American Idol, CSI & the Passing of the Monoculture

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It doesn’t seem that long ago, really, that two influential, iconic network juggernauts dominated the ratings, week after week, year after year: Fox’s American Idol and CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Both shows spawned imitators and shaped America’s TV culture. Both exhibited a Goliath-like ability to intimidate any would-be rivals. And both, like Goliath, were […]

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Music Videos Shape Teens’ Values

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MTV doesn’t focus much on music these days. But the medium that the cable channel helped pioneer back in the 1980s, the music video, continues to exert significant cultural influence. Specifically, a new study conducted by researchers at Catholic University of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium, finds that some teens who watch music videos today are […]

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The Pope Talks Media Influence on Families

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Technology can be a great boon to communication. But it can also be an isolating influence too, something that keeps families from talking instead of enhancing their relational ties. That’s one of the significant takeaways from Pope Francis’ recent message on the 49th World Communications Day. I’m not Catholic, but I appreciated the Pope’s recognition […]

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Fifty Trades of ‘Shades’?

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The big-screen adaptation of E.L. James’ bestselling bondage novel Fifty Shades of Grey lands in theaters later this week. Some industry prognosticators are predicting the explicit, controversial film could generate as much as $60 million in its opening weekend. Other voices, however, are not just calling for a boycott of the movie, but asking would-be […]

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Superheroes Make Super Bet

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Well, the Super Bowl is over and you’ve likely read about all the many ruminations, cheers, commercials and jeers that have recently been associated with that sporting weekend event—everything from exasperated cries over coach calls to the fact that America consumed some 1 billion chicken wings during the big game. But there’s one connected story […]

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Movie Monday: Taken 3

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Promotional still for Taken 3

Movie audiences apparently aren’t as tired of being Taken as all of us movie critics are. Liam Neeson’s third PG-13 patriarchal vengeance fantasy took in an estimated $40.4 million over the weekend, despite the fact that it had barely climbed out of the single digits to a 12% approval rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. In my review of […]

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