"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
) has won
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.
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.
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]
Today the lyrics and annotation site previously known as Rap Genius officially expanded its scope to allow users to annotate anything, renaming itself Genius.com
. [more inside]
Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America
(mirrored at Salon.com
Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.
All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.
Doctors can't change rule number one.
The televisions series, M*A*S*H
, developed by Larry Gelbart
and Gene Reynolds
, was broadcast on CBS for over a decade, from the pilot
on September 17, 1972, to the highly-rated final episode
on February 28, 1983. Yet reports of its demise are fictional, M*A*S*H
is alive and well. [SPOILERS within if you haven't seen the series.] [more inside]
"But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me tell you a story: a story about a board game. The Murder, She Wrote
board game. You didn't know such a thing existed? Neither did I, before my friend Sarah brought it one summer to camp. (For the sake of clarity: I mean camp in the upstate New York sense, i.e., a small un-insulated cottage on a freshwater lake that has a preponderance of mismatched glasses and forks with wonky tines and maybe exposed studs but is the greatest place to family-vacation on earth.) Sarah and I met in day care, and had been friends for years—but this year, when she came to visit, she unknowingly brought the one thing that would enflame my jealousy.
" [more inside]
For those of you born in the 80s or later, this is what counted for primetime entertainment
back in our
- a hand-bound book of Japanese styled illustrations paying homage to nostalgic activities and toys. From artist Chet Phillips
The A.V. Club
asks readers What’s your cultural dealbreaker?
which they define as "cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect."
Internet personality Neil Cicierega (previously)
has released a new mashup album based on Smash Mouth, "Smooth," "The Power of Love," Daft Punk, and other stuff: Mouth Sounds.
On April 4th, DailyCandy
and Television Without Pity
will be shuttered by NBCUniversal
. TWOP's forums will remain until May 31st.
Notorious Baldies (by Brazilian artist Mr. Peruca)
"A series of illustrations depicting the distinct bald heads of some of pop culture's most notorious icons."
For almost twenty years, starting in 1984, Bill Chambless on WVUD-FM
at the University of Delaware, explored the pop music of 1900 to 1940 on vintage recordings, "scratches and all." Stream the shows at this website, migrated from the original cassette tapes and maintained by his son.
Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series
? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival
? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design
. More reading inside! [more inside]
"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
If you think monkeys are fascinating and you want to understand and be of value to them, it's not enough to be an expert on what monkeys should ideally
eat. You have to understand what monkeys actually eat.
Best known for creating the nostalgic mash-up REMEMBER
), Youtube user Thepeterson teams up with Slackstory to create another video clip time machine: REMEMBER 1994
There is a fundamental disconnect between large-scale, for-profit media and the crushing power of enthusiasm, which is that when they try to control it, it instantly isn't real. It's patently unreal. It's excitement given life by force, Pet Sematary-style.
But when they don't control it, it isn't profitable. And that means that when they run into people excited about their stuff, they vacillate between an Ebenezerian lack of generosity and a Professor-Harold-Hillian smarm. To own enthusiasm and to exploit it are competing instincts, much as they often seem to be twins. You can, in fact, sometimes best exploit it — or only exploit it — by leaving it alone.
-- In what could be considered a Metafilter Manifesto, Mefi's own Linda Holmes
takes on the multivariate economics of fandom and the internet.
"You live now, Adam Ant
, as you have lived many times throughout history, fighting evil wherever you may find it!"
Ruby-Strauss learned his craft working for the notorious Judith Regan, in whose shadow all lowbrow publishing still operates. In college at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he had been a comp-lit major who scoffed when friends talked up popular sci-fi books. “I was too pretentious,” he says. “I was reading Camus.” (A far way from that to Tucker Max, I noted. “Is it?” he replied.) Under Regan, he came to appreciate the simpler beauty of “books that sell.” He acquired a book by shock-rock star Marilyn Manson and then a series of pro-wrestling books, still his highest-selling titles ever. He once took Regan to a match, where he remembers her looking around the arena and declaring happily of the crowd, “You could sell them blank pages!”
(SLNewRepublic) [more inside]
"I know the only reason you wear those cargo shorts is to get my attention, okay? I'm not buying it."
Ladies, I'm sure you've noticed them on the Internet: Fake Nerd Boys
-- a brief rant on the impending demise of a proud but beleaguered subculture. (SLYT) [more inside]
LESBIAN LIGHTNING ROUND
-Do you agree with these lesbians? Here! Have a dollar. (slyt)
A lovely recollection of pop-culture mentors, and finding culture pre-internet.
"Uncle Mike didn’t play D&D; paintball battles in the Everglades were more his thing. But for the next few years he kept passing along books he’d finished, including 1984’s Dragons Of Autumn Twilight. The first installment of the D&D-based Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, it’s by no means a classic in the genre. But it helped solidify my devotion to what would eventually be called geek culture. Back then, the term would have been meaningless to me. And it would have made my macho Uncle Mike laugh his ass off."
How the Real Housewives Have Made America Better, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. "Watching these housewives scramble to suture up their tattered personas is both anger-inducing and heart-wrenching. That's what literature is supposed to do: make us angry at certain behavior; then when we recognize ourselves in the characters we so harshly judge, to change our behavior."
For generations both societies lived apart from humanity, united in their common experience as outcasts. But as so often happens when downcast but fanatical groups find themselves in the ascendancy, today their factionalism is exposed
and the rivalry has erupted into open conflict
. [more inside]
Khrushchev Tours America
- His shoe banging incident
at the UN and the the Kitchen Debates with Nixon
are well known but less attention has been given to the time Nikita Khrushchev went to Hollywood
. He met Marilyn Monroe and other film luminaries but he was denied a trip to Disneyland (previously)
. [more inside]
"In the 1950s
, a DJ named Jean Shepherd
hosted a late-night radio show on New York's WOR that was unlike any before or since. On these broadcasts, he delivered dense, cerebral monologues, sprinkled with pop-culture tidbits and vivid stretches of expert storytelling. 'There is no question that we are a tiny, tiny, tiny embattled minority here,' he assured his audience in a typical diatribe. 'Hardly anyone is listening to mankind in all of its silliness, all of its idiocy, all of its trivia, all of its wonder, all of its glory, all of its poor, sad, pitching us into the dark sea of oblivion.' Shepherd's approach was summed up by his catchphrase: a mock-triumphant 'Excelsior!', followed by an immediate, muttered 'you fathead ... '" (via
) [more inside]
Doom 3 Gagnam Style...
in webGL. That is all.
Angus Jones, better known as Jake on the show Two and a Half Men
, has joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The young star has released a pair of videos
urging people to stop watching the show.
SLYT of a Portuguese performance of the Wizard of Oz with a missing dance number
added to the show.