Pop Culture’s Complicity in Sexual Harassment

17
#me too

Complicity. The word sounds vaguely menacing. Even if we’re not quite sure what complicity means, it sounds … bad. To be complicit, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says, involves “helping someone commit a crime or a wrong in some way.” We’re hearing that word used a lot lately—albeit perhaps slightly less literally—in connection with the sexual harassment and […]

Continue Reading

What Parents Need to Know About Facebook’s Messenger Kids App

2
kid with phone (possibly using the Facebook Messenger Kids app)

Facebook is coming for your children. On December 4, 2017, Facebook announced a new app targeted at 6-to-12-year-olds called Messenger Kids. The world will never be the same again… …but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it is or, maybe, it isn’t. There are myriad opinions as to whether Facebook’s Messenger Kids app is […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: Time’s Person of the Year Is a Hashtag Movement

6

Each December, speculation builds about who Time magazine will select as its Person of the Year. That tradition that dates back to 1927, when Charles Lindbergh was selected as the inaugural honoree (according to Wikipedia’s entry on the subject.) Past recipients include almost every U.S. president since then (with the notable absence of Gerald Ford), […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: Do (Late Night) Nice Guys Finish Last?

18
Jimmy Fallon

I watched about five minutes of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert the other night. That was as much as I could take before Colbert’s political monologue drove me in search of something kinder, gentler. Something like, say, the Tonight Show with host Jimmy Fallon, who’s mostly eschewed the kind of political skewering that has […]

Continue Reading

Why “This is Us” is Sweeping the Nation

23

Over the last two seasons, NBC’s This is Us has become must-see TV for many a viewer, many of whom watch the show with a box of tissues handy. While the show has its content problems—and really, how many popular TV programs don’t?—it also showcases compelling, deeply emotional narratives that, for many, hit close to […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: It’s Hallmark Season

17
Hallmark

It’s that time of year again. Yup: It’s Hallmark season. I came home a few nights ago to find my wife and two daughters watching a schmaltzy, sentimental Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel. “Didn’t we see this one last year?” I asked. They looked at me with blank expressions, my wife answering, “Yes. And?” […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: Soaring ‘Reputation,’ Sinking Reputations

37
Taylor Swift

This just in: Taylor Swift is kind of a big deal. For months, the pop star has been stirring the pop culture stew with a steady drip-drip-drip of singles, the lyrics of which have been parsed and dissected as if they were ancient Sanskrit texts. Now she’s given her fans a whole album, and it […]

Continue Reading

Cyberbullying Themselves

4
Cyberbullying

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Smith lived in Leicestershire, England. Fifteen-year-old Natalie Natividad lived in a little town called Hebbronville, Texas. Neither girl knew of the other, but they had a few things in common. For one, they were both bombarded with hurtful messages online, some saying nasty things about the way the girls looked, others going so […]

Continue Reading

The Invasion of the Christmas Carols

11
Christmas music

Many of us mark our seasons by firsts: the first robin of spring, the first sunburn of summer, the first interception by our terrible quarterback of the fall. The Christmas season is no different—or, at least, so mall music supervisors tell us: It begins with the first Christmas carol playing in the vicinity of cash […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: The ‘House of Cards Indeed’ Edition

17
Kevin Spacey

For five seasons now, two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey has starred in Netflix’s buzzy House of Cards. He played a caddish President Francis Underwood who manipulated and murdered his way to power and—if the show’s title means anything at all—would’ve someday been laid low by his own misdeeds. We may never see Underwood’s comeuppance come […]

Continue Reading

Taking the Red Pill

12

An interesting new viral movement has been gathering momentum lately: A lot of young people are proudly reporting via YouTube and other sites that they’ve “taken the Red Pill.” No, that’s not another new drug. Nor does it have anything to do with a similarly named “pick-up culture/anti-feminism” discussion on Reddit that some people are […]

Continue Reading