceberg the size of Delaware if it were to detach. Larsen C would then go the way of ice sheets Larsen A and B, both of which broke off the continent in a similar fashion over the last 20 years.
— Rachel Feltman (@RachelFeltman) December 7, 2016
Usually ice sheets break up in much smaller pieces, but giant rifts such as the one growing in Antarctica now are becoming more and more likely due to what scientists believe are effects from climate change. Jeva Lange
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has officially resigned, according to a statement from the nation's president's office.
Renzi's resignation, first announced Monday, follows a heavy defeat in his referendum on constitutional reform. Renzi said he took "full responsibility" for the loss, adding, "We gave the Italians an opportunity to change, but we didn't succeed."
Renzi took office two-and-a-half years ago. Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose role in the nation is primarily ceremonial, will select a new prime minister — Italy's fifth in as many years — with elections not scheduled until 2018. Jeva Lange
Donald Trump will appoint Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the transition team has informed Reuters. Pruitt has long been an outspoken critic of President Obama's EPA, and even sued the agency over its water regulations as well as its controversial climate change regulations imposed on power plants, Politico reports.
President-elect Donald Trump doesn't seem to have switched up his interviewing style from his days as a ruthless businessman on reality TV show The Apprentice. In a wide-ranging reveal published in The New York Times on Wednesday, candidates who have either interviewed for positions in Trump's White House or simply sat down for a chat with the president-elect dished on their experiences being interrogated by America's next commander-in-chief. The overwhelming takeaway: Once a businessman, always a businessman.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Trump is all about wanting to know "what you can do for him." "If you filibuster, he'll cut you off," Gingrich said. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a contender for the next secretary of agriculture, said Trump clearly approached their sit-down "from a deal standpoint." "He believes that we in the United States have been sort of patsies over the years in the way we've dealt with our foreign competitors and international trade — and I agree with him — and he wanted to know what I would do about it," Perdue told The New York Times. Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown noted a similar takeaway, saying Trump "made it clear that he's a businessman and he's going to delegate to people."
Others couldn't help but notice the atmosphere at Trump Tower was reminiscent of the entertainment world. Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta compared approaching Trump Tower to "walking the red carpet in Hollywood." "It was like a green room," said BET founder Robert L. Johnson, "a waiting room of people you know or you know of, all waiting their turn."