Scratchy Grooves 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 series (previously), 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]
No Country For Old Miley: Cormac McCarthy Describes the Video for “We Can’t Stop” [Previously] [more inside]
15 Pop-Cultural Abysses From Which There Is No Escape. One in a series of fictional and memoiric explorations of celebrity culture known as "Exploring the Language of the Stars" by writer Kevin Fanning.
"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."
Who was your first pop-culture crush? (single-link AV Club)
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."
"...forcing its cast to act around a Jack Russel terrier decked out in full period costume." Blogger Josh Marsfelder of Soda Pop Art explores the legacy of Wishbone.
Gorgeous Portraits of Movie Characters & Classic Shots by Massimo Carnevale [slimgur]
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]
The Ballad of the Unpaid Intern. Not That Kind of Secretary. The Home Economics of Domestic Workers. Parts of Grace Bello's series Women's Work on how popular culture depicts working women. Via.
Doctor Of Celebrity Gossip and frequent chronicler of the Scandals Of Classic Hollywood (previously) Anne Helen Petersen (more previously) muses on growing up with Star Trek: The Next Generation. [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.
Taking the seen-it route: Sara Morrison talks about the rise and influence of television show recapping; recapping's advantages for writers; and the origins and evolution of Television Without Pity (<--- time suck warning: TVTropes link!) Includes lots of links and a handy chart of recappers. [more inside]
In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan's tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone.
On Kate Moss, and Taking One for the Team: "So, earlier this week Vanity Fair published a rare interview with Moss, in which the model, who is well-known for her circumspection, is unusually frank about the early years of her career. Moss was still a skinny, gangly teenager when she was plucked from mediocrity in Croydon and catapulted to superstardom. She was barely an adult, almost still a child, when she did her first topless photo shoot, with Corinne Day for The Face. In the interview, she talks about how uncomfortable this made her... This isn't the only the only revelation Moss made during the interview. It also turns out that the famous Calvin Klein campaign she did in 1992 with Mark Wahlberg gave her a nervous breakdown... Conveniently ignoring the fact that when the pictures were taken, Moss wasn't 'the face of the '90s', but a skinny teenage girl who cried because she was made to take her clothes off, Needham continues by saying that Moss' skinny frame 'seemed to encapsulate the euphoria of those long-distant times.'" [more inside]
Vulture's Top 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases: "Vulture has scanned the great plains of pop culture, weighing passion versus mere popularity to decide the 25 Most Devoted Fans of entertainment, which kicks off our weeklong exploration of all things Fandom. It's important to underscore that this list is not about mere numbers — it’s about fervency." [more inside]
Dr. Horrible and products liability. Doctor Who and the necessity defense. Firefly and contract law. The Legal Geeks blog is exactly what it sounds like.
Caitlin Moran: On a mission from god to reclaim feminism, or an excuse to crash a lot of cars and have a lot of fun
At 16, she published her first book, started writing for Melody Maker, and won the Observer Young Reporter Of The Year competition, and they gave her a column. At 17, she "skipped ship" over to The Times, and has been writing there since. U2 filmed a video in her house at 18, when she was co-presenting on the short-lived Naked City program, interviewing Björk, Iggy Pop, and others. Caitlin Moran won the British Press Awards' Columnist of The Year award in 2010 and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011, and Glamour Magazine's Writer of the Year award in 2012. The last award was in large part for her book How To Be a Woman, her mission from God to reclaim feminism, though it was more in the lines of The Blues Brothers: crashing a lot of cars, and having a hoot. The "British Tina Fey" talks about contemporary sexual issues such as slut walks, pop culture, clothing and women, abortion, having the sex talk, and why "it's actually technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism".
Archibald Query 's creation, Marshmallow Fluff, followed a winding path to household name. Most famous as a component of the Fluffernutter sandwich, this icon of New England cuisine appears in hundreds of other recipes, including whoopie pies and Mamie Eisenhower's Never Fail Fudge. You can even try making it yourself. . Other homages include the pop-style "Fluffart" of Susan Olsen, perhaps better known to us as the Brady Bunch's Cindy; some video tributes, and the What the Fluff? Festival in Somerville, MA (previously),
[Some links may contain images and language NSFW] An article on The Daily Dot (previously) about tinhatting, or the belief amongst certain fans that two celebrities are meant to be together but are being kept apart by nefarious forces, has sparked vitriol from the fans of the One Direction pairing known as Larry Stylinson. [more inside]
motor life blog is Charlie Beesly's fun collection of (mostly) found photos celebrating cars and their owners. Don't miss the winsome training wheels post and the early Kodacolor collection. We've seen some of Charlie's other themed found photos here previously.
A Transparent Attempt to Explain the Economics Behind Running a Pop-Culture Website and the Need to Run Intrusive Advertising The thing about display ads is that you are paid for about what they are worth, which is to say: $.30 per 1,000 impressions. Most people barely even notice them, so advertisers are not willing to pay you very much to run them...Instead, we have to use intrusive ads which are paid on a much larger scale, approximately $7.00 per 1,000 impressions. So, if a site like ours generates 100,000 impressions, that should be $700 a day. Awesome. We should be rich, right? Not so much. Pajiba previously. [via Slashfilm]
"Poetic excess takes the devil’s side, in the Anglo-American mind, of the Artificiality/Authenticity binary, and thus is highly suspect."
Cultural critic Mark Dery discusses his new essay collection. Interview by R. U. Sirius. Dery has previously written on the cultural influence of Edward Gorey, the effects of social networking, the popularity of cephalopods, dead malls, and Surrealism and the Visual Unconscious.
The story behind the iconic poster Keep Calm and Carry On rediscovered in 1991 at Barter Books, has been covered here before, but not in this lovely short video. And not with the new iPhone app.
Pop Culture Math: Artist Matt Cowan breaks down pop-culture icons into basic formulas. [more inside]
"I am Darth Vader, an Extraterrestrial from the Planet Vulcan!" - The 80's attack in an amazingly detailed and frenetic video for The Death Set's "They Come to Get Us." [SLYT]
"If it were just the NCAA tournament bracket, March Madness would be far less mad than it is. Something about the reminder of how much joy we get in filling out a bracket has led writers and talkers deep into the great time-wasting ether, creating brackets on everything you could possible dream of bracketing."One writer thought about this, took a step back, and created a bracket tournament to discuss the best possible subjects/entries for a pop-culture, food, and sports bracket tournament. [more inside]
Jenny Johnson, of Twitter fame, now writes a column for Grantland.com. In it, she pontificates on weighty issues, such as gingers, Derek Jeter's dating life, and the reason why she hates Valentine's Day flower deliveries at the office.
The Atlantic explores whether Michael Jackson's contributions, like those of other black artists, are minimized because of his skin color.
Louis Virtel is an editor over at AfterElton.com and an avid twitterer. For the last few months he has been making an hilarious web series called Verbal Vogueing in which he rants about celebrities and pop culture. Still ongoing, there are currently ten installments; here is episode one: "The Immaculate Conniption".(NSFW audio) [more inside]
Hipster girl? Hipster boy? Superhero? Mii? A modern Mucha? Regency hero or heroine? Tudors? Steampunk (one, two)? Here's more. How about pop culture? True Blood. Mad Men (Joan S1, S2, S3). Marty McFly (by Derek Eads). Jonathan Coulton. Lady GaGa. Kyle Hilton (previously: Arrested Development) also has Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and various films. (previously: a blog - manly - PONIES)