Music

Bloggers of the world- get paid! (maybe)

So says Gawker though they're not ones to talk... Their target is the Huffington Post, which despite their slings/arrows, happens to post some quality material. The point is that since HP is such a high-profile destination, the contributors should get paid for their work instead of just settling for exposure. The bigger problem that Gawker points out is that this sets bad precedent- if HP can get away without paying, other big sites will do the same. It's no different for hundreds of reporters across the country who are now told that their job description now includes blogging, even the extra time they put into that doesn't translate into extra pay.

While I sympathize with Gawker's position, there's a few problems with their argument. Ideally, HP should indeed pay their staff. The problem is that a sustainable economic model for blogging isn't out there yet. A very tiny percentage of bloggers out there make their living from their posts. If the only people blogging will be the ones who get paid, you'd have a lot fewer of them, which is good in some cases but you'd lose a lot of other good bloggers too. If any site has a chance of finding a model for paying bloggers, it's HP and they should work on that more instead of relying on their writer's to make a name for themselves at the site. But Gawker doesn't have the answer either- their plan to pay writers by the amount of traffic they get is a recipe for sensationalism, which always gets more eyeballs than any thoughtful, insightful piece of writing. That's not even mentioning the fact that they just cut the pay for their writers.

And hey... I happen to write for free here at PopMatters. Why am I doing this? Am I also trying to get my name out there like the HP writers? Yeah, I admit it. It's true. But I also do it because I really do believe in PM itself and think it's a quality publication worth supporting. If it changes and I don't think that's the case any more with PM, I wouldn't keep writing here. For now, since PM does provide a good forum for smart scribing on pop culture, I'm glad to keep penning blogs for 'em, money or not. I hope you keep supporting them too.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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