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Friday, Feb 14, 2014
Ten entertaining ways to avoid romance this holiday.

Many of us who are single hate this time of year with the fire of a thousand suns. Maybe that’s a little too dramatic, but what else can you say about a holiday solely focused on happy couples trading romantic gifts during what is often the coldest, slushiest month of the year? Plenty of singles will be stuck alone indoors this V-Day, forced to sit through mushy jewelry commercials on TV or sappy ballad requests on the radio. 


We know what you’re going through, and we’re here to help. Here are some pop culture suggestions: movies, books, and video games designed to get your mind off the subject.


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Friday, Feb 14, 2014
Both careful and compelling, Nan Burstein's film looks back on the rivalry between the golden girl Kerrigan and the hardscrabble Tony Harding as well as a number of related stories, not least being the TV coverage of every creepy or melodramatic moment.

The start of the Sochi Olympics has been attended by all sorts of stories, sensational and informative, trivial and jingoistic. Some of these stories you might expect, like the security concerns, the new sports, or the hottest athletes, you may also have seen some that are more sobering, say, the stray dogs of the anniversary of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death. Among the stories you might not have expected—or might rather not revisit—is occasioned by another anniversary, namely, the 20 years that have passed since the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.


While it’s easy enough to fall into tabloidy versions of this revisiting—helped along by Kerrigan’s new gig as a commentator for NBC—it may be more enlightening to reconsider the event by watching 30 for 30: The Price of Gold, now available on Netflix. Both careful and compelling, Nan Burstein’s film looks back on the rivalry between the golden girl Kerrigan and the hardscrabble Tony Harding as well as a number of related stories, not least being the TV coverage of every creepy or melodramatic moment. To that end, it offers a number of perspectives, primarily Harding’s, but also Kerrigan’s husband and manager, Jerry Solomon (Kerrigan herself declined to be interviewed for the film), as well as other skaters, coaches, and reporters, as well as Harding’s childhood friend. What emerges is a remarkable saga having to do with the vagaries of figure skating as sport, art, and industry, entrenched in all manner of corporate and commercial structures focused on selling product—from the Olympics per se to hair products to breakfast cereal. It’s an insight too often obscured by the lingering hysteria over Harding and Kerrigan.


See PopMatters’ review.



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Thursday, Feb 13, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
With the intent of providing continued intelligent and entertaining content in the PopMatters' Columns section, we are looking to broaden our staff of columnists and the voice of our writers' community.

With the intent of providing continued intelligent and entertaining content in the PopMatters’ Columns section, we are looking to broaden our staff of columnists and the voice of our writers’ community. We’re particularly interested in writers who live and work outside of the US, but that is not a deciding factor; in all cases, no matter the writer’s locale, we’re looking for those who can approach an array of cultural subject matter from their patch of the world with an international sensibility; that is, contextualize the local with an awareness of its place, historical and current, in the broader world.


Qualified writers are already readers of PopMatters (as but one vital supplement in their varied intellectual diet). They are familiar with the work of our current columnists, as well as other areas of the magazine, and they have a solid sense of what we’re looking for in content and caliber in these essays. We deliberately use the terms “essays” and “columns” interchangeably; as pieces are broad in scope yet grounded in real-world examples, and they are tied to regular deadlines and an established identity (and therein lay the “columnist” element). With these expectations in mind, we have monthly and every-other-month column slots available. Suitable writers are dedicated to regular deadlines and enjoy participating in friendly, ongoing communications with their editor.


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Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014
These ads made us laugh, tugged at our heartstrings, or just wasted our time.

The Super Bowl is often the highest-rated event on television, and part of the reason why so many tune in to see it is the new commercials. Advertisers spent an estimated $4.5 Million for their thirty seconds of airtime, and many of them tried to surprise us, be inspiring, or just make us laugh. 


While it was far from being the best Super Bowl ever, this year’s crop of ads can best be divided into certain themes. Here is PopMatters’ guide to great moments, big laughs, and some completely overblown time-wasters.


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Monday, Feb 3, 2014
by Isaiah Wooden

There are two dynamic, exceedingly bright boys from Brooklyn at the center of Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson’s American Promise. The documentary chronicles the lives of Brewster and Stephenson’s son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun. Hoping to avail them of the many opportunities and privileges that an expensive, private school education often affords—and wanting, too, to equip them with skills to counter a world that frequently elides black maleness with criminality—Idris and Seun’s parents enroll them in Manhattan’s tony Dalton School for kindergarten.


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