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Monday, Jul 28, 2014
Why is it that broader culture doesn't give victims of disaster and trauma the choice to say "No?"

In 1994, not long after Susan Smith was arrested and convicted of drowning her two children in John Long Lake in South Carolina, her estranged husband, David Smith, sat down for an exclusive, one-on-one television interview. The interview was emotional and traumatizing. 


And completely unnecessary. 


Still, I’m not at all surprised that it happened.


Tagged as: reality tv
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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
by Miles Layman
The tech mecca of Dallas gets plenty hot, and as AMC's Halt and Catch Fire attests, the heat is equally matched by tech industry intrigue.

The business of television is ever changing in the dog days of summer. Producers will jockey with network execs for renewal, showrunners will settle into the fateful writer’s room to shape their show’s future, and Jack Bauer is now opting to save England from annihilation—but still somehow doing it with only a flip phone and concealed pistol at his disposal.


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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
There was much more to James Garner than Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford. Here are ten movies roles which he should be remembered for, as well.

For a certain generation, he will always be the quick-witted, adroit cardshark Bret Maverick in Maverick. His slick, snide persona left a major impact, even after he walked at the end of the third season (the show ran for another two years).


For others, he remains the laid back beach bum private dick Jim Rockford, a problem-plagued PI whose questionable abilities were quelled by his flashy (?) fashion sense, beachside mobile home office/residence, street savvy, and complicated backstory (he served time in prison on a wrongful conviction). Audiences loved this Maverick-like update (co-producer Roy Huggins was responsible for both shows) and it set a standard for which actor James Garner would be both grateful and a bit glum.


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Monday, Jul 21, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
PopMatters seeks essays (1,200 to 3,000 words, usually) about any aspect of popular culture, present or past.

(If you are interested in pitching a review of some specific current work or performance, please contact the appropriate section editor.) We prefer careful analysis of the chosen subject matter with the intention of supporting an original thesis; we aren’t particularly interested in articles that merely want to promote their subject. An assessment of what ideological work a given pop culture phenomenon performs (i.e. what has allowed something to become popular, what’s at stake in its popularity besides money, how it is situated in a historical or geographical context, etc.) is especially welcome. Ideally essays will draw on sophisticated interpretive strategies derived from a theoretically informed point of view, but will be presented for a general reader in lively, accessible language.


For examples of the diversity of topics and range of approaches we welcome, please have a look at PopMatters features and columns archives.


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Friday, Jul 11, 2014
Sometimes, reality TV lives up to its name and casts "by the numbers". Most of the time, however, it casts according to race and sexual orientation.

Since their launch onto the American television landscape (c. 2000, with the debut of season one of Survivor), the great appeal of reality TV programs have been their promise of unpredictability. 


For various generations raised on television (which, at the moment, is almost everyone), so many fictional series had, by the time of reality TV’s arrival, become so predictable that it created a chasm large enough for reality to root itself and foster, offering up an unexpected type of TV where villains often triumphed (see: Richard Hatch in Survivor‘s first season), “good guys” had feet of clay, and “right” and “wrong” became irreparably muddled.


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