Recent Features
The Pop Culture Death Trap Part 2: The Death of Beauty

Despite having seen it all before – the rock star and the blonde actress – we look on each such instance of celebrity death with the same mixture of surprise, curiosity, horror, and glee. Pop culture reflects our capacity to simultaneously ignore death and make of it an obsession.

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The Pop Culture Death Trap Part 1: The Athlete as Hieroglyph

In a money- and youth-driven culture that seems to understand nearly all human activity as part of a contest, death, like poverty, has come to be associated, however imprecisely, with losing.

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‘Pray the Gay Away’: On Being Beaten with the Bible Belt

A mother attempting to stab her own daughter, an exorcism, a school suspending a student -- author Bernadette Barton describes growing up in the religious South.

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Comics-in-Chief: Laughing With (and At) the Presidents - The Growth of Democracy & the Flow of Humor

“Greatest” and “worst” president surveys continue to reveal what is surely not just a coincidence: we have always and still continue to revere our wits in the White House.

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What Is the Stereotypical ‘Real American?’

Picture such a creature in your mind and see how it compares to the one in mine: White. Well-fed. Armed. Christian. I’m seeing Boss Hogg in Bermuda shorts, Foghorn Leghorn in a business suit, Britney Spears in a monster truck.

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Mirth, Music and Mayhem: The Tom Scharpling Interview

PopMatters talks with comedian, radio host and director Tom Scharpling about his signature brew of "mirth, music and mayhem."

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Abandoning the Ear? Punk and Deaf Convergences Part II

Deaf and punk cultures seem to share a similar outsider status, and Deaf clubs and social media, like punk bars and fanzines, offer refuge and regeneration, community-building and cures for boredom.

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23 Jan 2013 // 10:30 PM

Violence Unchained

There’s a fine line between showing violence and fetishizing it. Have we crossed it?

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Chicago—The Other Black Renaissance

The biggest difference between the Black Chicago Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance is brand awareness. The fact is, from roughly the early ‘30s to the ‘50s, Chicago was black America’s most fruitful cultural capitol.

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In America, Imagination is a Third Party: The Presidency in Fiction

Fiction lets us to explore our weirdest speculations and darkest fears about the person who sits in the White House. Is reality, under America's current president, worse than fiction?

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2012: Another Year the World Should Have Ended

The end of the year is a time for festivities, joy... and naysayers to lament the end of cultural artifacts. The naysayers needn't fear. The world hasn't ended, again. It's just different, now.

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6 Jan 2013 // 10:25 PM

Wishing for the End

Our culture is on a deathtrip. Do we secretly wish for the end of the world?

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What Happens When Humans Go a-Hobbiting?

More than 100 “hobbits” journeying from a half dozen countries to celebrate the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the Middle of Middle-earth (aka Wellington, New Zealand). They developed a unique fan fellowship—and along the way, met Peter Jackson.

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Like Clockwork: Ritual and Satire in the Age of Mass Shootings

As reports of carnage flashed across conference room TVs, morning chatter grew hushed. The editorial staff wondered how to respond. Do we pull the Batman review that was supposed to run that day? Cancel our coverage of the weekend box office?

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And in the Fifth Grade, We Teach Fellatio

Do we need to teach kids about LGBT people in our schools? Well, it's only normal that kids will have questions about such things, especially when Uncle Dan suddenly insists on being called Aunt Dana and is borrowing earrings from Mommy.

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In Defense of Hoping Chris Brown and Rihanna Don’t Work Out, Again

The recent news of the reconciliation between pop stars Chris Brown and Rihanna highlights how upsetting it is that no lessons were learned from that fateful night in 2009.

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Spies Like Us: Sex Scandal, Racists Tweets and Nobody’s Business

The Petraeus sex scandal, liberal 'naming and shaming' of young racists and Rihanna's new single share a common theme: popular culture as survelliance. We all seem to be minding one another's business and keeping a watchful eye on one another.

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Color Television: What Diversity Looks Like in America Today

The buzz word from the 2012 presidential election is "diversity". It's a good story. The look of the Obama crowd had both the structure and randomness of a Jackson Pollock painting. It was the ol' melting pot writ large.

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In Defense of Hating Thanksgiving

An overrated meal. Awkwardly catching up with family members. Black Friday. A boring and ugly color scheme. Thanksgiving is just the worst.

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18 Nov 2012 // 10:10 PM

The Other L Word

Democrats have returned the term 'Liberal' to the political lexicon. Long live the 'L'.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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