The Surprising Unintended Consequences of Fandom

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Movies can make people do strange things. And, no, I’m not talking about some of the usual suspects here. You know, teens taking up smoking (a correlation many studies have indicated) or imitating risky behavior. Nope, I’m talking about buying tropical fish and visiting a tiny island off the southwest coast of Ireland. Why? Because […]

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Vodcast: How Porn and Pop Culture Intertwine

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Here’s a surprisingly controversial statement for you: pornography is a problem. There it is. We said it. We mean it. Not only has pornography been linked to what many are beginning to call a public health crisis, it is—in and of itself—a problem. And a big one at that. Pornography and the use of it […]

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What Does the Truth Feel Like?

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Every now and then when I’m reviewing music for Plugged In, I’ll come across a lyric from an artist that succinctly encapsulates some aspect of our culture. That happened recently when I reviewed Gwen Stefani’s first new solo album in 10 years, This Is What the Truth Feels Like. Before I talk about the lyric […]

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Are You an Infomaniac?

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My kids have probably heard me say this sentence hundreds of times: “I just need to check one more thing.” I’m talking, of course, about the semi-compulsive (or, maybe if I’m being really honest, flat-out compulsive) urge to engage with information almost constantly. I just need to check one more thing, I frequently tell them […]

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American Idol’s Faithful (and Flirty) Legacy

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American Idol wrapped up its awe-inspiring 15-season run on Fox last night, crowing a final Idol, Trent Harmon, in an emotional two-hour finale that featured just about everyone who’s ever been anyone on the show. Watching performances from a litany of former Idols who’ve legitimately become pop culture idols reinforced just how successful the show […]

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Just Movies? Not According to the Oscars, They’re Not.

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About midway through Sunday’s Oscar telecast on ABC, host Chris Rock brought out his daughters’ Girl Scout troop and had them sell cookies to Hollywood’s A-listers. “Leo, you made $30 million—come on!” Rock hollered in the direction of Leonardo DiCaprio. By the time he tallied the troop’s earnings for the evening—somewhere north of $65,000—I was […]

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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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Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Phone

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IKEA, those clever Swedish furniture makers who have convinced us all to make our own furniture, are getting creative again. Their latest invention: A table that somehow cooks soup via your smartphone. Well, not your smartphone. Not unless you live in Taiwan and frequent the IKEA store there. And, of course, you’ve got to be […]

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The Pesky Power of Words

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I’m on assignment in Miami right now (I know, I know, tough work), and in the midst of flights and flight delays, I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. It’s all very interesting, and I’ve learned something new with practically each paragraph. (Did you know, for instance, […]

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