MTV’s 2016 VMAs: Nothing to See Here

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The Monday morning after MTV’s Video Music Awards has often been a cultural watercooler moment in a culture that has fewer and fewer of those moments these days. Whether it’s Miley twerking on Robin Thicke (2013), Madonna and Britney kissing (2003) or Madonna’s risqué performance of “Like a Virgin” at the very first VMAs back […]

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When Bono Met Eugene

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Rock stars and theologians generally inhabit separate spheres of influence. But every now and then, their orbits intersect in unexpected ways. Such is the case with Bono, frontman for U2, and Eugene Peterson, the pastor and theologian who wrote The Message paraphrase. Bono has long been a fan of Peterson’s work translating Scripture not only […]

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What Lady Gaga Got Right—and Wrong—at the Oscars

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Lady Gaga is one of Hollywood’s most enigmatic entertainers. One minute she’s wowing us with a heartfelt salute to legend Julie Andrews, the next she’s shocking us by wearing a meat dress or, in American Horror Story, wearing hardly anything at all. Her latest splash in the Hollywood spotlight came at last week’s Oscars, where […]

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Beyoncé Sparks Unlikely Red Lobster Stampede

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How much real-world influence does a popular entertainer really exercise? Normally, that’s an incredibly tricky question to try to answer. Why? Because there are just so many variables in play that it makes proving air-tight causal links between pop culture and real-world behavior virtually impossible. Besides that, artists and entertainment creators often try to downplay […]

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Musical Musings 2015: Adam Holz’s Year-End Picks

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After a surprisingly positive 2014, this year was a bit thinner when it came to positive stand-out tracks and albums. But I’ve still managed to sift out five terrific musical moments (some albums, some tracks) that span quite a bit of stylistic and thematic territory. (They’re listed in no particular order.) Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface: […]

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What a Rock Star’s Tragic Death Has to Do With Us

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When celebrities die tragic, premature deaths due to addiction and excess, popular culture has a way of lionizing them as something akin to martyred heroes. From Marilyn Monroe to Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley to Kurt Cobain, Corey Monteith to Heath Ledger to Philip Seymour Hoffman, the sad story is so sadly similar: a blazing life […]

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Naked and Assimilated

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Back in October, singer and actress Selena Gomez gave an in-depth interview with the website refinery29.com. She talked at length about transitioning from what the magazine describes as her “safely PG” Disney days to a young adult artist who’s now shedding the restrictions and prohibitions that come along with the Mouse House mantle. Selena’s latest […]

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The State of Teens, Tweens and Screens

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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice how screen and media time continues to grow for so many of us, young and old, these days. Televisions, computers, e-readers, tablets and smartphones offer unprecedented opportunities to engage in all manner of entertainment media. But just how much of this entertainment do our teens and tweens […]

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