Entertainment versus The Downers of Life

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Man with smoke coming out of his ears

Life’s just a downer, right? Well, maybe not totally, but it sure can feel that way—even here in the good old U.S. of A. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reported just how pessimistic and deeply divided we Americans are feeling these days. Our country is roiling for a lot […]

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Culture Clips: Clowns Taking It On the Red, Squeaky Nose

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Pennywise the Dancing Clown

It’s not even October yet, but already our Culture Clips blog is taking on a rather frightening hue. First up: clowns. The World Clown Association is bracing for the release of IT, a horror flick featuring a diabolical clown. The association, still reeling from last year’s spate of scary clown sightings, has put together a […]

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Culture Clips: Total Eclipse of the Charts

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Bonnie Tyler

Where were you during the eclipse? We all know where singer Bonnie Tyler was: aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, singing her 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in that raspy way of hers. Let me guess what she’s doing today, too: Counting all the new moola she’s earned from this relatively ancient […]

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Culture Clips: Taylor’s Trial’s Inspiring Influence

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Taylor Swift

If you follow pop culture happenings, you likely saw the story this week about singer Taylor Swift testifying at a trial in Denver. The case involved a 2013 meet-‘n’-greet in which then DJ David Mueller allegedly groped the singer’s backside. Mueller lost his job over the incident, and actually sued Swift for $3 million. (Swift […]

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Culture Clips: If You Can’t Beat a Shark, Jump It

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Each summer, Discovery Channel faces a unique programming challenge: making its “Shark Week” programming feel fresh. That’s no small challenge, given the fact that this annual ode to dorsal fins and sharp teeth has been airing since 1988. This year, the cable network began teasing one of its sharkiest gambits yet: pitting Olympic swimming legend […]

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Culture Clips: Game of Thrones Conquers Millions, Facebook Billions

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Game of Thrones

Winter is coming. In, like, about five and a half months or something. In the meantime, HBO’s Game of Thrones is coming, too. Its seventh season begins July 16. The show has become about the closest thing to “must-see TV” in today’s fragmented television landscape: Time tossed it on its cover this week and called […]

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Culture Clips: Why Are Political Dramas Tanking?

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Have American viewers grown weary of fictional political dramas on TV? The answer seems to be yes, according to a Huffpost article analyzing declining ratings for the genre. Writer Stephanie Marcus notes that virtually every politically themed series—including Scandal, The Americans, Homeland, Madame Secretary, Quantico and Designated Survivor—has seen viewership decline since the election of […]

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Culture Clips: We’re Consuming More, More Media

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Pssst! Hey, you. Yes, that’s right—you there, the one staring at me on that screen of yours. Just what do you think you’re doing? Well, I’ll tell you: You’re consuming media, that’s what. Right at this very second. And you’re hardly alone. According to a study by eMarketer, the average adult spends more than 12 […]

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Culture Clips: A TV Wasteland?

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You wouldn’t necessarily know it here in Colorado, but we’re creeping up on summer, a time when lots of scripted television shows go into hibernation and the networks roll out their cheesiest reality shows. Who’s up for Who Wants to Be a Battlebots Bachelor? Anyone? But before America’s TV execs dozed off for the season, […]

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Culture Clips: The Fate of the Free World (and Vin Diesel) Edition

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Fate of the Furious cars flying

We have so much serious stuff to get to in our latest edition of Culture Clips. But before we get too grim, let me share with you my reaction to The Fate of the Furious’ mammoth $532.5 million worldwide take on Monday. “Wha??!” Turns out, though, I’m just an old curmudgeon. The Washington Post suggests […]

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A Tool for Evaluating Your Children’s Screen Time

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A child looking at a tablet.

We hear a lot about the hazard of excessive screen these days. For ourselves. For our kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics refined its recommendations for children’s screen time last October. For babies below the age of 18 months, the AAP suggests no screens at all. Between that milestone and 2 years, screens can be […]

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Culture Clips: Do Video Games Undermine Young Men’s Will to Work?

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The unemployment rate for men in their 20s has been rising for about 15 years now. Yet, curiously, a higher percentage say that they’re happier these days. What gives? Could it be that men who aren’t working are busily filling their days with … video games?   University of Chicago economist Erik Hurst looked into […]

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