In Defense Of…

5 May 2015 // 3:30 AM

Covering Cover Songs

Cover songs don't have to be all that bad. Just listen to what Becca Stevens and Jason Moran have been doing lately, and you'll see.

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In Defense of Doing Away With Guilty Pleasures

The CW's excellent Jane the Virgin reminds us there is no such thing as a true guilty pleasure.

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In Defense of the Chris Rock Renaissance

Chris Rock transcends generations of fans with a signature combination of intelligence and contemporary comedy.

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In Defense of Not Wanting to Hear Your Band Perform a Favorite Album Live

When a band performs its best album at shows, over and over, it's like they're admitting that they'll never achieve that particular level of greatness again.

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In Defense of, Believe It or Not, TMZ

Regarding the Ray Rice saga, TMZ not only forced the NFL's hand, it put domestic violence back in the spotlight, where it should be.

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In Defense of a Second Season for ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

Women are the alpha-characters in Halt and Catch Fire. There may be no better dynamic duo of smart leading females on TV today than Donna and Cameron.

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In Defense of HBO’s ‘Enlightened’

A couple years after its demise, it's time to look back at how brilliant and confusing Mike White and Laura Dern's series really was.

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In Defense of Ann Hornaday, No Matter What Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen Say

The Washington Post film critic wasn't wrong in wondering aloud about the impact Hollywood can have on the typical young male.

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In Defense of Calling It a Finalé Even Though It’s Not Over

With Mad Men now wrapped up until spring 2015, it's time we stop resisting the trend of this new television practice. It ain't over, but it's still a finalé.

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In Defense of Live Performances That Make the Audience Feel Alive

Artists feed off their fans. Fans feed off the artists. A good live performance leaves the spirit relieved of its hunger. Hear that, Chvrches?

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In Defense of Turning 30 and Living to Tell About It

Turning 30 means you still might be able to achieve some sort of greatness, but your definition of greatness changes more often than your pant-size.

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In Defense of Jesse Winchester

With the news that the singer-songwriter has passed, it's time to look back on someone Bob Dylan once dubbed 'The Greatest Living Songwriter'.

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In Defense of the Phrase ‘Spoiler Alert’

Hey, did anybody else have the Good Wife plot twist spoiled for them last week? Thanks to Google, Time and the Associated Press, I did.

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In Defense of Modern Family’s Writers

When the actors of ABC's most successful series in years were forced to file a lawsuit, the minds behind the dialogue took an entire episode to make their points known.

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In Defense of Reading Books, Not E-Readers

Even if an e-reader might be more practical than a heavy book, there isn't an electronic screen on the planet that rivals the prestige attached to such a time-tested medium.

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In Defense of the Seth Meyers / Jimmy Fallon Late-Night Team

Thanks to Seth Meyers, the community of after-hours talk-show hosts just got a whole lot friendlier. Call it fresh. Call it new. I call it interesting.

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In Defense of Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ Tour

Seeing Kanye West perform, I learned not only what it's like to see a master at the top of his game, but also what it is that makes the polarizing artist so fascinating.

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In Defense of Totally Being Over the Winter Olympics

An institution once associated with athletic superiority and, of course, proud patriotism, has been deduced to yet another pawn in the ongoing game of international passive-aggression.

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In Defense of Openly Enjoying Professional Wrestling

All it took was a trip to the Royal Rumble to see how similar the warped reality of the WWE is to The Kardashians. Or The Real World. Or Duck Dynasty. Or Honey Boo Boo.

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In Defense of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Legacy

Lost far too soon, Philip Seymour Hoffman was the single most affecting reason I ever decided to watch movies in the first place.

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In Defense of a Roku Television Revolution

Roku streaming is ready to offer Roku TVs. The longer its competitors wait (cough, Apple, cough), the harder it will be to dethrone the current champs.

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In Defense of the Gosh-Darn Revelation That Is The Food Network

The Food Network is a love letter to culinary experimentation. It's a lab we can visit whenever we get bored with our own spaghetti.

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In Defense of Both the Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel Eras of Genesis

With Collins' recent rumblings about returning to music, it's time to lay the "which era is better" question to rest.

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In Defense of an Ugly Betty Movie

Will a Kickstarter campaign make Betty Suarez the next Veronica Mars?

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In Defense of Kelly Reichardt’s Directorial Touch

Kelly Reichardt has established herself as a singular and essential voice in modern cinema by being a master of the miniature, a maestro of The Moment.

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In Defense of Keith Olbermann and His 12-Round Boxing Match With Politics, Sports and Viewers

In light of his recent feud with WFAN radio personalities, it's time to realize why Keith Olbermann works so well in the sports-broadcasting world.

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In Defense of the Aughts’ Pop Punk Boom

Sure, it's uncool to like the New Found Glorys or Brand News, but that wave of screaming, poppy, punky acts was a fun ride.

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In Defense of ‘Saturday Night Live’s 2013-14 Season Casting

Do you think NBC's flagship, iconic series is racist for not having any African-American women in its cast this season? Think again.

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In Defense of Saving the VMAs

A month removed from this year's debacle, it's time to understand that the Video Music Awards are worth reviving, worth enjoying like we did decades ago.

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In Defense of the Influence of ‘Difficult Men’

Brett Martin's latest book serves as a reminder of how enlightening dealing with darkness in television can be.

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27 Aug 2013 // 11:30 PM

In Defense of Fox Sports 1

After months of hype and expectation, Fox Sports' latest go at giving ESPN legitimate competition got off to a respectful start. The network's timing was perfect.

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20 Aug 2013 // 11:15 PM

In Defense of New Radicals

New Radicals sort of invented the term "frenemies", yet the group's lone record, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, still stands as one of the lost treasures of the '90s.

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In Defense of Sarah Polley Being One of the Best Directors in Modern Cinema

The child actress-turned-director is a mastermind at both presenting and analyzing the fine details of a life.

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In Defense of Netflix Being the Future of Television

The Little Red Envelope That Could has established itself as a go-to place for quality original programming. The next step? World domination.

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In Defense of Boycotting the Corporate Concert Industry

$400 for a VIP package to see Matchbox Twenty? Nearly $300 smackers for a regular ticket into the Legends of Summer tour?

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In Defense of Retiring the Band Name Sublime

There will forever be only one Sublime, and Bradley Nowell is the only lead singer that should have ever been part of it.

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In Defense of the Postal Service Reunion

Rarely does a one-off side project generate so much interest a full decade after the band's lone release.

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10 Jun 2013 // 11:30 PM

In Defense of Podcasting

Though the medium hasn't enjoyed the success some hoped it would, podcasting has become news radio for a new generation.

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In Defense of Music Festival Fatigue

It's time to question how relevant these large gatherings are as the multi-band concert industry continues to expand to obnoxious heights.

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29 May 2013 // 11:30 PM

In Defense of Kanye West

On the heels of his sixth solo studio album, it's time to take a look at why Yeezy remains relevant, and why his antics, obnoxious as they can be, never grow old.

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In Defense of New Orleans Gospel Music

Despite its rich tradition, the future of gospel music in various parts of the world has been an issue of contention and heartbreak in recent years.

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In Defense of the Return of ‘Arrested Development’

In theory, it shouldn't be hard for those who care about Arrested Development's comeback to actually root for it to succeed.

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In Defense of Going to the Movies

The popcorn. The posters. The previews. The audience camaraderie. What's not to love?

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In Defense of the Music Collector

With the rise of streaming services and viral videos, many argue that the art of collecting may be dead. For true believers, however, the digital age may be ideal.

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In Defense of the Rock Drummer

Bobby Gillespie said it best: You can't have a good band if you don't have a good drummer.

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In Defense of a Disgust for Reality Television

The recent death of a Buckwild cast member serves as a reminder that we have become far too accepting of manufactured truths and sensationalized reality.

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In Defense of Hip-Hop Receiving the Respect It Deserves

In Ice-T's 2012 documentary, Something from Nothing, he asks why rap music doesn't garner the same amount of respect afforded to jazz and blues music.

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25 Mar 2013 // 11:15 PM

In Defense of March Madness

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is without question the greatest time of year for any sports fan.

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In Defense of Going to South By Southwest

Four days, six stories, one column, dozens of tweets and nearly 10,000 words later, I'm still wondering how we define success at SXSW.

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In Defense of Reveling in the Heady Feeling That Is Spring

With the vernal equinox right around the corner, let's revel in that feeling that the sap is finally rising, again.

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In Defense of Wanting to Quit the Internet Because of the 2013 Oscars

The barrage of Oscars-related hate on Twitter and other social media can sure kill the fun of the Internet.

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In Defense of Binge-Watching Television

Netflix's House of Cards has proven that the practice of spending 48 to 72 hours with a specific set of characters and stories isn't just the future of television -- it's also the here and now.

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In Defense of 2012’s Best Movie, ‘The Master’

With the Oscars set to be handed out this Sunday, it's time to take a look at what made the one film that got pushed to the back of the awards season bus so transcendent, so polarizing, and so great.

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13 Feb 2013 // 11:29 PM

In Defense of Opening Acts

You know how you want to time your concert arrival to miss the opening act? You could be missing out on your next musical obsession.

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6 Feb 2013 // 2:30 AM

In Defense of Newspapers

It seems that with each passing fiscal quarter, media-watchers love to pound another nail into print journalism's coffin.

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In Defense of ‘30 Rock’ as the Best Show on Television

This week, we say goodbye to one of the best comedies TV has seen in decades. How influential has it been? How perfectly does it portray modern day popular culture?

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In Defense of ‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’

One has to wonder why CBS' late late guy isn't being considered among the best after-hours television America can offer.

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In Defense of Justin Bieber Smoking Pot

The cautionary tales of too much success coming too soon are endless. In the Canadian heartthrob's case, we should be a little more forgiving.

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In Defense of Being Fed Up with Irony

At what point did it become so important for us to be ironic and sarcastic? When can we finally move past our judgments and witticisms and just begin to play things straight?

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In Defense of End-Of-Year Lists

With 2012 all but over, the usual treasure trove of year-end countdowns have begun. Oh, happy day!

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In Defense of Hoping Chris Brown and Rihanna Don’t Work Out, Again

The recent news of the reconciliation between pop stars Chris Brown and Rihanna highlights how upsetting it is that no lessons were learned from that fateful night in 2009.

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In Defense of Diving Head-First into Fantasy Sports

They help kids score higher on tests. They feed the OCD impulse. They're a big bucks industry. What's not to love about Fantasy Sports?

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In Defense of Hating Thanksgiving

An overrated meal. Awkwardly catching up with family members. Black Friday. A boring and ugly color scheme. Thanksgiving is just the worst.

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In Defense Keeping It Real, and Live

How long does it take until YouTube clips and streaming festivals overtake the incredible experience of a live concert?

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In Defense of the Marriage Between Music and Television

One wonders if Elvis, the Beatles, the Who, et. al. would have gained such importance had TV not been available.

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In Defense of Etta James as Popular Music’s Most Honest Diva

With the recent DVD collection Live at Montreux, we are reminded of how mesmerizing the "At Last" singer could be when taking to the stage.

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In Defense of Rush Being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Two Los Angeles Times music critics taking to the Internet to bash the Canadian trio highlights how low some may go.

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In Defense of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Other Women Who Make Us Laugh

The recent surge in popularity of women as comedy contenders doesn't just highlight the fact that girls are typically funnier than boys.

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In Defense of VH1s ‘Behind the Music’

With its 15th season now in full swing, we're reminded of the many reasons why it's so hard for VH1's most fascinating show, Behind the Music, to still matter.

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In Defense of the Replacement Referees in the NFL

Yeah, these officials haven't done the best job stepping in for the locked out referees, but since when has anyone ever thought officials have done a good job, anyway?

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In Defense of Not Buying into ‘90s Nostalgia

What's the good in looking back if you refuse to look forward?

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In Defense of Being in a Band

Losing someone is never easy. But losing a bandmate puts a particular riff on the pain.

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In Defense of the Survival of Major Record Store Chains

Best Buy announced more bad news with its latest quarterly report. It's a stark reminder of how fun it once was to seek out and purchase music -- even at the 'big box' stores.

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In Defense of Not Going Goo-goo Over Lady Gaga

Seven days. Two letters. And one angry animals rights group. Lady Gaga's rein at the top is possibly nearing its end.

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In Defense of Twitter as the Devil

Twitter and other social media websites trick us into thinking our thoughts matter to people we don't know and we'll never meet.

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In Defense of Jay-Z as the Most Important Person in Hip-Hop History

In light of Jay-Z being named executive producer of the NBA2K video game franchise, we look at just how far Mr. Carter has taken the boundaries of hip-hop and success.

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In Defense of a Team Better Than the Original Dream Team

Maybe today's US men's basketball team couldn't take down the original Dream Team. But who's to say there couldn't ever be a better team?

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In Defense of Film Critics Who Didn’t Like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Love it or hate it, The Dark Knight Rises isn't worth the type of outlandish responses received in light of the movie's initial reviews.

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In Defense of Woody Allen’s Recent Work

Before you jump to conclusions about To Rome with Love, consider what it is you are criticizing. Is it the man? Or is it the man's reputation?

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In Defense of Celebrities Making Fun of Themselves à la ‘Episodes’

With the latest season of Episodes about to air on Showtime, we're reminded of how affecting the always-entertaining act of self-deprecation can be.

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In Defense of “Call Me Maybe” As the Song of Summer 2012

With Carly Rae Jepsen's recent smash, we are reminded of how great pop music can be whenever it decides to return to fun and innocence.

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In Defense of the UK Version of ‘The Office’ Being Better Than the US Version

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's crowning achievement has aged with grace, in part because of its short run, but mostly because of its originality.

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In Defense of Billy Corgan’s Foray Into Professional Wrestling

The Smashing Pumpkins leader is developing a reality television series around his Resistance Pro imprint.

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In Defense of the First 11 Episodes of Season Five of ‘Mad Men’

With Mad Men's season finalé set for Sunday, we look back at how polarizing the show's return to television has been.

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In Defense of Rock Radio, a Force in Popular Culture

With Clear Channel recently purchasing Boston's WFNX, we look at how important it is for alternative radio to exist -- and evolve.

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In Defense of Train Not Being Nearly as Bad as You Might Think

Sure, you may believe that it's not cool to like Train, but with the release of the unabashedly infectious California 37, the San Francisco trio brings fun back to pop music.

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In Defense of Adele’s Next Album, Whenever That May Come

As the singer just turned 24, we look back on how gigantic her star has grown while looking forward with an open mind at whatever her next move may be.

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In Defense of David Simon and the Legacy of ‘The Wire’

In light of David Simon's recent comments on its intent to 'stir actual shit', we revisit how important The Wire should be.

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In Defense of Cutting the Cord on Conventional Cable Television

With websites developing original programming and cable companies raising prices each year, there has never been a better time to turn away from your television and toward your computer.

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In Defense of Axl Rose Skipping the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Fans chanted obscenities and writers murdered him in print, but the contentious lead singer's actions may have been the most responsible thing he's ever done.

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In Defense the Year In Film: 2011—That’s Right, the Entire Year

The more films fail to perform at the theater, the easier it becomes to instinctively write off the entire 12 months as a whole. But 2011 wasn't all that bad, right? Right?

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In Defense of Boy Band Mania

With acts such as Big Time Rush and One Direction beginning to achieve pop star success, it's clear that we need bubble gum pop.

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In Defense of Adapting Books, Such as ‘The Hunger Games’, to Film

As The Hunger Games phenomenon fills movie theaters, we are reminded of the age-old idea that the book will forever be better than the movie. Or will it?

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In Defense ofhe HBO Television Series, ‘Luck’

In light of a third animal death on set, HBO swiftly canceled its promising new racetrack drama. Was that move the least bit hypocritical?

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//Mixed media
//Blogs

Truth and Other Restrictions: 'True Detective' - Episode 7 - "Black Maps and Motel Rooms"

// Channel Surfing

"Series creator Nic Pizzolatto constructs the entire season on a simple exchange: death seems to be the metaphysical wage of knowledge.

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