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by PopMatters Staff

30 Jul 2010


Whether or not you think it’s a particularly good idea for the most powerful person on the planet to set foot on a daytime TV stage, you have to admit this was pretty entertaining. Does it diminish the office of the president as some observers, like Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has claimed this week? Or is this just an inevitable outgrowth of our celebrity and trash TV obsessed times? Whoopi Goldberg did address race issues with the President, which many “hard news” reporters have shied away from, but in this clip Obama talks pop culture.

by Arnold Pan

9 Jun 2010


As conspiracy theories involving our President go, the latest one that he was an extra in the video for Tag Team’s immortal “Whoomp! (There It Is)” is at least the most entertaining and least paranoid one. After Gawker ran with the “story”, the thread became silly enough to be teased on Colbert (see below) and semi-serious enough to be debunked by Politifact, tracked by the Washington Post, and mentioned by pretty much all the network news outlets. Don’t know if this is completely hilarious or totally pathetic, but, according to Politico, the White House has issued an official denial that the then 31-year-old Barack Obama was in the video, which apparently was confirmed by Tag Team itself. Still, check it out for yourself, as the POTUS double appears around the 30-second mark on the Colbert clip, flashing a pretty Obama-like smile while talking on a giant cellphone. Now if it were only a BlackBerry prototype…

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama’s Whoomp! There It Is Controversy
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by Diepiriye Kuku

4 Apr 2010


Lt. Dan Choi in front of the WHite House,
handcuffed to the gate in his military fatigues,
discharged from being gay.

Wow, other people’s moral judgments just get sicker and sicker. Just goes to show that it never pays to ask a people to deny themselves.  Caution, when I watched this clip streaming on CNN.com, it was preceded by a candy bar commercial where a family father ogles over a trio of teen girls in front of his wife who stands next to him struggling with their infant. The sweet confection gave the man time enough to think of an amenable excuse for checking out the prepubertal set of scantily clad young maidens: “I’m looking at potential babysitters,” he finally blurts out after his candy-snack jack. He was gonna exploit them one way or another—or both! In the same warped universe around the same warped time, there was also story about an announcement made over the PA system in a retail shop in Jersey: “Attention Wal-Mart customers, all Black people leave the store now.” So, this should all situate the following clip about a military service woman being granted a marriage license by one state, outed to her government employer by the police, and dropped by the sidelines by our society in the same warped nation-state. Ask. Tell. And See this:

 

 

by Diepiriye Kuku

21 Mar 2010


“This is what change looks like”—President Obama on the passage of the health care bill 2010.
“How y’ah like me now”—Kool Moe Dee on passage of fly lines and breaking beats.
“Phew! Now let’s continuing governing”—The American people as we persevere in lining up with one another, and marching to a steady beat.

Now that “We, the People” can get late breaking news without the big media fixture… we can watch the admin online. “This is what change looks like.” I didn’t know, and I wasn’t sure, so thanks for clearing that one up, Big B. I’m a gen-XYer, which means that I was exposed to plenty of MTV and more than my share of bad governance. Governance was so bad under that mesmerizing era when the late Mr. Jackson was singing “Beat It!” that our leaders actually boasted of out-sourcing the care taking of most public goods. Social inequality expanded exponentially, but on MTV all we saw were those who came out on top; now we call it bling! Big bucks bred big benefits for what was presented as a benign few. Money just grew for anyone who worked hard was what the TV was selling. Now, at least, more folks know that to be untrue, not when public goods like a nation’s health security are compromised. But these are all the facts one misses when these stories are consumed and regurgitated to us by big media. Thanks to the Internet, we can surf the White House’s channel directly. “How y’ah like me now!”

Bollywood’s got their Big B, Mr Amitabh Bachchan himself, a 68-year-old film star that continues to appropriate pop cultures’ latest trends to reproduce his stardom. Bollywood’s Big B and his son each have commercial hip-hop videos—outtakes of sing ‘n’ dance film in full Bollywood array. Then Big B’s son married Bollywood’s fairest maiden. (And fair skin is big bucks in India, hence dames like Big B’s daughter-in-law are necessarily Fair and Lovely like the popular skin-bleaching cream. See the picture here of Big B, Aishwarya and Lil B before the major-event-wedding in 2007, and back when Indian chicks on screen could still boast some flesh—now thin is absolutely IN!) This courtly affair commands the attention of millions, and is its own marketing machine that could sustain that family’s wealth for generations to come even if none of them ever worked again. Until just over a year ago, it felt like America only had those sorts of stars—that kind of Bollywood Big B—the wealth alliances and fantasies sold to the masses of poor, one rupee at a time. But, apparently I was blind, because now I see watershed decisions made by those elected to govern. Like crack to a fiend, or like dark chocolate to me, Sunday, March 21st, 2010 feels like Tony Toni Toné: It feels good, yeah. It feeeeeels good!”

by Allison Taich

16 Sep 2009


What goes through your mind when having an alcoholic beverage? Apparently for Russia and Poland, alcohol, or more specifically vodka, is much more than a consciousness-numbing substance—it is a key to history, tradition, and cultural pride. Since the late 1970s, both countries have been at war over where vodka originated, who has the right to call their product “vodka”, whose version is the knock-off recipe, and who gets to claim the drink as their own. The battle for vodka credit has even made it to the International Trade Court on multiple occasions.

After decades of fighting, The Vice Guide to Travel sent correspondent Ivar Berglin on a mission to find out once and for all if vodka originated in Russia or Poland. The Wodka Wars, a 33 minute documentary streamed on VBS.tv, presents the argument from a variety of perspectives. Berglin’s participatory approach took everything from history, nationalism, culture, and beliefs into consideration. He included diverse opinions and views on the debate from around the world. After watching the film one may ponder if history sufficiently proves claims to vodkas origins, or if opinion and pride are proof enough.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

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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