Ben is a word enthusiast who writes about everything from politics, religion, film, AI and videogames to dreams, drones, drugs, dogs, memoirs, and terrorizing Floridians with dinosaur costumes.
What Makes a Slang Word Useful?
Living outside of the Philadelphia area for most of my life, I’ve seen my fair share of slang words enter and leave the fray. Some of them are amusing, some of them are useful, and some are outright pointless and forgettable. But it never really occured to me that there might actually be ways of truly assessing a slang word’s value. There are standards that linguists and philologists use to measure what a new word or phrase provides.
Is Language an Economy or a Tapestry?
For much of my time as a writer, I’ve been torn between two camps. Since middle school, my father instilled in me an appreciation for words and each of their distinct meanings. For any given idea, there are a million ways to express it. To include every possible permutation of polysyllabic phrases, proverbs and platitudes, we begin to enter into delightful verbal infinities.
The Right Side of a Wrong War
One of the strangest aspects of war is the awful ambiguity. When it's innocent civilians dying on both sides, morality often blurs. For the outsiders who watch chaos unfold through TV screens, rights and wrongs can fall into a muddled wayside.
Interstellar: A Retrospective
In 2014, the movie Interstellar was released. Directed by Christopher Nolan and with a musical score written by Hans Zimmer, the film stands today as a cinematic masterpiece. From the subject matter to the characters, to the sound design, to the painstaking lengths that they went to getting the science as accurate as possible, Interstellar, in so many ways, is the movie of a generation.
Self-Awareness: The Backbone of the MCU
Even as a fan of the Marvel Universe, sometimes it’s difficult not to feel as though we’re being completely inundated with new projects, movies and shows. Since the start of the pandemic alone, Marvel has released more than ten blockbuster movies — and that’s without even mentioning their burgeoning world of new TV shows. From Loki and Wandavision to Hawkeye and the increasingly notorious She Hulk: Attorney At Law, Marvel fans have had a lot to keep up with in recent months.
'Tenet': Time-Bending Masterpiece or Misfire?
Released in theaters before the arrival of coronavirus vaccines, many had hoped in September of 2020 that Tenet would be the movie that proved why theaters were still necessary. But in a world reeling from the first pandemic in a century, it never managed to achieve the acclaim it strived for. When compared with so many of Christopher Nolan’s previous films, its reception was fairly tepid.
“Asteroid City”: Wes Anderson at his Wessiest
There’s been a brand of cinematic work that’s taken off in recent years, and the style is proving divisive for many viewers. They’re the films that don’t intend to tell cohesive narratives. They’re the films that seem as though they’re more intent on confusing audiences— or at least causing them to think a little too deeply for their comfort — than they are on entertaining them.
The Believable Dystopia of Black Mirror Season 5
So what if I'm doing a review for the fifth season of Black Mirror a few years late… and? Maybe I wanted to put off my fears for the future for as long as I could. Maybe I wasn't particularly excited to watch the singer of "Party in the USA" starring in a Black Mirror episode. But now that season 6 is upon us, I guess I can wait no longer.
The Evolution of Black Mirror: Embracing a Strange Present and Exploring a Familiar Past
Black Mirror is a show like no other. With few exceptions, each episode in its first four seasons centers around a futuristic technology, and the depictions are disturbingly well-realized.
The Film That Scared Me Most as an Adult: Hereditary
Trigger AND spoiler warning --- For much of my adult life, I didn't think very highly of the horror genre. I still enjoyed a good scary movie, but entire years seemed to go by without the slightest deviations from the standard old formulas. Each year brought with it a new onslaught of blockbusters with a recycled series of jump scares and ghastly looking ghosts, demons and ghouls. I'd grown to accept that the horror genre as a whole was something tired and contrived.