American Idol Goes Back to the Future

American idol

American Idol is back. On a new network (ABC), and sporting three new celebrity judges (Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan). That’s a quick summary of what’s changed. What hasn’t changed? Well, almost everything else. After a two-year hiatus, ABC’s reloaded version of Idol is almost exactly the same reality singing competition it was […]

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Instagramming Your Vacation

Argentina ziplining

The other day, as I was shuffling through the papers on my desk and thinking through what I might write about, a colleague of mine (the oldest of the group— born sometime in the early 1900’s) suggested that I write about millennials. So, being a millennial myself, I asked, what could possibly be written about […]

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R.I.P. CDs


I bought a CD last night. (Rock guitar instrumentalist Joe Satriani’s latest release, if you must know. But I digress already.) I bought it because even though I listen to tons of music digitally (streaming, and in my 15-year-old iTunes library), I just like having a real, physical copy of my music. It’s tactile. Reliable. […]

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Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Movie for Adults

PIMA Best Movie for Adults

We’ve come to one of our most prickly categories now, picking through the best films Hollywood offered this year and deciding what’s truly praise-worthy in terms of both its messages and content. These aren’t films that the whole family will necessarily want to sit down and watch. But these films resonated with us. Again, we’d […]

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Finding Truth at the Golden Globes

Oprah Winfrey at 2018 Golden Globes

The Golden Globes this year offered a lot of what awards shows typically offer: lots of awards, lots of star power, lots of sometimes awkward acceptance speeches. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri escaped the awards show with four Globes. HBO’s miniseries Big Little Lies scampered away with three. But this year, hardly anyone was talking […]

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Pop Culture’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers (2017 Edition)

Movers and shakers

The outgoing year is often depicted as an old, tired man with a beard down to his knees. But this year, that depiction felt all too true. With all the natural disasters and political unrest and international crises afoot, 2017 probably made us all feel older than we should. Back in the day, many folks […]

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Television Tops 2017: Paul Asay’s Year-End Picks

Most of television’s nicknames are severely dated. How can it be called the “tube” when most of our HDTV’s don’t even have tubes anymore? I’ve been known to call it the “small screen” too, even though there’s nothing small about most television screens today. There’s nothing small about the influence of television, either. Experts say […]

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Pop Culture’s Complicity in Sexual Harassment

#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 […]

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

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 […]

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