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At Last, a Fitness Class That Delivers Electric Shocks While You Exercise

On the Upper East Side, in a historic brick building whose shingle bears an intriguing glyph of a lightning bolt, a fitness studio called Shock Therapy has just opened. The studio offers classes that don’t merely engage the senses but assault them from all angles, with the aid of electronic muscle-stimulation technology, or EMS. Typically used in physical-therapy settings to increase blood flow to the muscles and heal mobility issues, EMS has attracted a smattering of perfection-seekers who see it as a way to tone their bodies without expending the…

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“Black Lightning,” Reviewed: An Ambivalent Superhero (and Superdad) for the Post-Obama Era

In the beginning, Superman came from Krypton to rescue the planet daily. At the movies, Marvel’s Black Panther rules a whole kingdom. On the CW, Supergirl undertakes interdimensional travel, Green Arrow grapples with the threat of a city-shattering bomb, the Flash blurs around battling swarms of mutants, and, in “Black Lightning,” a superhero struggles for the peace of the streets he grew up on. Five episodes in, the hero, played by Cress Williams, faces two opponents: a crime gang that specializes in destroying black youth, and a police force of…

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Culture 

After Parkland, a Visual of the Trumpian Empathy Script

In the social sciences, the “etic” and the “emic” refer to the methodologies that researchers tend to follow. The etic approach is that of the cultural outsider, by which the researcher purposefully maintains a distance from his or her subjects. The emic perspective requires participation and, possibly, ingratiation: the researcher joins in the rituals of the group, observes from within its ranks. The modern American President, a role that has traditionally relied on a public ethnography of sorts, has often appeared to steer emically: when he extends such appeals as…

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Striking Photos of the Past and Present of Papua New Guinea

Is any place on the planet less familiar to Americans than heavily forested, mountainous, linguistically complex, faraway Papua New Guinea? The images on these pages document just a few points on the wide spectrum of life in PNG today. At one end is what might be called extravagant tradition. To see that, the photographer Sandro, who’s based in Chicago, went to the Eastern Highlands and attended the Goroka Show. That’s a three-day festival where people from all over the country showcase their customs. In a makeshift studio Sandro photographed men…

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Culture 

Latest IMAX Film Studies History of American Music

For more than 40 years, Greg MacGillivray has taken his oversize IMAX cameras to the top of Everest, into the eye of a hurricane and out in deepest space. With his latest IMAX feature America’s Musical Journey, though, he focuses on something more abstract: the sounds of one of the country’s greatest cultural exports. Led by the recording artist Aloe Blacc, the film explores the roots of America’s music, from the jazz of New Orleans, to the twang of Nashville, the gospel, blues and rock ’n’ roll of Memphis, and…

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A 21st-Century Reimagining of Norman Rockwell's “Four Freedoms”

E. B. White penned immortal lines for spiders and piglets, but the author of Charlotte’s Web failed to make Franklin Roosevelt’s rhetoric come to life. Hoping to stoke enthusiasm for American involvement in World War II, Roosevelt delivered an address to Congress in January 1941 that laid out the humanitarian values at stake: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. The public response? Crickets. Congress barely applauded. The next day most newspapers didn’t even mention the “Four Freedoms.” Those who were still talking about the…

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How “This Is Us” Unwittingly Reinvented the Humble Crock-Pot

For two seasons, the hit NBC series “This Is Us” left a mysterious hole at the center of its family saga: What caused the death of Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), the loving husband of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and father of three? Even as adults, Jack’s children are rarely seen discussing the tragedy that ended his life years earlier. In an episode that aired earlier this month, fans finally got an answer. It’s the night of the Super Bowl, and all three kids have ditched their dad to watch the game…

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