The Galactic Civil War had one pernicious side effect: fighters on both sides neglected their cultural heritage in the name of military expediency.A Handy Guide to the Archaeology of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an analysis rich with links to the deepest layers of overthought.
2016 was a very punishing year for a variety of reasons. We lost a lot of good people. The election certainly was divisive. I wanted to remind people that there are these moments scattered throughout the year where something good came out of popular culture. (Audie Cornish interviews Glen Weldon of Monkey See)
Once a day until December 25, the Monkey See blog is highlighting a small good thing that happened in pop culture this year. (the Pop Culture advent calendar)
Once a day until December 25, the Monkey See blog is highlighting a small good thing that happened in pop culture this year. (the Pop Culture advent calendar)
This week, reports the Charlottetown Guardian, police in Kensington, Prince Edward Island threatened to force impaired drivers to listen to Nickelback while locked in the back of a police cruiser. But, reports the UK Guardian, "they’re hardly the first band to be turned into a punchline that doesn’t require a set-up. Sting’s career has suffered for years from the notion that he is some kind of tantric sex god, based on a throwaway comment he made in a 1990 interview."
We're all witches now: with our black turtlenecks, our blood-brown lipstick, our crescent moons and evil eyes, our combat boots and girl gangs and moon cycle apps. We've been shimmering like mood rings for a while now. [more inside]
Photographer Laura Izumikawa's baby turned out to be a great sleeper, so she used the opportunity to dress her napping baby in pop culture costumes and post the photos to Instagram.
"“A lot of our audiences are kids and teens, and they want to be in on the joke. And they’ll listen again. We’re just a little looser with this stuff than most traditional first ladies.”" -- Michelle Obama, interviewed by Variety.
Lindsay Ellis' (previously) new video series 'Loose Canon' (Previously) takes a look at the different media takes on the same cultural character or property. She takes on the longest and most detailed one yet with the media reaction to and portrayal of the 2001 9/11 attacks. Part 1 (21:21) Part 2 (27:37) (Warning for photos and video of attacks)
“[John Landis] thought it would be really great box office,” director Jonathan Lynn told BuzzFeed. “He thought that what would happen was that people, having enjoyed the film so much, would then go back and pay again and see the other endings.” Here’s The Odd Way Audiences Experienced ‘Clue’ 30 Years Ago (Andrew Husband, Uproxx) Previously: Mrs. White, in the marketing office, with a focus group
Visithra Manikam writes about the various facets of Malaysian Indian life that Indian moviegoers might have missed in Kabali 'Kabali is our story. The story of Indian Malaysians and not Indian immigrants who now come to work in Malaysia or NRIs. We are not same. [...] I realised a lot of reviews are being written based on Indian cultural experience rather than the actual Malaysian culture and issues. ' [more inside]
When Did the Media Turn Against Taylor Swift? - In an interview with The Guardian, she came out as a feminist. A charitable read is that Swift was simply growing as a person as she entered her mid-20s. A more cynical outlook is that, in the words of BuzzFeed's Anne Helen Petersen, she was employing "an incredibly savvy image maintenance strategy." These interpretations are not mutually exclusive. [...] It's increasingly popular to use celebrities as signposts (or, as Roxane Gay puts it, "brand ambassadors") for various strains of political thought [...] This development has been very beneficial for the media — entertainment news spreads better when injected with a dose of political signaling, and potentially abstract political discussions spread better if they're attached to a recognizable name — and for an artist, there can be definite benefits in having your work linked with a specific politics. But the risks are heightened, too: Your failings become not just the failings of a person, but the failings of an ideology, and must be denounced even more loudly. [previously] [more inside]
Bitch Flicks offers a number of pop culture related essays (mostly film) from their recent website event, Ladies of the 1980s Theme Week. [more inside]
The origins of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' are pretty brief. In this 1970 demo (source), you can hear a short version, with the opening question but no piano intro and extended jam at the end. Though they recorded a long version for their debut album, they also cut a short version for the single. But people want "guitar sagas", such as "Whipping Post," by the Allman Brothers Band,and "Smoke on the Water," by Deep Purple, or maybe it was a silly thing to heckle Florence Henderson and other uncool cats. Decades later, people are still yelling "Freebird!" Sometimes people snap back, like Bill Hicks (NSFW), and sometimes people oblige, like Bob Dylan recently. In case that's not enough, there's (always) more! [more inside]
Less than a year after the untimely demise of Grantland (previously), Bill Simmons is back with a new sports and pop culture site, The Ringer. [more inside]
Tushar Lall arranges Indian classical music versions of well-known pop culture soundtracks. The latest release is Star Wars; there's also Harry Potter, Interstellar, Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean and BBC Sherlock.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. AV Club is commemorating the occasion by having a "Cold War Week", which launches today with a Cold War Pop Culture Timeline.
Francis Wayne "Frank" Sinatra, better known as Frank Sinatra Jr, died March 16th 2016 aged 72 of a heart attack while on tour in Florida. [more inside]
"I like making things I feel should exist, like these faux vintage wax pack wrappers."
Norm Kelly, 74, has been Councillor of Ward 40, the Scarborough—Agincourt neighbourhoods in Toronto, for over 20 years. So how has he gained the adoration of thousands of adolescents and young adults in the Toronto area and afar who affectionately call him 'dad'? [more inside]
Space 1970 :: Journey with us back to the days when special effects were created by skillful hands and spaceships were detailed models, when robots were obligatory comedy relief, when square-jawed heroes and cloaked villains battled among the stars -- and the future was fun!
What to do when you're not the hero any more by Laurie Penny [NewStatesman] From Star Wars to Mad Max, a new, more diverse kind of storytelling went mainstream this year - and the backlash shows how much it matters. [more inside]
"Wayne Rogers, best known for playing Captain 'Trapper' John McIntyre on TV comedy series 'M.A.S.H.,' died Thursday in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia. He was 82." [more inside]
You're the Worst does not suggest depression can be defeated. It suggests, instead, that it can be lived with. Todd VanDerWerff, Culture Editor for Vox as well as AV Club reviewer, explains why the show You're the Worst understands the relationship between him and his wife.
Born on Tatooine. Recently got into photography.
Malaysian illustrator Charis Loke designs geek culture-inspired traditional South/South East Asian outfits, primarily baju kurung and kebaya. Some of her inspirations include Tolkein, Pacific Rim, Watchmen, and the Hunger Games.
Here's Dinosaur Dracula, a pop culture retro nostalgia site from the guys who formerly brought us X-Entertainment (currently "down for repairs"), the subject of many many MeFi posts. Some pages of interest:
- TV Guide listings for Halloween 1990
- Excerpts from the 1989, 1992, 1998 and 1999 Sears Wish Books.
- Comic Book Ads.
- The Masters of the Universe Slime Pit, which had great instructions, and the sliming of Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart. There's more....
Noel Murray (from the AV Club and the Dissolve ) talks about how the masses talk about movies in 2015.
Award-winning actor Irrfan Khan and noted comedy collective All India Bakchod presents Every Bollywood Party Song [more inside]
"I’m not here, however, to adjudicate Cruise’s religious views or mental health or even, really, his public image, which seems to be a complicated one. I’m here to say: It’s time to start liking Tom Cruise, movie star and actor, again." - Bilge Ebiri, Vulture
Dayna Evans writes about Taylor Swift for Gawker: [T]he part of Taylor’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] she is a ruthless, publicly capitalist pop star. To think of her as womanhood incarnate is to trick oneself into forgetting about “Bad Blood” and “Better Than Revenge.” Swift isn’t here to help women—she’s here to make bank… Her plan—to be as famous and as rich as she can possibly be—is working, and by using other women as tools of her self-promotion, she is distilling feminism for her own benefit. [more inside]
"The allegations of hypocrisy became the through line of her legacy. Even today — in Frank Langella’s recent memoir, on the celebrity gossip site Oh No They Didn’t, or my own piece on [Clark] Gable, published four years ago, [Loretta] Young is understood as a woman who didn’t live by her own set of publicly propagated values: a sinning saint. "Yet as Linda explained, “With Judy [her child with Gable], she was trapped. She had this lie and no way to frame it. She took full responsibility for hiding it all her life. To be stuck — so caught, in such a public way. What could she have done with that?”" - Anne Helen Petersen [previouslys] revisits Loretta Young's greatest scandal [TW for rape]
Rashida Jones has produced a new documentary about the "amateur porn" industry and follows several young women trying to make it in Miami. Here is an interview with Gianna Toboni of Vice about the film. [more inside]
Initially panned by critics and a failure at the box office, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead has found a second life as a cult favorite.
"Mad Men" and Its Love Affair With 60s Pop Culture “Nothing ended up in the show that wasn’t related to story.”
A Girl, A Shoe, A Prince: The Endlessly Evolving Cinderella - Linda Holmes, NPR's Monkey See:
"The idea that animates the classic Cinderella is that the prince would not be free to consider Cinderella a desirable mate if he first saw her as she is, but he can meet her under false pretenses and fall in love with her. And, most importantly, once achieved, that love will be durable enough to survive her reversion to her real identity. Getting him to literally recognize her — getting him to look at a woman in rags and realize she's the woman he wants to marry — seems to function as sort of a stand-in for him proving that he can overlook her low status and choose her as a partner. Whether that's more a fantasy of romantic love or a fantasy of economic security, power and rescue from a lifetime of washing floors may depend on who's telling it and who's hearing it and when."[more inside]
Vincent Price is theologically significant. Price wore a devilish goatee that made him look like Satan. How do we know that’s what Satan looks like? We learned it from Vincent Price — and from a thousand other pop-culture and folk-culture figures preceding him. Price carries a pitchfork — a red one, of course. That tells the audience that he’s the devil. What does a pitchfork have to do with the devil? Simple: It’s what we always see him carrying in movies. The pitchfork simultaneously references those folk traditions and reinforces them for future audiences.[more inside]
But these pop-culture portrayals also reference and reinforce our “theology” of the devil. Sure, most Christians realize that the pitchfork and goatee don’t come from the Bible. But the devilish stuff that most Christians think does come from the Bible cannot be found there either. [Fred Clark, The Slacktivist]
"[Director John] Moore is taking on what is, from a creative perspective, an awfully daunting task. What makes the Die Hard franchise practically tragic is that it's become so stupefyingly ordinary after bowing in 1988 as a remarkably taut, funny, exquisitely crafted action film that — but for the appearance of late-'80s computer and phone technology — has not aged a day. As explosively entertaining as it was the first time I saw it on the big screen 23 years ago, it was just as good two weeks ago..." MetaFilter's own Linda Holmes analyzes the original Die Hard movie, and the failure of a film franchise, on NPR's pop-culture and entertainment blog, Monkey See: Take THIS Under Advisement: Hey, 'Die Hard 5,' Don't Drag Down A Classic. [more inside]
It's one of the great literary tragedies of our age that Lord of the Rings, not its sprightlier prequel, served as the blueprint for modern fantasy. Returning to The Hobbit is like visiting a lost world, one which 20th century fantasy left behind. It’s almost surprising in how much fun it is compared to the exhausting trudges that followed. So with the third and final Hobbit film now upon us, it’s worth asking: why was it Lord of the Rings, not this sprightlier prequel, which served as the blueprint for modern high fantasy?
So What, Who Cares? by Lisa Schmeiser - What is news or pop culture without context? Every day, I'll point out three to five things that you might like to know, explaining why they matter (So what?) and who they affect (Who cares?). Archives here.
Alex Ross writes for the New Yorker: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and the critique of pop culture.
"What a bizarre day. I'm sitting here watching my email fill up with message after message from people from so many different times and places of my life, all congratulating me for the astonishing good fortune of receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Not to mention a flurry of texts and tweets, and I haven't had the energy to even look at Facebook." Cartoonist and Graphic Memoirist Alison Bechdel (previously on MetaFilter: 1, 2, 3, 4) has won the prestigious MacArthur Genuis grant, giving her the opportunity to dig into her archives for a previous comic she drew in 2004 to conclude her reaction blog post. [more inside]
Fan stories, like midrash, give voice to characters who aren't front and center in narratives as we've received them. Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, who blogs at Velveteen Rabbi, has published an essay in Transformative Works and Cultures on the parallels between fan works that fill gaps in pop culture stories and midrash used to fill gaps in the Torah.
Geeky women's clothing company Her Universe teamed up with Hot Topic and Nerdist to present a fandom couture competition and fashion show. Here are some highlights. [more inside]
If the Beatles and their like were in fact what the youth of Britain wanted, one might well despair. I refuse to believe it – and so will any other intelligent person who casts his or her mind back far enough. What were we doing at 16? I remember reading the whole of Shakespeare and Marlowe, writing poems and plays and stories. At 16, I and my friends heard our first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; I can remember the excitement even today. We would not have wasted 30 seconds of our precious time on the Beatles and their ilk. Are teenagers different today? Of course not.
The Fast Show summary from Wikipedia:
The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran from 1994 to 1997, with a special in 2000 and 2014. It was one of the most popular sketch shows of the 1990s in the UK. The show's central performers were Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Caroline Aherne. Other significant cast members included Paul Shearer, Rhys Thomas, Jeff Harding, Maria McErlane, Eryl Maynard, Colin McFarlane and Donna Ewin.[more inside]
It was loosely structured and relied on character sketches, recurring running gags, and many catchphrases. Its fast-paced "blackout" style set it apart from traditional sketch series because of the number and relative brevity of its sketches; a typical half-hour TV sketch comedy of the period might have consisted of nine or ten major items, with contrived situations and extended setups, whereas the premiere episode of The Fast Show featured twenty-seven sketches in thirty minutes, with some items lasting less than ten seconds and none running longer than three minutes. Its innovative style and presentation influenced many later series such as Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show.
True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]