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Wednesday, June 29 2011

Last Night a Trap Boy Saved My Life: T.I.‘s Urban Legend

I realized I couldn't seek comfort in the music me and Daddy shared. I needed something raw, music that would hit me in my chest where only natural, involuntary muscle movements indicated I was still, technically, alive.


Wednesday, June 22 2011

This Is Your Brain on YouTube

We seem headed towards a videosphere that captures and subdues the totality of human activity like some goopy, billion-eyed, grass-roots-driven surveillance cam.


Sunday, June 19 2011

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright: The Role of the Asian American in American Pop Culture

From New York magazine to Punk Planet, Audrea Lim shows us how recent Asian American writing sensations Wesley Yang and Amy Chua get it wrong in their interpretations of what it means to be of Asian descent in American at the dawn of the 21st century.


Friday, June 10 2011

Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style

Los Angeles’s 1943 “zoot suit riot” may be the only time in American history that fashion was believed to be the cause of widespread civil unrest.


Wednesday, June 8 2011

German Bands & Cat Designs: An Interview with Katie Gallagher

Whether basing her fashion designs on cats or collaborating with German electronica groups for her shows, Katie Gallagher is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world.


Thursday, June 2 2011

Socially Valuable Knowledge: An Interview with Louis Menand

Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard Professor Louis Menand diagnoses some of the problems in the American university system and makes some proposals for what can be done, all without the alarmism of many of his colleagues.


Wednesday, May 25 2011

When Superheroes Die

The death of Randy Poffo, aka Macho Man Randy Savage, once again revealed the dark history of professional wrestling. A history replete with drug abuse, murder and suicide. In this essay a writer and fan explores the varied reactions to Savage's death; a death which created more questions than answers.


Wednesday, May 18 2011

After Fukushima: An Interview with Dr. Robert Jacobs

Last week, PopMatters sat down with Dr. Robert Jacobs of the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima University to discuss the impact, toll, and future that Japan faces following the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. His insights shed much light on what has happened and what will take place in the near future ...


Sunday, April 17 2011

From the Fringe of Islam: An Interview with Michael Muhammad Knight

Famous amongst orphaned Muslims -- teens and adults trying to find a place in a religion known for stringency -- Knight’s first book, The Taqwacores straddles the line between manifesto and coming of age novel.


Wednesday, March 30 2011

De-Normalize Your Brain: Charlie Sheen as Prophet

Sheen is the new psychic outlaw. He is a psychopathic prophet warning of the dangers, lunacy, and criminality of the mainline media and everything they stand for. No wonder he looks so crazy.


Thursday, February 24 2011

These Long Years, and the Miles: Remembering Dwayne McDuffie

With the passing of Dwayne McDuffie this last Tuesday we're left with the loss of a pioneer in film, television and comics, and a man of singular vision.


Wednesday, February 9 2011

Life, The Universe and Everything

Like Richard Feynman before him, Dr. Leonard Mlodinow has a gift that’s all too rare in physicists – he speaks Normal Person. The physicist and author of the New York Times best-seller The Drunkard’s Walk, Mlodinow has a knack for making the complicated issues that crop up in quantum physics understandable to everyday readers.


Tuesday, February 1 2011

The Urinal:  A Brief Functional and Aesthetic History

How the history of the urinal is the history of America.


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.


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