Fireworks, BBQ, and red, white, and blue everything is what will permeate nearly every household of the U.S. on the 4th of July. However, if you were to hear a comedian or a TV show or a movie talk about the character of America, many of them would immediately point to laziness, a general malaise as to the interests of most people, how we have so much that we don’t appreciate, the rampant obesity problem, an obsession with fake celebrities, the hypocrisy of our government, the corruption of our politicians, and not being able to text and drive all as if that’s exclusively an American problem. You’d begin to think that the culture is better on the other side of either ocean or north of the border and hear the echoes of that rant opening Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom last week.

Of course, there’s validity in many of those jokes. They come from real life observations of things that shouldn’t be, but are. Those jokes shouldn’t be a sign to apply for dual citizenship, which by the way is incredibly expensive. That’s because it’s an absolute sign of prosperity, at least in a culture (I mean, in this economy, right?) that someone can vociferously criticize every little aspect of said culture and everyone can laugh about it.

Every president, the person most responsible for the direction of this country, has a joke about them. We’re not the only country with such freedom, but what other country has their Colberts and their Ron Swansons while simultaneously not throwing people in jail for barely making fun of a state-established religion? Cue the fist pumping USA chant here.

Nerdist

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Frank Ocean is getting lots of support from the hip-hop community after opening up about his sexuality on his website.

One of his biggest supporters, however, is Russell Simmons.

The Def Jam co-founder wrote a touching piece on the Global Grind to applaud Frank on his courageous decision.

Russell wrote:

Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we?

I am profoundly moved by the courage and honesty of Frank Ocean. Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear. These types of secrets should not matter anymore, but we know they do, and because of that I decided to write this short statement of support for one of the greatest new artists we have.

His gifts are undeniable. His talent, enormous. His bravery, incredible. His actions this morning will uplift our consciousness and allow us to become better people. Every single one of us is born with peace and tranquility in our heart. Frank just found his.

Frank, we thank you. We support you. We love you.

-Russell Simmons

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

We only hope others in the industry will be as accepting as Russell.

[Image via WENN & AP Images.]

PerezHilton

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If you own the the Thor and Captain America Blu-Ray/DVDs, then you are well aware that Marvel has been providing extra incentive to make the purchase by including exclusive short films.

So far, the four-minute shorts haven’t been much worth talking about, but that may change with the release of The Avengers on September 25th.

In the 12-minute long short called Item 47, Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls) and Jesse Bradford (Bring It On) star as a couple who recover an alien gun from that massive alien invasion of NYC, which was fought off by Iron Man and the gang.

The couple realizes the powerful potential of the mysterious weapon and use it to go on a crime-spree, so S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are sent to recover it.

It sounds like a fun little mini-movie, but what is exciting is the fact that Marvel plans on making their shorts bigger and better with more home video releases. Expect more cool shorts once Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2 DVDs hit the shelves.

By then, Marvel may even be using the shorts to introduce NEW superheroes! It’s not a guarantee, of course, but it’s something to possibly look forward to in the future.

R U stoked to see Item 47? What Marvel hero would U like to see the studio introduce in a future short?

PerezHilton

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Forbes is out with its annual list of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, and none other than Tom Cruise tops the list, by a mile. The birthday boy (he’s 50 today) made $ 75 million between May 2011 and May 2012, in large part because of last year’s Mission: Impossible sequel….
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