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

 
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Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
by Mark Oppenheimer
The Believer (March 2011)

“That the average American running boy is the anti-jock is just as well; the preening, performing lacrosse egotist will not receive the necessary public affirmation from distance running. In cross country, even championships are a bit disheartening, even when you win. There is no World Series–style pile-on. And there will be no cheering, for cross-country running takes place almost entirely out of sight of the fans, who can see the action only at the starting and finish lines. And, therefore, there are no fans, save the runners’ girlfriends. But they have no girlfriends, because they are runners.


Or perhaps they are runners because they have no girlfriends.


Either way, it is completely understandable why Michael Cera, the Canadian actor who plays varsity runner—and unwitting baby-daddy—Paulie Bleeker in the 2007 movie Juno, has become the premier runner in contemporary filmdom. It has been argued that he plays the same character in every movie; in a bitchy article in Wired magazine, the writer accuses Cera of always playing a “horny, awkward teenager.” One online commentator, the pseudonymous “sevenwords,” puts the ultimate charge fairly bluntly: “Dude plays the same socially awkward teenage dork in every movie. Time to change it up Michael.””


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