Culture
Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.


Recent
Music

Matchbox Twenty: Aren't We All a Little "Unwell" in the Time of Coronavirus?

Say what you will about Matchbox Twenty – I know I once did. But during this COVID-19 pandemic, we're all going "crazy" and feeling "a little unwell" in this time of isolation, and I'm turning to their music.

Film

What Lurks Beneath: 'Jaws' and Political Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Boris Johnson admires the Mayor in Spielberg's Jaws. Remember him? He was the guy who wouldn't close the beaches -- and sacrifice that revenue source -- during a public crisis.

Culture

Love at a Socially-Isolating Distance

In one sense, life in the time of Coronavirus clarifies an essential element of love: love always occurs at an ontological distance.

Culture

Life in the Time of Coronavirus Is No Time for False Dichotomies

How unsettling and unnerving it is during these times of coronavirus, when our rational intellect suggests one set of answers, while our emotions pull us toward another.

Music

Nick Drake's 'Pink Moon' and Finding a Place to Be During Coronavirus

Shuttered inside our homes, contending with the COVID-19 outbreak, Nick Drake's third album promises rebirth and renewal: the pink moon is coming.

Books

'Represented': Black Buying Power and the American Dream

The unheralded and underappreciated PR exec. Moss Kendrix is the de facto hero in Brenna Wynn Greer's enlightening history of Black marketers and the evolving depiction of Black people in mass media.

Music

Corona Tales: Life As an Indie Musician in 2020

Canadian Americana artist Lynne Hanson tells her tale of the Coronavirus Blues, one of canceled tour dates and diminished revenue prospects.

Lynne Hanson
Books

#HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (Excerpt)

#Powertothepeople! The humble hashtag has given power to the powerless, thus helping to engage citizenship and cultural belonging. Enjoy this excerpt of #HashtagActivism, courtesy of MIT Press, written by influential members of hashtag activism networks.

Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, Brooke Foucault Welles
Film

Philippa Lowthorpe's 'Misbehaviour' (Film Flash)

Misbehaviour retells a bold tale of female empowerment in an expected place: the beauty pageant.

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Love in the Time of Coronavirus: the Series, the Call for Papers

#Coronafirus #COVID19 #Pandemic: Love in the Time of Corona Virus is a new and hopefully short-run PopMatters series of art and life and the art of living in these times of global health crisis.

Film

Reclaiming Small Spaces: Chantal Akerman's 'Saute ma ville' and the Art of Social Distancing

Chantal Akerman's 1968 short film Saute ma ville directly reflects our current state, serving as a meditative text on the art of staying home.

Music

What the Sirens Taught Us: An Elegy for Mermaidens

There's something not-quite-right, something distinctly off-kilter, about the Mermaidens' feminine voice in New Zealand's music scene.

Books

'Serenade for Nadia' Is a Beautifully Wrought Tale of Political Crimes Past and Present

Serenade for Nadia's complex plot allows Turkish author Zülfü Livaneli to sermonize on topics as varied as anti-Semitism, secularism and modernity, the role of faith in the modern world, diversity and multiculturalism, media and journalism, and more.

Television

Sarah Watson's 'The Bold Type' As a Critique of Postfeminism

Television show The Bold Type goes against the postfeminist notion that feminists have conquered the patriarchy, let alone their own differences.

Books

'Going Stealth': Trans Politics and Surveillance Practices

When activists cooperate with a repressive state, who gets left behind?

Culture

Sex! Drugs! Volleyball! Dark Secrets of American Morality EXPOSED in Exploitation Films

Kino Lorber's Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture series highlights exploitation films that aim to strike a blow for truth and health against censorship and narrow fuddy-duddies.

Books

Optimism and the Inquisition: The Extraordinary Life of Girolamo Cardano

Polymath Girolamo Cardano was beaten, imprisoned, survived a plague, and was banned by the church. Yet his work in medicine, engineering, mathematics and more is present in our lives today.

Books

Why Everyone Should Read Samra Habib's Queer Muslim Memoir

Matter of fact in its presentation of difficult material -- sexism, child marriage, emotional and sexual abuse -- what's most striking about Samra Habib's memoir, We Have Always Been Here, is the sense of compassion with which she writes.

Books

On 'Blueschild Baby', George Cain's Searing Novel of Addiction: An Interview

George Cain's 1970 semi-autobiographical novel Blueschild Baby, recently republished by Ecco, is a difficult and unapologetic work about the life of a functioning drug addict. In this interview Imran Khan discusses Cain's work and life with his ex-wife, Jo Lynne, and son, Malik.

Books

Black. Queer. Southern. Women.

Conveyed with urgency and mindfulness, Johnson's Black. Queer. Southern. Women. creates a space for revisioning critical race and sexual ideologies while affirming the voices of queer black women.

Film

The Ghostliness of Mark Jenkin's  Post-Brexit Parable, 'Bait'

Mark Jenkin's haunting Bait exhibits a ghostliness that complements the film's transient landscape of seasonal capital and short-term holiday lets.

Books

'American Dirt' Now That the Dust Has Settled

Though the bluster has asserted the opposite, Jeanine Cummins' prose in American Dirt washes away the gore and grime to show the human faces that make up the migrant crisis of the Western Hemisphere.

Music

Punk Hybrids: Wham! Bam! Glam-Punk!

Glam Punk is "Rock 'n' roll with lipstick on," sneered John Lennon.

Culture

Critical Noir: Confessions of a ThugNiggaIntellectual

If you need to know what the boundaries of diction are, listen to my reformed ghetto-ass.

Music

Peering Through the Hazy Past: Floyd Patterson and Fats Domino

Even as Black America continues to battle crime, violence, death, and a hostile political and economic policy, it can be soothing to peer through the haze and marvel at the richness of Black American stories. Two such stories: Floyd Patterson and Fats Domino.

Books

The New Empire Has Risen: 'New Kings of the World'

Author Fatima Bhutto profiles the new arbiters of mass culture: Bollywood, Dizi, and K-pop, in her engaging cultural studies/travelogue, New Kings of the World.

Books

Journalist Desmond Cole Confronts Canada's Anti-Black Racism

In The Skin We're In, Canadian journalist Desmond Cole reveals the shocking scale of racism in a country that prefers to look the other way.

Film

Be Kind. Please Rewind: An Ode to the VCR

Like Netflix, the VCR diluted and transformed the film itself.

Books

The Incendiary Life and Times of James Baldwin

Bill V. Mullen's James Baldwin: Living in Fire is an important addition to the ongoing assessment and examination of a writer whose legacy remains vital to this day.

Books

Figuring It Out with "Reverse Dracula", Wayne Koestenbaum

Figuring out some arguments by exegesis: a witty conversation with author, artist, and academic, Wayne Koestenbaum.

Music

How the Staple Singers Became the Soul of Protest Music

The Staple Singers' Stax recording, Come Go with Me, captures their transformation from the church-wrecking gospel highway to the soul-filling pop charts.

Film

Parallelism and Deliverance in Barbara Loden's 'Wanda' and Natalia Leite's 'Bare'

Natalia Leite's 2015 film Bare picks up where Barbara Loden's 1970 film Wanda left off, each acting, indirectly, as the proto- and fourth wave- feminist renderings of the other.

Books

Why Do We Travel? On Erika Fatland's 'Sovietistan'

Social anthropologist Erika Fatland eschews many of the clichés of Post-Soviet travel writing, providing an incident-packed trip to a vast, often-overlooked region in Sovietistan.

Film

'Gloria Bell': Silent Suffering and Disco Dancing in Late Capitalism

Gloria Bell painfully conveys that this economic system thrives on our isolation.

Music

Tipping the Swear Jar: How mewithoutYou Used the F-Bomb to Say More Than the F-Word

Lyricist Aaron Weiss of post-punk Christian band mewithoutyou used the F-word in a song and it got banned from radio and the album got pulled from record stores. Meanwhile, his fans ponder his parodying of cultural mores.

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