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by Lori Flores

1 Sep 2015

Following the season finalé of HBO’s True Detective, I can’t help but reflect on how this second season — set in southern and central California rather than the Louisiana bayous — used and treated its Latino/Latina characters.

In an episode halfway through the season (“Other Lives”), after a big shoot-out that marked a turning point in the labyrinthine murder mystery, Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) looks around an overcrowded housing complex filled with undocumented Latino immigrants and their children — kids digging in patches of dirt, women patting tortilla dough outside — and mutters to himself “Jesus Christ” with a look of disgust and disbelief as he walks away.

by PopMatters Staff

31 Aug 2015

PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as a bridge between academia and popular culture. Thus, our articles are written in an engaging style that is both entertaining and erudite, yet free of stiff and cloistered academic language, and of course, far removed from the novice, the hype and the naiveté that crowds online media.

PopMatters articles appeal to cultural omnivores, historians, pop culture enthusiasts and intellectuals and geeks of many stripes. Our essayists approach their subjects with a strong respect for and knowledge of history—and with an eye toward where they think we may be heading next.

Feature essays are a minimum of 1,200 words, and there is no maximum limit, so long as the essay warrants the length. You may pitch a single essay, or a series of articles. We’d love to hear your ideas.

by Andrew Grossman

27 Aug 2015

American political life has reached an unenviable crossroads: we want government to be effective, but government has been ineffectual for so long that we can only fear what the shock of activity might bring. A line in G.K. Chesterton’s political treatise What’s Wrong with the World? aptly sums up this state of things: “We all agree that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing, but we would not want an active aristocracy.”

Americans likewise face the interlaced problems of heartless inaction and imprudent action: we complain about partisan gridlock but forget the terrors wrought by eager consensus, from The Defense of Marriage Act, to the Patriot Act and the ceaseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If solid bipartisanship can wreak irreparable harm, we might prefer despairing paralysis.

by Desirae Embree

26 Aug 2015

The fourth episode of Unplanned America, titled “Inhibition and Exhibition”, is easily the first season’s most entertaining, as the boys hit the West Coast in an attempt to see what happens in situations where people cast off their inhibitions.

Their first stop is Los Angeles, California: they’ve been given access to a porno film shoot produced by Vivid Entertainment, one of the biggest names in the adult film industry. The shoot is, as we quickly come to find out, an XXX-rated parody of Austin Powers. Any viewers unfamiliar with the porno parody genre learn all they need to as the film’s director, David Stanley, explains the, well, ins and outs of the script’s plot.

by Desirae Embree

24 Aug 2015

Unplanned America’s premise is reality TV distilled to its most basic elements. Three Australian friends set out on a cross-country US road trip with nothing but a camera and a desire to explore America’s cultural underbelly. From the get-go, the show has everything that one wants from mindless entertainment: foreign takes on local culture, sensationalism, and a visual style that, despite our rational faculties, still makes us think we’re watching objective reporting. 

Yet Unplanned America offers something else as well. The show bills itself as a “gonzo television documentary”, drawing on the memory of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who thought the best kind of reporting was the kind that found the reporter right in the action, partaking of the local flavor. While the show has definite appeal for the casual TV viewer unfamiliar with Thompson or his “buy the ticket, take the ride” philosophy, the subcultures it focuses on are definitely chosen with a literary audience in mind.

//Mixed media

Double Take: The African Queen (1951)

// Short Ends and Leader

"What a time they had, Charlie and Rosie. They'll never lack for stories to tell their grandchildren. And what a time we had at Double Take discussing the spiritual and romantic journey of the African Queen.

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