Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

In Defense Of…

Wednesday, July 16 2014

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.


Tuesday, June 17 2014

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.


Tuesday, June 3 2014

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.


Friday, May 16 2014

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?


Monday, April 28 2014

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.


Tuesday, April 15 2014

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'.


Wednesday, April 2 2014

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.


Tuesday, March 25 2014

In Defense Of ... Modern Family’s Writers

Right when the adult actors of ABC's most successful series in years were forced to file suit against 20th Century Fox, the minds behind the dialogue took an entire episode to make their points known. Subliminally or not.


Monday, March 17 2014

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.


Tuesday, March 11 2014

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.


Tuesday, March 4 2014

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 in the prime of his career, but also what it is that makes the polarizing artist so fascinating. And so, so breathtaking.


Monday, February 17 2014

In Defense Of ... Totally Being Over the Winter Olympics

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


Wednesday, February 12 2014

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.


Wednesday, February 5 2014

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.


Wednesday, January 29 2014

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.


Wednesday, January 22 2014

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.


Friday, January 10 2014

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.


Thursday, December 12 2013

In Defense Of ... An Ugly Betty Movie

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


Tuesday, December 3 2013

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.


Wednesday, November 20 2013

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.


Tuesday, November 12 2013

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.


Wednesday, November 6 2013

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.


Wednesday, September 25 2013

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.


Wednesday, September 18 2013

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.


Tuesday, August 27 2013

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. As for the network's timing, well, it was perfect.


Tuesday, August 20 2013

In Defense Of ... New Radicals

New Radicals sort of invented the term "frenemies", didn't they? Regardless, the group's lone record, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, still stands as one of the lost treasures of the '90s.


Wednesday, August 7 2013

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

From Away From Her to Stories We Tell, the child actress-turned-director is a mastermind at both presenting and analyzing the fine details of a life. To realize she's still so young is both exhilarating and unnerving.


Wednesday, July 31 2013

In Defense Of ... Netflix Being the Future of Television

After landing a gang of Emmy nominations, The Little Red Envelope That Could has established itself as a go-to place for quality original programming. The next step? World domination.


Wednesday, July 24 2013

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? How much is enough when it comes to the big business end of the live music industry?


Sunday, July 7 2013

In Defense Of ... Retiring the Band Name Sublime

As the quarter-century anniversary of the So-Cal ska/punk outfit passes, it should be noted that there will forever be only one Sublime, and Bradley Nowell is the only lead singer that should have ever been part of it.


Wednesday, June 26 2013

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. But as the Postal Service proved on a recent tour stop in Maryland, the attention is well deserved.


Monday, June 10 2013

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, taking the marriage between information and entertainment to a completely new level.


Tuesday, June 4 2013

In Defense Of ... Music Festival Fatigue

With the summer music festival season upon us, it's time to question how relevant these large gatherings are as the multi-band concert industry continues to expand to obnoxious heights.


Wednesday, May 29 2013

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.


Wednesday, May 22 2013

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, but the Electrifying Crown Seekers make a case that the genre is still going strong.


Monday, May 13 2013

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, even as today's interconnected and advanced world is far more critical than it was a decade ago, when the Bluths first graced our TV screens.


Thursday, May 9 2013

In Defense Of ... Going to the Movies

The popcorn. The posters. The previews. The audience camaraderie. Try as they may, big-screen televisions and streaming services will never be able to duplicate the moviegoing experience as long as the theaters stay open and the films keep coming.


Tuesday, April 30 2013

In Defense Of ... The Music Collector

With the rise of streaming services and viral videos, many argue that the art of collecting may be facing its imminent demise sooner than later. For true believers, however, the digital age may be the single most convenient time in the history of music consumerism.


Monday, April 22 2013

In Defense Of ... The Rock Drummer

Bobby Gillespie once said it best: You can't have a good band if you don't have a good drummer. As rock music has proved over the years, that adage is far more true than one might think.


Thursday, April 11 2013

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.


Thursday, April 4 2013

In Defense Of ... Hip-Hop Receiving the Respect It Deserves

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


Monday, March 25 2013

In Defense Of ... March Madness

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is without question the greatest time of year for any sports fan. And if you don't believe me, there may just be a stronger, much more powerful entity that could persuade you.


Monday, March 18 2013

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.


Wednesday, March 13 2013

In Defense Of ... Reveling in the Heady Feeling That Is Spring

Summer is too icky, Winter is too heartbreaking and Autumn is too depressing. With the vernal equinox right around the corner, let's revel in that feeling that the sap is finally rising, again.


Tuesday, March 5 2013

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.


Wednesday, February 27 2013

In Defense Of ... Binge-Watching Television

The release of 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 consumption -- it's also the here and now.


Monday, February 18 2013

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 somehow got pushed to the back of the awards season bus so transcendent, so polarizing, and so... great.


Wednesday, February 13 2013

In Defense Of ... Opening Acts

You know how you're planning to go to a concert and you wonder when you should arrive, so that you miss the opening act? Not so fast: You could be missing out on your next musical obsession.


Wednesday, February 6 2013

In Defense Of ... Newspapers

It seems that with each passing fiscal quarter, media-watchers love to pound another nail into print journalism's coffin. Yeah, news consumption might not be what it used to be, but there will forever be certain things iPads, Kindles and tablets can't do.


Wednesday, January 30 2013

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? And what's next for the both the minds behind it and the future of brainy comedy?


Thursday, January 24 2013

In Defense Of… The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

With Jimmy Kimmel's recent jump to the 11:35PM time slot in mind, one has to wonder why CBS' late late guy isn't being considered among the best after-hours television America can offer.


Monday, January 14 2013

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, however, we should be a little more forgiving when considering his recent indiscretion.


Tuesday, January 8 2013

In Defense Of ... Being Fed Up with Irony

At what point did it become so important for us to be ironic and sarcastic? More importantly, when can we finally move past our judgments and witticisms and just begin to play things straight? Maybe when it becomes ironic to not be ironic.


Monday, December 10 2012

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!


Tuesday, December 4 2012

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.


Tuesday, November 27 2012

In Defense Of ... Diving Head-First into Fantasy Sports

They help kids score higher on tests, they improve child/parent relations, they feed the OCD impulse in people of all ages, they're a big bucks industry. What's not to love about Fantasy Sports?


Sunday, November 18 2012

In Defense Of… Hating Thanksgiving

An overrated meal. Awkwardly catching up with family members. Black Friday. A boring and ugly color scheme. As Americans begin to get ready for turkey day, we look at why Thanksgiving is just the worst.


Tuesday, November 6 2012

In Defense Of ... Keeping It Real, and Live

Figures may be slightly up for the concert business, but how long does it have until the Brave New World of YouTube clips and streaming festivals overtake the incredible experience of a live concert?


Tuesday, October 30 2012

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. Those hips wouldn't have been so polarizing, those haircuts wouldn't have been so cutting edge...


Tuesday, October 23 2012

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, and how clear it should be that she was truly one of a kind.


Wednesday, October 17 2012

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 experts may go to prove points they aren't sure how to defend.


Wednesday, October 10 2012

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, but it also illustrates how far we still have to go as a human race when it comes to matters of sexism.


Wednesday, October 3 2012

In Defense Of ... VH1s ‘Behind the Music’

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


Wednesday, September 26 2012

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? And besides, if you had the chance to referee an NFL game, would you even think twice about saying yes?


Monday, September 17 2012

In Defense Of ... Not Buying into ‘90s Nostalgia

What's the good in looking back if you refuse to look forward? In light of the Summerland tour and a few choice new releases, it's time to consider some of these bands as legitimate artists and not just a figment of our own personal musical history.


Wednesday, September 12 2012

In Defense Of… Being in a Band

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


Wednesday, August 29 2012

In Defense Of ... The Survival of Major Record Store Chains

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


Wednesday, August 22 2012

In Defense Of ... Not Going Goo-goo Over Lady Gaga

Seven days. Two letters. And one angry animals rights group. The Mother Monster's recent struggles highlight how possible it is that Lady Gaga's rein at the top is possibly nearing its end.


Wednesday, August 15 2012

In Defense Of… Twitter as the Devil

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


Monday, August 6 2012

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 last week, we look at just how far Mr. Carter has taken the boundaries of hip-hop and success -- and how or if the culture will survive once he decides to leave it for good.


Tuesday, July 31 2012

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 assembled (hypothetically speaking, of course)?


Monday, July 23 2012

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.


Thursday, July 19 2012

In Defense Of… Woody Allen’s Recent Work

Before you jump to conclusions about Woody Allen's latest, To Rome with Love, take a second to consider exactly what it is you are criticizing. Is it the man or is it the man's reputation?


Thursday, July 12 2012

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

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


Wednesday, June 27 2012

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.


Monday, June 18 2012

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

In the nearly ten years that its been off the air, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's crowning achievement has aged with grace, in part because of its short run, but most of all, because of its originality.


Tuesday, June 12 2012

In Defense Of ... Billy Corgan’s Foray Into Professional Wrestling

With the news that the Smashing Pumpkins leader is developing a reality television series around his Resistance Pro imprint, it's hard to bet against the singer's success as a businessman.


Monday, June 4 2012

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 while coming to terms with how frustrating it began and how great it's become.


Wednesday, May 23 2012

In Defense Of… Rock Radio: A Force in Popular Culture

With Clear Channel recently purchasing Boston's WFNX, almost certainly with the intention of changing its format, we look at how important it is for alternative radio to exist -- and evolve.


Wednesday, May 16 2012

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. And who ever said music can't -- or shouldn't -- be fun?


Wednesday, May 9 2012

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.


Thursday, May 3 2012

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

In light of David Simon's recent comments to The New York Times on its intent to 'stir actual shit', we revisit how important The Wire should be to both popular culture and American society.


Thursday, April 26 2012

In Defense Of… Cutting the Cord on Conventional Cable Television

With more and more 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.


Monday, April 16 2012

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.


Wednesday, April 11 2012

In Defense Of… 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?


Monday, April 2 2012

In Defense Of… Boy Band Mania

With acts such as Big Time Rush and One Direction beginning to achieve pop star success, we are reminded of how important it is for bubble gum pop to exist within the music world.


Monday, March 26 2012

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?


Wednesday, March 21 2012

In Defense Of… The HBO Television Series, ‘Luck’

In light of a third animal death on set, HBO swiftly canceled its promising new racetrack drama. But considering the latest obsession with television nostalgia, was immediately axing the show the right move? Or even better, was it the least bit hypocritical?


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