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


Wednesday, April 6 2005

Easy Lover: Calculating the Upside of Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes is not quite white enough to require protection from lingering fears of black men's virility, not so black as to alienate audiences, and just exotic enough to be titillating. Her casting clearly indicates that Hollywood still won't handle interracial romance.

Wednesday, March 30 2005

Messin’ With Texas: Some Sights and Sounds from SXSW

As the final day unfolded, things grew more hazy as the rush to consume all one could in the final hours was not limited to the music.

Another Royal Mess

A tale of a man who will probably never be king and his bride, who couldn't care less if she were made queen.

On Love and Death in the Philippines

On Valentine's Day a series of bombs exploded in the Philippines, including one on Ayala Avenue, where Alave gets off the train to catch the bus home from work every day. Alave gives us a taste of life, post 9/11, in this place of more than 7,000 islands.

Wednesday, March 23 2005

My Love is Belgian

Belgium is a paradise of beer. The life-long quest to find that one beer whose unique flavour resonates with you is well and truly worth the effort. And chances are you'll make many new friends along the way.

TV is a Horrible Bitch Goddess

McDonald succumbs, all too easily, to the guilty pleasures of Internet TV.

Why Paris?

Lewis surveys the modern cosmopolitan black community in the French capital, and celebrates the influence of black culture on Parisian life. It's a different world, now, than lived by his predecessors of the '30s Negritude movement, quite post-soul from the flight in the '50s: it's a Parisian hiphop life.

Return to Genre? Beware Misleading Signs

An exploration into musical genre-bending; things are not always as they sound.

Wednesday, March 9 2005

Mike Skinner’s Blues:  Traversing The Streets of Anglo-America

Noticeably absent from Streets stories are the guns, bling, fast cars and ho's that so many American rappers invoke to establish their credentials. Where U.S. rappers emulate the fast-paced content of American action films, The Streets is more in tune with the Mike Leigh sensibility in his scenes of working class desperation and blank nothingness.

Sex, Lies and Police Videotape

Apartheid-era policeman have a certain 'look' about them that Leonard can detect from more than a decade away. You can take them out of an apartheid uniform, but you can't take the apartheid uniformly out of them. They also have a way they Look at him that still gives him chills, all these years later. You can take a leftist out of a paranoid era, but you can't take the paranoia out of a leftist.

Ossie Davis, A Celebrity of the People

Davis' true art was in his representation of all that was noble and heroic about being a black man. He gave dignity to our workaday struggles, and ceremony to our highest joys.

Bored Housewives: A Lifestyle Choice?

Costambeys-Kempczynski puzzles over the roles, and the meaning of the roles, of modern, married, hetero women: their voracious sexual appetites; their productivity level while pregnant; and their entertainment factor.

Indecent Consumption

Why try to form a labor union at your local Wal-Mart when you can strike an equally seditious blow against the system by jerking off to photos of women in latex underwear? No matter how much we label pornography's users as 'addicts' or 'degenerates' and tout religious values, porn is not an immoral anomaly; it's a capitalist inevitability.

Wednesday, March 2 2005

The Hospitality Brigade

Upon her move from Poland to Korea, Smith finds that it is possible to be nearly killed by kindness. A child of postcolonial wealth and might, and all that implies, negotiates in fits and starts, her early days in an ancient, Confucian land. Culture clash is inevitable.

Captain Confederacy: The South in Living Color

The creators of the 'tights and cape' crew that have dominated the comics form for much of its history knew the streets of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn well, but the rural South proved beyond their imagining. 'Captain Confederacy' changed all that.

Growing Pains

Egypt's lack of political vision is directly related to the quashing of all potential leaders: the worst crime you can commit is to develop a following.

Culture as Art: Willie Herrón’s HerróthiCa

The view from Herrón's City Terrace looks something like this: elements reminiscent of the Catholic Baroque combine with visual cues from Chicano aesthetics, such as skulls and wrestling masks, to evoke a sense of presence that is as lovely as it is tough. And the view has a sound. And that sound has a history.

Wednesday, February 23 2005

The Four Represents

In which the Foreign Devil shares four Beijing-area rock experiences to prepare readers for what is Out There, and, further, what is to come.

All Work and No Play Makes Zak a Dull Boy

Our sophisticated game culture critic goes infantile, and has a blast doing it.

The Curious Case of Mr. SquarePants

McDonald vouches for SquarePants' character. He should know, he roomed with him in college.

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