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

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Friday, Jul 12, 2013
by Elizabeth King
How long can Zoey Deschanel's quirk-laden loveability maintain its charm over audiences?

Zooey Deschanel is the beauty queen of quirk. There are those who find it “adorkable”, and those who have disdain for the New Girl star’s overabundance of peculiarity. It’s true that the dial on the Quirk Meter is bent to full capacity and – oh wait - the springs have popped loose. Just watch her in interviews speaking in lilting stops and starts, or in the films (500) Days of Summer, Almost Famous or Elf where the line blurs between Deschanel the person and her characters; they are one and the same. With her trademark fringe of dark brown bangs, and round, blameless eyes she executes the weirdness well. Her delivery is deadpan but without the element of surprise because with Deschanel we know what’s coming:  some declaration of what makes her atypical (Let me fill you in: it’s everything).

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Thursday, Jul 11, 2013
Despite many of the network’s and producer’s best—or worst—efforts, some critics and scads of viewers can't help admit how winning and emotionally functional this particularly notorious reality TV family actually comes across.

Now that the initial shock of TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has largely subsided, we can take the time and reflect on this particular portion of popular culture and its surprisingly deeper ramifications.

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Monday, Jul 8, 2013
We all have a share in the blame when notorious washed-up reality "stars" turn to support themselves with more, um... adult-oriented career opportunities.

Having anything close to sympathy for either Nadya “Octomom” Suleman or Teen Mom-turned-porn star Farrah Abraham these days is sort of like having sympathy for the devil.  Actually, I think it would be more popular to stick up for Beelzebub than either of these two just mentioned current favorite media whipping posts.

Tagged as: reality tv, teen mom
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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013
The arbitrarily inexact, and often overly coddling, science of judging on competitive reality show undercuts the very premise the competition itself, leaving competitors and audiences scratching their heads.

As recently pointed out by Andy Dehnart on his excellent reality TV blog,, the undoing of ABC’s recent reality diving show Splash was not the hokiness of its premise; nor the dimness of its celebrity wattage; nor even the egregiously unflattering bathing suits worn by the women.  No, it was the wildly inconsistent scoring of its panel of two judges.

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Wednesday, Jun 5, 2013
Rather than moving away from "lookism", we seem to be embracing it. Even in the most unlikely areas.

Flipping the channels between network, local and cable news of late can be a confusing undertaking these days. Not just because so much propaganda is being passed off as news and not just because so much “news” is really just so much filler. No, it’s all flawless skin, perfect hair and ultra-platinum teeth of all the anchors and reporters that now report the daily headlines. Assaulted with such physical perfection—men and women—it’s hard to know if you’re actually watching the news or some new fangled thing on the always looks-conscious Bravo.

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