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Wednesday, January 26 2011

What ‘Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle Can—and Can’t—Tell Us About What Happened in Tucson

Imagine all of the elements contributing to Travis Bickle’s disintegration placed in the context of contemporary culture, with venom spewed 24/7. Imagine Travis Bickle – and Jared Loughner -- watching Fox News daily.


Thursday, December 23 2010

Have Yourself a Counter-Culture XMas: Red-Nosed Misfits, Elven Outlaws & Bearded Marxists

The TV versions of Rudolph, Santa, and Frosty are chaotic, freewheeling, and anarchic -- closer in spirit to Heath Ledger's Joker than to Bing Crosby's Father O'Malley.


Sunday, November 28 2010

Meme Maker: The Slater-Dodson Effect

If you are a fame-seeker that is paying attention, you've seen that the best way to get noticed is to get on TV -- in whatever way possible -- and bypass the usual arbiters of entertainment. It is a recipe for fame without any marketable talent: simply create a situation that centers on you.


Wednesday, November 10 2010

Why the Caged Bird Sings

TED Fellow Juliana Machado Ferreira's work focuses on bringing the latest advances in forensic science to bear against “crimes against nature. Her bete noir—and the driving factor behind her research—is the illegal wildlife trade that removes hundreds of thousands of animals, primarily birds, from Brazil’s ecosystem every year.


Thursday, August 26 2010

Mythologizing Michael Jackson

Aristotle's wisdom about these protagonists suffering irreparable loss at the hands of destiny is applicable to Jackson's journey: he suffered disproportionately more than he deserved; he was intelligent and gifted at evoking pathos in his audience; and he had influence but was in conflict with external forces and internal demons. In short: he was a flawed, tragic figure.


Thursday, August 19 2010

Cults of an Unwitting Oracle: The (Unintended) Religious Legacy of H. P. Lovecraft

A horror writer, self-proclaimed atheist, and "mechanical materialist" who spent most of his life ridiculing religion, H.P. Lovecraft invented one of the most absurd and terrifying pseudomythologies in the history of modern literature. So, how is it that some of his audience came to take his cosmology seriously?


Sunday, June 6 2010

New Theories of Everything Prompted by Guided by Voices Appreciation Night, or, Good News

Tonight I will go belly-up in some kind of mental cloud, a meandering consideration of what tribute shows are really about, and why Guided by Voices deserves one, and what they were really about -- and that will lead to thoughts about prophecy and nihilism and Ralph Waldo Emerson and postmodernism.


Thursday, May 13 2010

Challenging Stereotypes: A Yank’s Guide to Working and (Mostly) Playing in Australia

What follows is a hearty recommendation for you 18-30-year-olds wondering “Great, I’ve got a degree in English. What now?” or “Lovely, a lay-off. Cheers for that. And?”


Sunday, April 25 2010

Filesharing from Carter to Obama

There is a difference between sharing files and sharing music. In the '70s, victory was hearing your favorite song on the radio. And now it was all here, right in front of me. Just a click away.


Tuesday, April 13 2010

Lady Gaga: Fame Over

Lady Gaga is the return of the repressed mainstream, a Frankenstein of Tumblr fantasies and Twitter dreams. Social media’s decentralization and relativism run amok have brought us to a breaking point.


Monday, April 12 2010

Mental Machine Music: The Musical Mind in the Digital Age

How has the digital age changed our "musical brains"? At the quantitative level, what factors in the digital age lead our brains toward different musical choices? On the qualitative level, how have our listening experiences changed?


Thursday, April 8 2010

Sons of Anarchy: Rebels and Bad Subjects with a Cause?

Our present 'social grid' -- the stage Sons of Anarchy plays upon – is one that most on the planet have fallen through; life outside of that grid may offer some hope, some new regime.


Sunday, March 14 2010

All You Did Was Save My Life: An Interview With Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida

Our Lady Peace's lead singer opens up about the near break-up of his band, the inspiration behind their latest full-length, and how bright the future looks for the Canadian quartet.


Thursday, March 4 2010

Autopsy TV

Autopsy entertainment makes painfully clear that no amount of Twitter and Prozac, Friending and Unfriending, Outplacement and Outsourcing, Bail Outs and Stimulus, Surges and Drones, Mii and Wii, Nunchuck and Netois can save us.


Thursday, February 18 2010

Small Towns: Life in a Low Tech Web

To live in a small town is to be connected, and not electronically or digitally. Rather, it means to be connected to people in the flesh, to actual places, to land and buildings, to a common past.


Wednesday, February 17 2010

Caregiving a Damn: Travels through Hell with Love

Were lawmakers to seek a better understanding of the work of the caregiver, health care reform would reflect an economic model that placed altruistic motivation above financial consideration.


Monday, February 15 2010

When Punk Gains Steam

Steampunk's turn toward the past is more than merely aesthetic. Technology is viewed with a turn-of-the-century sense of wonder that opposes our contemporary tendency to take it for granted. And it is now more pervasive in pop culture than some may realize.


Tuesday, February 9 2010

Rags to Riches: The Fangirl Phenomena

Take a quick look at fangirl history and you will realize that fangirls’ devotion has “made” some of the most significant players in pop culture history. Fangirls are one of the primary drivers in popular media and today they are more empowered than ever before.


Sunday, February 7 2010

It’s Me, I’m Alive: A Conversation with Yoko Ono

PopMatters sits down with Yoko Ono to discuss her most recent artistic output along with the big ideas of life, death, and the Beatles.


Thursday, February 4 2010

Risk and Equilibrium: The Impact of Greil Marcus

The entirety of Marcus' famous 1970 "What is this shit?" review prefigures the sense of profound, disturbed wonder in the best of Marcus’ criticism.


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