TIME celebrities

Lena Dunham Is Posting Pictures of Celebrities in Her Planned Parenthood Shirt

Planned Parenthood teamed up with Dunham on her book tour

Celebrity women wearing a special edition pink Planned Parenthood shirt began proliferating on Lena Dunham’s Instagram feed Thursday morning.

Earlier this month, the organization paired up with the actress, director, and new author on her book tour for Not That Kind of Girl. On Thursday, Dunham premiered a limited-time Planned Parenthood shirt, complete with her signature, the proceeds of which will go towards the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Celebrities including Leslie Mann, Amy Poehler, and Ellen Page have taken on the role of model for the new shirt. Here’s a sampling of the reproductive rights supporters:

The angel known as Knope #amypoehler #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:26am PDT

Goddamn, America Ferrera, you slay me #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:25am PDT

Amy Schumer, you beautiful nut! #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:24am PDT

Is there anything fiercer than @gabunion ? #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:24am PDT

Oh excuse you Jenna Lyons!!! #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:23am PDT

More bold brave models tomorrow… But dream of Ellen Page tonight:

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:12pm PDT

TIME radio

Serial: Sarah Koening On the Addictive New Podcast from This American Life

The host and executive producer takes TIME behind the scenes of Serial

The facts are these: Hae Min Lee was killed on January 13, 1999. Her ex-boyfriend and fellow high school student, Adnan Syed, was convicted of the murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

The tragedy is undisputed. The conviction is not.

Lee’s murder and Syed’s guilt or innocence are the mysteries that lie at the heart of Serial, a new documentary podcast series hosted by Sarah Koenig. Every Thursday, Koenig unravels the clues, guiding listeners through hours of interviews, cell phone records, and court room transcripts, even tracking down an alibi witness that was never called to the stand in Syed’s defense. Serial is the first spinoff from the much-loved This American Life radio show, where Koenig serves as a producer. But instead of covering multiple stories in a single episode, Serial goes deep on a single story —Lee and Syed’s story. Each week, more evidence is unfurled, more clues hashed over, and more witnesses are introduced. The result is a compelling, if not addictive, series.

Not that Koenig is convinced that Syed was wrongfully convicted. She just isn’t sure — so she’s using the podcast to try and find answers. “I wouldn’t have started looking into this case if I didn’t have questions about it. If it seemed obvious he was guilty, I wouldn’t have invested all this time and resources. But I didn’t definitely think he was innocent, either,” says Koenig. “There’s definitely something here that I don’t understand, and that the public never got to hear. Something is missing in this story. Something’s not quite right.”

Koenig got involved in the story when Rabia Chaudry, a friend of the Syed family, wrote her a letter asking for assistance. “Rabia Chaudry came to me when I had written about this attorney who had been disbarred — the same lawyer who represented Adnan — and she wanted me to look at his case. The reasoning was that if the lawyer was disbarred, maybe she had screwed up the case.”

According to the podcast, Chaudry had a hard time believing the conviction, because Syed was a good kid. He kept up his grades and ran on the track team; he was well-liked by the community and a practicing Muslim. Syed was convicted almost exclusively on the testimony of a one-time friend and some cell phone records that may or may not corroborate his story. There was no physical evidence at all. It was hard for Chaudry to accept that Syed would have committed the brutal murder of his one-time girlfriend in the middle of the day in a Best Buy parking lot, then bury her body in one of Baltimore’s notorious dumping grounds. It was easier to believe the disbarred attorney, who has since passed away, had failed in her job.

Koenig, though, isn’t sure that’s the case. “It was flawed counsel,” says Koenig. “But I don’t think he got a sh–ty lawyer. She just made some mistakes.”

Among those mistakes is what Koenig calls “the Asia thing,” where Syed’s attorney didn’t talk to a witness who could have given Syed an alibi for the time of the murder. That, in Koenig’s opinion, is “an out-and-out screw-up”.

“That’s just an error. I don’t see the logic in not talking to an alibi witness, even if you talk to her and say, ‘This isn’t going to work’ or ‘This isn’t true’ or whatever. But failing to contact her? That just seems like she just screwed up to me,” says Koenig.

“The other thing, which we’re going to get to — in an episode that’s not yet written— is that [Syed's attorney] just concentrated her rigor in the wrong places in this case. It’s not that she was napping during testimony or high on cocaine — she was a good hardworking attorney who made tactical errors in addition to a few out-and-out screw-ups,” says Koenig. “She was a really well-respected attorney! She had a great reputation, and it was earned. There are parts of the trial where you’re just like, ‘Man, she is just like a pit bull on this thing!’ She’s pushing and pushing and pushing. She’s objecting where she should and getting things on the record. She’s working hard.”

Still, Koenig says: “If Adnan is innocent, though, she would have a lot to answer for. If he’s guilty, well, that’s a different question.”

Koenig hopes that listeners will get to know Lee more than they do now, but for now, she won’t focus on her. “It’s an upsetting story. A girl was murdered and it’s horrible,” says Koenig. “Getting people to talk to me about that and be honest with me about that is hard. For a lot of these people, even those not directly involved, this was the defining horror of their lives. It’s hard for them.”

“The level of stress and anxiety and discomfort that I have lived with for the last year just thinking about this story, I don’t understand how [criminal lawyers] do it all the time,” says Koenig. “If I’ve learned nothing else, I’m glad I’m not a lawyer.”

One of the most compelling aspects of Serial is that it’s simply unclear whether justice was served in this case. While people are used to hearing stories like this end with the release of an innocent man, Syed might be guilty. After all, a jury convicted him and, according to the podcast, the jury came to their verdict fairly quickly. Still, is Koenig hoping to free an innocent man? “That’s hard,” says Koening. “It would be great to do a story and get somebody who is innocent out of jail. That’s a wonderful thing. That said, I don’t think that’s necessarily what I’ve got here. At all.”

The uncertainty stems from the fact that Koenig and her other producers are still reporting the story. “We’re still working on it! We’re still working on the episode that comes out in two days! We’re in the thick of it,” says Koenig. “I’m not that far ahead of you right now.” The podcast is such a work in progress, Koenig says, that they don’t even know for how long the show will run. “We’re thinking in the realm of a dozen, but that could change. We’ve written five so far.”

For Koenig, who has been a producer at This American Life for ten years, releasing a story a chapter at a time has been a steep learning curve. “Structuring the arc of the season before you know how the story ends is very challenging,” says Koenig. “I also did not realize how vulnerable it can make you to release your work product before your reporting is finished. I had not anticipated that element.”

Despite the difficulties, Koenig and her team plan on continuing the podcast. “If I don’t plotz first, the idea is to do another story next year,” laughs Koenig. “We want to keep it going and the idea is that we will, if people seem interested in it.”

People are definitely interested. Serial was the number one podcast on iTunes two weeks before the first episode even premiered. “I was very surprised. Very, very surprised,” says Koenig. “I’ve been intrigued by a lot of stories in my career, but I think a ton of the interest is because this is a crime. It’s a murder case. This sounds naïve, but I didn’t think that would be a thing. I didn’t see it.”

But before starting to work on next year’s story, which she has not chosen yet, Koenig hopes to find some answers about this one. She wants to find out whether justice was served — and whether Lee’s killer is behind bars or still out there. “I am hopeful that I will figure it out one way or the other,” says Koenig. “I may have to give that up along the way, but today, I’m hopeful.”

TIME Media

The Post-Television TV Era Has Begun

Treehouse of Horror XXV

The concept of "TV" is being unbundled from the medium that delivers it and the machine you watch it on.

My column in this week’s print TIME (subscription required) is about a couple of big developments in TV this month that are both very different and closely related. The first is the unveiling of Simpsons World, the online gorge-a-thon of every episode of The Simpsons ever made. The second is the decision of HBO and CBS to offer their programming through streaming apps, by subscription, without paying for cable.

There’s a lot of talk in the TV business right now about “unbundling”–the idea of consumers buying more of the programming they now get in a giant, expensive cable package in a la carte pieces. The Simpsons move and the HBO/CBS news are not both “unbundling” in the same business sense. The networks apps are outside the cable bundle; you pay a fee for them (about $6 for CBS, yet-to-be-determined for HBO). Simpsons World, on the other hand, actually reinforces the bundle in a way, because in order to use it, you have to have a cable account.

But they’re each examples of how quickly now the business is unbundling the concept of TV from the medium and machine that deliver it. “TV”–actual, mainstream, desirable TV content–is now no longer something you necessarily watch on a television set or receive through a cable or satellite company’s pipes. It can be, as with Netflix and Amazon, a library of archival and original programming you get over the Internet. (It’s amazing, really, how quickly the two have become as prestigious as premium cable; in a couple short years they went to their Sopranos phase, skipping right over the Dream On phase.) It can be, as with HBO, a service you contract for separately. It can be, as with Simpsons World, an online entity in which a show becomes a “channel,” a destination, an experience that, as I say in the column, “is a better way to experience an expansively world-building show like The Simpsons than watching it on TV.”

It’s all exciting for TV makers and viewers–though, it can’t be overemphasized, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your future entertainment bill will be any cheaper. You could, in the near future, cobble together a decent cord-cut package with broadband service, an HD antenna, and some combination of HBO, Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime–but you’d need to be willing to give up things (like a lot of basic cable channels and much live sports). If more cable networks follow HBO’s lead, buying them a la carte will add up–and if a monster like ESPN unbundles itself, it won’t come cheap. And, of course, you’ll have to pay for the broadband–which may already come from your cable company–and that fee may just get bigger itself.

Still more ways of paying for and distributing TV means more possibilities for experimentation, and that’s a good thing. In November, we get more episodes of High Maintenance, the brilliant slice-of-life online series about a Manhattan pot dealer’s clients, distributed through Vimeo. (One of the appropriately dead-on details in the episodes already made: everyone watches TV on their laptops.)

And it’s also fitting that in the time of Simpsons World, we’ve also seen the debut of Nixon’s the One, a production from Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer, who inhabits the role of the impeached President in vignettes with dialogue drawn verbatim from his secret White House recordings. Not only is the performance excellent–Shearer finds both menace and oddball humanity in the President–but the staging is genius, with the camera placed awkwardly in corners, as if the video itself were surreptitious, like the Mitt Romney 47% video.

Watching Nixon scheme and hold forth in the Oval Office, you can even catch a little glimpse of Shearer’s Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. You can see the pilot below, and it is (rubs hands together) excellent:

TIME movies

A Comic Book Dummy’s Guide to the Marvel Universe Plan


Everything you need to know about Marvel's upcoming slate of movies — and the characters that populate them

On Tuesday, Disney’s Marvel Studios made some major announcements about the future of its superheroes on the big screen. Studio head Kevin Feige laid out the plan through 2019, and it includes some very obscure superheroes. While comic book fans everywhere are pumped, the millions of people who paid to make the Iron Man movies blockbusters probably don’t even know who Captain Marvel is, or how the big purple guy from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies relates to the Infinity Gauntlet.

So for those of us who aren’t comic book experts, here’s a breakdown of who these new superheroes are, what the Avengers’ next adventure might be, and what the next five years of summer movies will look like.

Ultron (The Avengers: Age of Ultron, May 1, 2015)

Let’s start out with the core of Marvel’s empire: the Avengers. A quick refresher on this crew: the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which now have their own television show) led by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) bring together the Avengers Initiative: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). These superheroes are assisted by agents Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). In the last movie, they saved the world from Thor’s brother Loki who used an object called the Tesseract to build a wormhole and invade earth.

So now that we’ve dispatched of the Tesseract, what’s next? The titular villain in the sequel, Ultron, is a machine originally created by Dr. Hank Pym, who was once Ant-Man (more on that in a second). Ultron became sentient and rebelled, as machines always tend to do in these sorts of situations. Ultron’s ultimate goal is total destruction of the human race, and he’s arguably the Avenger’s biggest adversary in the comics. He’ll be played by James Spader in the movie.

Ant-Man (Ant-Man, July 17, 2015)

Since we’re on the topic of Hank Pym, let’s talk Ant-Man. The premise of the film is that a con man and electronics expert named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) receives the Ant-Man costume and technology from his mentor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Ant-Man is able to reduce himself to the size of an ant while gaining superhuman strength, and can will other objects to change size. He also has a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with and control insects. (Useful!)

The casting of Rudd (Role Models, Knocked Up) and tapping of director Peyron Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man) indicates that the movie will have a strong comedic element.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2014
Thanos in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Film Frame/Marvel Studios

Thanos (The Avengers: Infinity War, Part I: May 4, 2018 and Part II: May 3, 2019)

Yes, Age of Ultron is still half a year away, and we’re already talking about the third Avengers movie. Or, rather, the third and fourth Avengers movies. Marvel announced that The Avengers: Infinity War will be released in two parts because — well, why not?

The big bad in Avengers: Infinity War will be Thanos (Josh Brolin), first seen at the very end of The Avengers and again as an evil puppet-master in Guardians of the Galaxy who adopted and raised Gamora (Zoe Saldana). This hasn’t come up in the movies yet, but in comic book lore, Thanos is in love with the Mistress Death (the female embodiment of death — yes, really) and wants to impress her by killing everyone in the galaxy.

How does Thanos plan to do this? Well, he possesses this thing called the Infinity Guantlet — basically a metal glove encrusted with a lot of powerful gems that gives him power over time, space and all living beings. Yep — that’s a pretty serious weapon. Presumably Thanos doesn’t have all the gems he needs; otherwise, there would be no movie. Feige has said that the Tesseract from The Avengers was actually one of the Infinity Stones needed to make the gauntlet work, and so was the stone everyone’s trying to get their hands on in Guardians.

Given that Thanos has already appeared in two Marvel franchise, this movie is likely going to have a lot of superheroes in it.

Ragnarok (Thor: Ragnarok, July 28, 2017)

Thor: Ragnarok will have Thor’s Chris Hemsworth facing off against…Chris Hemsworth. Ragnarok is an evil cyborg clone of Thor created by an unexpected source.

Captain America vs. Iron Man (Captain America: Civil War, May 6, 2016)

The other major news in the world of the Avengers heroes is that Captain America 3 will follow the “Civil War” comics storyline. At this point, any interpretation of what that means is speculation, but here’s how it plays out in the comics.

After a superhero-related disaster, the U.S. government puts its foot down: all superheroes will have to register with the government. No more secret identities. Obviously, this is controversial among the masked men and women. Superheroes take their sides: Tony Stark becomes the poster boy of the government’s plan, while Captain America (despite his name) believes this is the first step towards fascism in America and goes underground. It’s at this point that Ragnarok comes into the picture, though I won’t spoil how.

Basically, expect some sort of supremely watchable epic battle between Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. People are very excited about this.

Black Panther concept art Marvel Studios

Black Panther (Black Panther, Nov. 3, 2017)

Black Panther will be the first lead black superhero in a Marvel movie. (Up until now, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as Rhodey, Idris Elba as Heimdall and Anthony Mackie as Falcon have all played sidekick-type roles in the films. That may change in the upcoming Captain America movies, since it’s rumored that Mackie will get to take up the role of Captain America at some point.)

T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, hails from the fictional country of Wakanda, a technologically advanced African nation. In the comic books, the Black Panther title is given to the chief of the Panther Tribe in Wakanda, which T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, holds at the time of his birth. His father is later killed by Klaw over a a rare metal T’Chaka discovered called Vibranium. (Coincidentally, Captain America’s shield is made from this metal.) T’Challa, who has no superpowers, begins to train to avenge his father. He ends up living a double life in Wakanda and in America, where he befriends the Avengers. (He also has a relationship with X-Men’s Storm in the comic books, but since Marvel Studios doesn’t own the rights to X-Men, I doubt she’ll be showing up.)

The role of Black Panther will be filled by Chadwick Boseman, who’s played James Brown in Get on Up and Jackie Robinson in 42. And Marvel’s going all in with this hero. According to Deadline, he has signed up for five — yep, five — films as Black Panther (including, presumably, some Avengers films).

Captain Marvel (Captain Marvel, July 6, 2018)

Finally, Marvel Studios is making a woman-led superhero movie. Though the title of Captain Marvel has been held by men for many decades, in 2012, the mantle passed to a female character named Carol Danvers, previously known as Ms. Marvel. Danvers is part human and part Kree, an alien race you may remember from Guardians of the Galaxy. She trained in the Air Force, can fly, has super-strength and has been kicking ass since feminist comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick started penning her series.

Marvel is playing catch-up when it comes to female superheroes: Warner Bros. has already announced a Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot (who will also appear in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Sony has a movie based on a female character from the Spider-Man universe in the works. Feige struggled this summer to answer why they hadn’t already made a female led movie, but hinted that something like this was coming.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) Marvel

What about Black Widow?

The Captain Marvel announcement comes as something of a surprise, given that Marvel already has a major female superhero in its film arsenal: Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Black Widow, or Natasha Romanoff, works for the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and has appeared in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: Winder Soldier. Fans have been lobbying for Black Widow to get her own franchise, but Feige says they shouldn’t hold their breath.

“Black Widow couldn’t be more important as an Avenger, but like Hulk, the Avengers films will be the films where they play a primary role,” said Feige. “Her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron is very, very big and further develops her character. The plans we have for her through the rest of the Avengers saga are very big and she is a linchpin, in fact, to those films. So instead of taking her out there or doing a prequel which we haven’t done yet, we’re continuing the forward momentum of the continuity of the Cinematic Universe, of which Widow is a key part.”

Sorry, Scar-Jo fans.

Inhumans (Inhumans, Nov. 2, 2018)

The Inhumans movie will introduce dozens of new superheroes. The comic focuses on the royal family of the Inhuman race — the result of aliens called the Kree (again, see Guardians of the Galaxy) experimenting on Earth’s primitive homo sapiens to create genetically superior people. The Inhuman royal family is headed by Black Bolt, who can level a city with his voice.

Doctor Strange (Doctor Strange, November 4, 2016)

Marvel is officially headed for the supernatural realm — and there’s a possibility that Benedict Cumberbatch will be at the helm.

Doctor Strange starts out as an arrogant surgeon, then gets into a car accident that destroys his hands. (Those are kind of an important asset for a surgeon.) Desperate to find a cure for the loss of his fine motor skills, he searches the darkest corners of the world for a solution. Eventually he meets a person called The Ancient One who introduces him to the mystic arts. Eventually, Doctor Strange becomes the guy you turn to when you need to battle magical forces.

This movie promises a lot of psychedelic CGI. Expect it to be very different from the Avengers films. But Marvel proved this summer that it can succeed when it ventures off the beaten path. Which brings me to…

Guardians of the Galaxy
‘s Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy 2, May 5, 2017)

Unless you spent this summer under a rock, you probably saw Guardians of the Galaxy, the highest-grossing movie of the year so far. And the Guardians are starting to serve as sort of a lynch pin for this whole universe; the Kree, which we first met this summer, pop up in the Inhumans and Captain Marvel origin stories. So though they seemed like a joke when that video of Bradley Cooper voicing a raccoon surfaced, they’re kind of a big deal now. For those of you who didn’t make it to the first movie, here’s the cast of rag-tag characters that will be returning in May 2017:

Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt): Kidnapped from earth as a kid, Quill is a human who becomes the leader of the Guardians.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana): The last of a race called the Zen-Whoberi, Gamora was hand-groomed as an assassin by the villain Thanos. But she turned on her adopted father to join the Guardians and is commonly known as the Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe.

Drax (Dave Bautista): A superhuman warrior out to avenge his murdered family.

Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper): A talking raccoon with a fondness for large guns.

Groot (Vin Diesel): A talking tree that only says “groot.” Also enjoys dancing.

No Spider-Man…yet

Marvel licensed out the rights to Spider-Man to Sony long before it created its own studio. Though Feige didn’t make any announcements at this event, Marvel and Sony have reportedly been in talks to jointly own the character, allowing for a Spider-Man crossover into the Avengers universe.

TIME celebrities

Bill Maher Will Be UC Berkeley’s Commencement Speaker Despite Student Protest

Celebrities Visit "Late Show With David Letterman" - September 8, 2014
Television personality Bill Maher enters the "Late Show With David Letterman" taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on September 8. Ray Tamarra—WireImage

School says it's not "an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements"

The University of California, Berkeley says it will not rescind an invitation to comedian Bill Maher to be the school’s commencement speaker, despite a student vote to disinvite him.

The student committee in charge of the speaker selection process voted to rescind the HBO host’s invitation on Tuesday amid growing criticism of Maher’s views on religion and particularly Islam. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org to cancel Maher’s December commencement speech.

But on Wednesday, the university released a statement saying it will not accept the student vote.

“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the school said. “It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them.”

Maher’s response to the controversy? You’ll have to watch the show:

TIME Television

Watch Anita Sarkeesian School Stephen Colbert on GamerGate

She even declares Colbert a feminist

The maker of a feminist video game who has faced vitriol from some members of the “GamerGate” online movement stopped by The Colbert Report on Wednesday and handily schooled the host’s fake gamer persona.

“I’m saving the princess, and I’m supposed to let the princess die? Is that what you want?” Colbert asks Anita Sarkeesian incredulously.

“Well maybe the princess shouldn’t be a damsel and she could save herself,” Sarkeesian replies, drawing cheers from women in the crowd. (“I didn’t know you brought a posse,” Colbert jokingly responds.)

The GamerGate movement, named after the Twitter hashtag that has fueled its growth, purports to challenge poor ethics in video-game journalism. But it has also unleashed a wave of sexist comments and threats against women in the overall gaming industry.

Sarkeesian, who has publicly criticized video-game culture for its portrayal of women, canceled a talk at Utah State University earlier this month after the school received an email threat of a shooting massacre. While the school considered it safe for the talk to continue, Sarkeesian decided to pull out of the event because the school was barred by state law from disallowing legal guns on campus during the event.

“They’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space,” Sarkeesian says. By the end of the interview, she even declares Colbert a feminist after he asks if he’s allowed — as a man — to be one.

See the full interview below:

TIME celebrities

Here’s Jesse Williams Venting About Ferguson and Trayvon Martin Halloween Costumes

Actor Jesse Williams in New York in 2013.
Actor Jesse Williams in New York in 2013. Jamie McCarthy—Getty Images

"We don't reflexively celebrate random or routine white death, make memes of your bleeding corpses"

Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams went on a Twitter tirade this week about the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and about people who dress up for Halloween as Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black teen who was shot dead.

Here’s just a few of his tweets, some of which were sent in response to the recent release of an autopsy report that seemed to give some weight to the police version of events in the Ferguson shooting, which sparked weeks of sometimes violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

Read more at Essence

TIME Opinion

How Kim Kardashian Is Changing the Fashion Industry

Vogue Kanye West & Kim Kardashian

The new wave of social media fashion influencers may long for Vogue's stamp of approval, but they don't need it.

In a year of embarrassing missteps by fashion publications (among them, Marie Claire’s discovering cornrows in the form of Kendall Jenner’s “bold braids” and Elle‘s discovery of Timberland boots), the most memorable was Vogue‘s discovery of the female derriere. “We’re Officially in the Era of the Big Booty,” a Vogue headline read last month, above an article reading “it would appear that the big booty has officially become ubiquitous.” The proof positive, per Vogue, was the newfound prominence of Kim Kardashian, who’d been on a cover of the magazine earlier that year.

Never mind that the magazine has by now reverted to the mean, with its November cover depicting thin, blonde model Natalia Vodianova glorying in the Paris Opera Ballet, rejecting both the concept of “big booty” and the less-than-high brow sort of reality-show fame Kardashian had achieved.

But the Vodianova cover feels like something from a different, less interesting era, while the Kardashian one feels au courant.

The fashion bible still fancies itself an opinion-maker, with the power to anoint trends as officially having happened, or celebrities as officially having merit or beauty. Lately, though, the publication seems to be chasing the trends set by a cadre of public figures rather than setting them; what’s in Vogue is in vogue because the magazine finally noticed.

Consider the case of Kim Kardashian. The reality star finally got her wish when she appeared on the April cover, but the packaging of the spread seemed vaguely critical. It’s quite rare for a man to appear on Vogue’s cover, but Kardashian appeared with fiancé Kanye West, who was possibly considered a more legitimate object of interest given his achievements in music. And then there was an editor’s letter by Anna Wintour that mounted a strange defense of the cover (“As for the cover, my opinion is that it is both charming and touching,” Wintour wrote as though she hadn’t commissioned and chosen it).

The whole thing seemed to hold Kardashian at arms’ length. It was as if the magazine had decided it was impossible to ignore her, just as it is impossible to ignore the fact that that curvy butts are popular. Kim Kardashian, at a voluptuous 5’2”, isn’t a natural fit for a publication that’s usually populated with pale, willowy models. And Wintour’s magazine seemed just as out of its depth honoring her as it did writing about the body shape she’s helped legitimize. In both cases, the magazine felt out of its depth.

Kanye West’s active lobbying for Kardashian’s Vogue cover got one thing wrong: He was right that Kardashian has a more engaged following than does the magazine, but he was wrong that she ought to be on the cover. The manner in which Kardashian cycles through expensive couture—changing her look day-to-day in order to keep her Instagram followers sated—makes her an inapt cover subject for the fashion bible. There’s no one fixed fashion image of Kardashian, or of Beyoncé, the past Vogue cover model whom the New York Times recently, rightly, said was not a fashion icon. Both Kardashian and Beyoncé, and, for that matter, 2014 Vogue cover model Rihanna, dress in well-curated (and expensive) garments, and have no rigidly defined aesthetic. A specific or iconic “look” really only works if one is the sort of person for whom fashion designers tailor a specific genre of clothes for or who are known for a well-defined style like Kate Middleton, Angelina Jolie or Lupita Nyong’o. Kardashian and other entertainers like her have had to be more imaginative to make couture work for them; Kardashian has been particularly successful at this, having shifted like a chameleon from straightforwardly “sexy” looks to intriguingly structural or textured outfits that are outré enough to engender debate in an Instagram comment thread.

And they’ve succeeded. These women push the culture and the aesthetics of beauty further away from the standard fashion model look every time they upload a photo. Vogue, a publication that’s always thrived on being able to label, categorize or dictate each development, can only hope to play catch-up. Officially or no, butts were always “in” for the people who have to figure out how to dress them. And given the difference in Kim Kardashian’s Twitter followers (over 24 million) and Vogue circulation (1.26 million), it’s a substantial fashion-loving audience that Vogue ignores at its peril. The magazine’s new openness to different body shapes is a net good, but it’s not hard to wish that stars like Kim Kardashian would blow off a magazine where they’re only grudgingly included.


In the Latest Issue

Photograph by Robert Maxwell for TIME

Interstellar, Where No Movie Has Gone Before
A new movie updates the Hollywood space odyssey with a fable based on fact

Review: Interstellar’s Wonder of Worlds Beyond
The movie’s reach exceeds its grasp—in the best possible way

The Last Men of Steel
Cheap natural gas is giving manufacturer Nucor a shot at reversing the long decline in American steelmaking

5 Things to Watch for in the Midterm Elections
Will Mitch McConnell’s Republicans gain control of the Senate?

Jake Gyllenhaal, Carnivore With a Camera
Nightcrawler exposes the predations of TV news

Cheap Gas Puts the Squeeze on Hybrids and EVs
Electric cars suffer when it’s easy to fill the tank

Joe Biden’s Perks and Recreation
Cheap vacation destination for Obama officials faces scrutiny

Eddie Redmayne Is Manic Impressive as Stephen Hawking
The actor shows the physicist in a new light

Review: Prince Lestat Is Bloody Marvelous
Novelist Anne Rice revives her most glamorous vampire

Google and the Clutter Killers
Apps offer to combat your data overload

Simpsonize Your TV
Why the future of media is looking like a box of doughnuts

The World Health Organization Comes Under Fire for Failure to Stop Ebola
The agency has been missing in action at a critical time

The Tipping Point
How did this outbreak get so bad? There’s plenty of blame to go around

10 Questions With Diane Von Furstenberg
The fashion designer and mogul on love, beauty, business and not being Mrs. Diller




Remembering Jack Bruce, the Bassist Who Shaped a Generation
He stayed on top of his game with blues riffs and experimental sound

Gabe Kaplan Remembers Marcia Strassman
Mr. Kotter on his Mrs. Kotter, a tremendous and versatile actress

The Culture

Upward Motion

Pop Chart

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