Columns > Culture

Friday, January 24 2014

What Will We Become? R.E.M.‘s “Driver 8”

In 2008 Michael Stipe introduced "Driver 8" as "a song that represents the dream of the United States of America and what it may become in the next three days." What did he mean, and has that dream come true?

Wednesday, January 15 2014

Is He a Friend of Dorothy? Is She a Dragzilla?

Who knew that every time I mowed the yard and stuck a Kelly green bandana in my back left pocket to wipe my sweaty brow, I was also advertising that I'm a male prostitute for hire?

Wednesday, January 8 2014

How Live-Streaming Social Media Websites Complicate the Male Gaze

Teenagers use social media to escape the control of authority figures, engage in sexual behavior with peers, and entertain anonymous strangers. Is this a problem?

Thursday, December 19 2013

How the Paparazzi Everyman Is Failing Our Entertainers, Failing Ourselves

Negative encounters with the media, which play out in the media, are the highly visible effects of broader cultural shifts that are occurring regardless of celebrity status.

Monday, December 16 2013

Can an Afghanistan Songbird Be Forever Outlawed?

Afghan musicians have always been adept at finding ways to preserve and advance their music regardless of the political or economic climate.

Friday, December 13 2013

No Place to Live if You’re Gay

We Americans may get disapproving looks for our "I'm not gay but my girlfriend is" t-shirts, but we don't worry that we'll be thrown in jail and tortured. Yet, in 76 countries in the world, that's a real possibility.

Wednesday, December 4 2013

Trapped in a Car Driving Through the Desert with Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘A Taste of Cherry’

As civil liberties were absorbed by the religious state and exacting codes of conduct were implemented with brutal force in Iran, Kiarostami used his canvas to show hope to his countrymen.

Thursday, November 14 2013

What If God Doesn’t Hate Fags After All?

Both James Alexander Langteaux and Mary Griffith have become leading voices in the discussion about how one can align a deeply personal relationship with God and support the LGBT community. Yet, neither wanted the job.

Monday, November 4 2013

Does Tinder Transform Dating Culture?

Tinder’s popularity is proof that people are turning to social media technologies to increase their chances of finding a mate... or at least a friend for the night.

Thursday, October 31 2013

‘Evay and ‘Earty Birthday Wishes to Rise Above Records

In 1988, Lee Dorrian founded UK record label Rise Above. A quarter century later, the label is one of the ‘eavisest and ‘eartiest around, filled with as much tuning in and dropping out as doomy drop-tuning and whigging out.

Tuesday, October 29 2013

Power Up: Janelle Monáe, Afrofuturism, and Plurality

While most pop singers bounce from one marketable persona to another, Janelle Monáe stands her ground in this Afrofuturist vision she's been creating for about a decade. Other pop artists are tourists; she's building a city.

Tuesday, October 22 2013

How That Flawed Man Flew: Beyond the Myth of Charlie Parker

Chuck Haddix's new biography of the great alto saxophonist unearths fresh details of his early life—and helps us to see more clearly his genius and his tragedy.

Monday, October 21 2013

The Silence of Distortion: An Interview with Nicolas Winding Refn and Peter Peter

PopMatters speaks with director Nicolas Winding Refn and composer Peter Peter about the long overdue release of Peter's score to Refn's 2010 Middle Ages brooder, Valhalla Rising, and its undulating dark ambient music.

Friday, October 18 2013

Pussy Riot and the Art of Political Pranks

Why has the West taken such interest in Pussy Riot? Would our reactions be so different if a similar incident occurred in one of our major cathedrals, synagogues, or mosques?

Friday, October 11 2013

Against Cult Cinema: Documentarian Didacticism and ‘The Animals Film’

The pacifism of The Animals Film renders it an anti-cult cult film, not merely a plea to cease animal cruelty, but a critique of the violent objectification cum commercialization of life itself.

Thursday, October 10 2013

Homesickness: Refugees and the Balm That Is Music

By reaffirming refugees' cultural identity while simultaneously offering inroads into their new home, music has helped a number of displaced peoples carve out a place of their own.

Wednesday, October 9 2013

‘The Great British Bake-Off’ and 21st Century Britishness

An unusually cheerful new cooking show is dominating the primetime conversation in the UK, but is patriotism the answer to successful TV?

Tuesday, September 24 2013

Waiting to Be Heard: On Being Deaf and Gay

Scant research has been done on those individuals who are both LGBT and deaf. This is surprising, considering what my sister, an interpreter for the deaf, has told me: "You'd be surprised how many deaf people are gay."

Wednesday, September 18 2013

In Defense of the Influence of ‘Difficult Men’

Brett Martin's latest book serves as a reminder of how enlightening dealing with darkness in television can be.

Tuesday, September 17 2013

Is Miley Cyrus a Master of Social Media?

With each tweet, photo upload, and "twerk" video, Miley Cyrus artfully crafts her star image, always maintaining our interest in how she presents herself.

//Mixed media

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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