Tyler Cowen is an economics professor and chairman / general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Since April 2015, he has been hosting "Conversations with Tyler", lengthy, one-on-one podcast interviews with "thought leaders from across the spectrum — economists, entrepreneurs, authors and innovators. All have one thing in common — they are making an impact on the world because of their ideas." His latest is with Steven Pinker. [more inside]
How Mountain Dew Came to Perpetuate a Deep-Seated Appalachian Stereotype As Mountain Dew taps into tropes of corn-syrup-free authenticity and nostalgia for "backwoods" "renegades" and "rebels" with its throwback drink Dewshine, a daughter of Appalachia considers how the beverage reflects cultural stereotypes. [more inside]
Childhood - a hand-bound book of Japanese styled illustrations paying homage to nostalgic activities and toys. From artist Chet Phillips.
"Barely a week goes by without some old white man castigating the yoof of today on the shallowness/stupidity/etc. of their taste in music, art and culture in general. It’s a narrative as old as culture itself — adults throwing up their hands in despair because Kids These Days just don’t get it." But, contrarily, "there’s a subset of music criticism these days that seems to view the taste and aesthetic of teens (and teenage girls, in particular) as weirdly sacred. It’s a sort of creepy offshoot of poptimism, one that starts from an unrealistically monolithic view of teen culture — not all teens like Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, after all — and is, in its own way, as deeply patronizing as claiming from on high that teens have no taste." -- Flavorwire's Tom Hawking on Critical Assumptions about Teen Culture.
After several years out of the mainstream music scene Lily Allen returned last week covering Keane's "Somewhere only we know" in this year's John Lewis Christmas TV ad. However, today Lily released her latest video which is ... somewhat different in tone and nature. [more inside]
Linda Holmes, writer and editor of NPR's pop culture blog Monkey See, has some thoughts about MTV's show, "Catfished."
In the late '80s, documentarians Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker spent six months in Tokyo looking at how symbols and imagery familiar to Americans had been appropriated and given new significance in Japan. Though more than 20 years old, the resulting video remains popular in undergraduate courses across the social sciences and humanities in part because it's so entertaining. [more inside]
The Atlantic explores whether Michael Jackson's contributions, like those of other black artists, are minimized because of his skin color.
American Sabor: Latinos in US Popular Music is a currently traveling Smithsonian exhibition exploring the wide range of Latino artists and influences which have shaped American pop music genres since WWII, from Alice Bag to Flaco Jimenez to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass to Joan Baez. The website is rich with maps, interviews, videos, and music samples.
Quincy Jones sat in the Tenafly, New Jersey den of 16-year-old vocal student Lesley Gore, playing demo after demo, looking for the right song to cut for her first record. Out of over 200 tapes, Jones and Gore had moved only one to the "maybe" pile, and so that song, It's My Party, was recorded on March 30, 1963 in a Manhattan studio. After the session Mercury president Irving Green warned Gore not to get her hopes up, but Gore gratefully told him that it had been a great experience anyway, and it was okay if he didn't want to release it. However, later that evening Jones learned that Phil Spector had just recorded "It's My Party" for The Crystals, so Jones rushed back to the studio to press 100 test copies of the single and immediately mailed them to key radio stations across the country. [more inside]
This is an advice column by an L.A. party girl who likes to talk shit on the internet. E.g. She’ll take your questions about the point of Serious Relationships. And give you advice about your sexual identity. Or tell you about a little something called Prince Charming Disease. There’s some advice about managing your existential crisis too. Even replies to fifteen year old girls on tumblr about their teenage flirting. There is also tons of fun sized advice. In her own summary: “What I [write] may be unfiltered, but it’s still cooked up from the same basic ingredients as the rest of pop culture.” It’s “Shady advice from a raging bitch who has no business answering any of these questions.” It’s Dear Coke Talk. [more inside]
The Silver People [nsfw] is a site created by 60's photographer, Jon Stevens, whose shtick is to paint people silver and photograph them. More interesting are his pics of Miles Davis | The Cockettes Erotic [nsfw] | Salvador Dali [nsfw] | his being photographed as the first male mod model [modest, not]. [more inside]
Are libraries the new cupcakes? They may be the next pop culture phenomenon however.
Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His artistic work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid. He strives to portray this global melee through a conscious “appropriation” of all of his influences: cultural, artistic, and personal. Matsuyama’s unconflicted and positively ebullient works do not ask, “What am I?,” but assert, “I am everybody.” (via) [more inside]
All Kinds of 70's awesomeness!! Plaid Stallions!!
Taylor Hicks wins American Idol.... It could be something worth talking about given how powerful the show has become: #1 show on television, contributed to over 30 million records (records -- yes records not itunes singles) sold, and a show where Queen, Rod Stewart, and, tonight, TAFKAP (or he could be Prince again) are clamoring to be on it. Moroever, some conventional wisdom seems to support that the show is not karaoeke-izing pop music and instead contributes to it surprisingly positively. While it might not lead to debates on metafiler, arguments as to what makes a good Idol can be seen here.
Marguerite Perrin gained infamy as the self-proclaimed "God Warrior" on Fox's Trading Spouses. If you hurry, you can claim your own personal "God Warrior" to help you defend yourself against all the tainted, ungodly elements in the world.
Vote For The Worst American Idol contestant and be a foot solider against cornball programming. In the battle between an Internet movement and television producers, so far the rouge site has the lead. But as we get closer to the show's finale, can the contrarians keep the worst contestants in the mix?
Nick Hornby discusses pop music in this NY Times essay: "Maybe this split is inevitable in any medium where there is real money to be made: it has certainly happened in film, for example, and even literature was a form of pop culture, once upon a time. It takes big business a couple of decades to work out how best to exploit a cultural form; once that has happened, 'that high-low fork in the road' is unavoidable, and the middle way begins to look impossibly daunting. It now requires more bravery than one would ever have thought necessary to try and march straight on, to choose neither the high road nor the low. Who has the nerve to pick up where Dickens or John Ford left off? In other words, who wants to make art that is committed and authentic and intelligent, but that sets out to include, rather than exclude? To do so would run the risk of seeming not only sincere and uncool - a stranger to all notions of postmodernism - but arrogant and vaultingly ambitious as well."
Pop Culture vs. War!! (avert eyes) So Madonna pulls her anti-war video at the last minute, "never to be seen again". Have to say, it sounds just as finely-wrought a piece of art as G.Micheal's Shoot the Dog. Meanwhile, Lil' Kim attempts some bridge-building between the cultures with this subtle intervention. In times of peace, we expect pop musicians to shoot their mouths off about anything - that's what we pay them for. But I haven't been impressed by anything from rock'n'pop yet in this war. (Micheal Moore's press conference at the Oscars rocked harder than any of them). Is it straight forward fear of career death (see Dixie Chicks)? Or is it just that nobody can do this (dylan) or this (Starr) anymore?