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Martha Bayles

Martha Bayles is the film and TV critic for The Claremont Review of Books and the author of two books: Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad, and Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music; and a regular columnist for The American Interest. Since 2003 she has taught in the Arts & Sciences Honors Program at Boston College.

Articles found on this site:
Angle of Descent
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: October 17, 2017

Detroit rips open old wounds.

 

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Elizabethan Virtues
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: July 31, 2017
This article appeared in: Volume XVII, Number 3

Dignity, not celebrity.

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A Long-Form Miracle
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: April 25, 2017
This article appeared in: Volume XVII, Number 2, Spring 2017

The Young Pope is a dazzling work of art.

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Le Carré’s People
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: February 1, 2017
This article appeared in: Volume XVII, Number 1, Winter 2016/17

The Cold War novelist on the big and small screen. 

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Horror Show
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: November 8, 2016
This article appeared in: Volume XVI, Number 4, Fall 2016

What does The Walking Dead say about American anxieties? 

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The Americans - A Fan's Notes
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: August 11, 2016
This article appeared in: Volume XVI, Number 3, Summer 2016

Truth, lies, and TV spies.

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Enemy of the People
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: May 11, 2016
This article appeared in: Volume XVI, Number 2, Spring 2016

Donald Trump's bad reality show.

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Whistleblowers and Deaf Ears
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: February 23, 2016
This article appeared in: Volume XVI, Number 1, Winter 2015/16

Democracy and transparency need each other. 

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In Our Guts
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: November 9, 2015
This article appeared in: Volume XV, Number 4, Fall 2015

Two television shows' very different outlooks on war and prisoners of war. 

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Personal Technology
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: August 24, 2015
This article appeared in: Volume XV, Number 3, Summer 2015
“What does it mean to understand man well enough to create one?” The question is posed in Plug & Pray, a fascinating 2010 documentary about robotics and artificial intelligence (A.I.) by the German filmmaker Jens Schanze. The person asking the question is not one of the A.I. true bel...
 
Good Cops, Bad Cops
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: May 29, 2015
This article appeared in: Vol. XV, Number 2, Spring 2015
If you’ve been watching any of the trendy new programs on cable television, your first response to Blue Bloods, the CBS crime drama which recently ended its fifth season, will likely be: this is some old-fashioned TV! There’s no profanity, nudity, explicit sex, or extreme violence, and a...
 
This Article Has Been Self-Censored
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: March 11, 2015
This article appeared in: Vol. XV, Number 1, Winter 2014/15

shadow paly-This Article Has Been Self-Censored

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Tolstoy in Texas
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: October 31, 2014
This article appeared in: Vol. XIV, Number 4, Fall 2014
Several years ago, I spent the better part of an evening arguing with a professor of literature about Tolstoy. My position was that Tolstoy is one of the greatest novelists who ever lived; the professor’s was that Tolstoy’s works are sexist, classist, and outdated. Later that night I had...
 
Underrating Democracy in China
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: May 5, 2014
This article appeared in: Vol. XIV, Number 2, Spring 2014

House of Cards is a hit in China, too.

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Oh Brother! Why Bother?
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: February 11, 2014
This article appeared in: Vol. XIV, Number 1 - Winter 2013/14

Martha Bayles discusses the new Coen Brother's movie, Inside Llewyn Davis.

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The Secret Life of Walter White
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: December 9, 2013
This article appeared in: Vol. XIII, Number 4 - Fall 2013

Why Breaking Bad is unexpectedly good.

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What Makes Gatsby Great?
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: August 6, 2013
This article appeared in: Vol. XIII, Number 3 - Summer 2013

A test of this insight is The Great Gatsby, the latest screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan and co-written and directed by the Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann.

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The Hollywood Dialectic
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: March 21, 2013
This article appeared in: Vol. XIII, Number 1 - Winter 2012/13

Lincoln and Django Unchained represent what passes for artistic sensibility in today’s Hollywood.

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Let a Hundred Blockbusters Bloom
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: January 31, 2012
This article appeared in: Vol. XII, Number 1 - Winter 2011/12

China plans to blow up Hollywood’s monopoly.

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Oprah's World Mission
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: November 21, 2011
This article appeared in: Vol. XI, Number 4 - Fall 2011

The high priestess of Change Your Life TV.

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The Guided and the Misguided
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: August 29, 2011
This article appeared in: Vol. XI, Number 3 - Summer 2011

What soap operas at home and abroad teach us.

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The Ultimate Social Network
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: April 7, 2011
This article appeared in: Vol. XI, Numbers 1 & 2 - Winter/Spring 2010/11

Cambridge, MA, March 15, 2014—Noh Hao, at 25 the social media’s youngest—and first female—multibillionaire, explains her meteoric success in an exclusive interview with Martha Bayles.

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American Sex-ceptionalism
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: September 2, 2010
This article appeared in: Vol. X, Number 3 - Summer 2010

What does Sex and the City show the world about America?

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Animation and Aspiration
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: March 3, 2010
This article appeared in: Vol. X, Number 1, Winter - 2009/10

Avatar is the latest example of where art, politics, and theology meet.

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Unfinished Work
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: February 3, 2009
This article appeared in: Vol. IX, Number 1 - Winter 2008/09

Can any film do justice to the political genius of Abraham Lincoln?

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Whatever It Takes
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: December 15, 2007
This article appeared in: Vol. VIII , Number 1 - Winter 2007/08

War and torture get the Hollywood treatment.

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Out of Focus
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: October 25, 2007
This article appeared in: Vol. VII, Number 4 - Fall 2007

Martin Scorsese’s The Departed is a blurry copy of the Hong Kong original.

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Cultural Learnings for Make Benefit Glorious Comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: March 26, 2007
This article appeared in: Vol. VII, Number 2 - Spring 2007

The merciless comic keeps hitting below the Borscht Belt.

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Birth of a Blockbuster
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: January 31, 2007
This article appeared in: Vol. VI, Number 4 - Fall 2006

An inside look at Dan Brown’s new novel.

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Uncaptive Mind
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: January 31, 2007
This article appeared in: Vol. VI, Number 3 - Summer 2006

The films of Krzysztof Kieslowski.

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Reel Queens
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: January 26, 2007
This article appeared in: Vol. VII, Number 1 - Winter 2006/07

The Queen and Marie Antoinette ask whether the modern world can understand monarchy anymore.

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Crossing the Rubicon
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: May 1, 2006
This article appeared in: Vol. VI , Number 2 - Spring 2006

HBO gets "Rome" right.

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Top of the World, Skipper!
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: February 6, 2002
This article appeared in: Vol. II , Number 2 - Winter 2002

Cantor attempts to link four TV programs to the themes of globalization and the end of the nation-state

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Music, Philosophy, and Generation Y
By: Martha Bayles
Posted: November 20, 2000
This article appeared in: Vol. I, Number 1 - Fall 2000
A few reasons to be hopeful amidst the flotsam and jetsam of popular culture....