Art & Culture: Personalizing Politics

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Plugged In has often said that the entertainment we engage and indulge in has the power to mold how we see and think about the world—whether we realize it or not. And in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision making gay marriage legal in the United States, openly homosexual actor Harvey Fierstein is—perhaps […]

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Miley Cyrus Has Become the Poster Child for Consent

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America’s sexual revolution has been underway for some time now. And at least as far back as 1967’s so-called “Summer of Love,” traditional and biblical understandings of the purpose and place of sexuality in our lives have been under open assault. But what began as a countercultural movement has in the ensuing decades become anything […]

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Millennials, We Still Love Ya

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A few weeks ago, Philadelphia high school student Gillian Share-Raab wrote an article bemoaning her own obsession with technology for the Burlington County Times. She spoke passionately about her connection to (and her constant need to be connected with) her tech, and how it has taken a toll on her life. She writes: Now, my […]

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The Man Behind Bob and Larry Sounds Off On Today’s Media

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In 1993, Phil Vischer launched what became a hugely popular series for kids called VeggieTales. Back in 2009, we talked with him about VeggieTales, his new venture JellyTelly and the challenges of guiding kids through the entertainment culture. This time around, I wanted to talk with Vischer about the entertainment culture as a whole—and to […]

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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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The Strict Science of Apocalyptic Blockbusters

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If you’ve been to a big-budget blockbuster at the multiplex recently—and by recently, I mean, oh, say, the last decade or two—you might have noticed some significant similarities between films when the heavy cinematic artillery swings into action. Namely, whether we’re dealing with science fiction, super heroes or fantasy, the scope of destruction is simply […]

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Abercrombie Shelving Sexy Ads

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Remember the days when clothier Abercrombie & Fitch was all about selling its stuff with images of barely clothed, beautiful teen bodies—the sort of sexiness prominently featured on in-store displays in the form of bionic backs, parabolic pectorals and implausible parades of perfect tanned curves? That was a time when a clothing catalogue could shamelessly […]

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Technology & Behavior: Benefit, Bane or Both?

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There’s no question that technology is changing our behavior. The question is this: Is that a good thing or bad thing? A benefit or a bane? Perhaps the best answer is yes. Let me illustrate. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I recently leased a new Subaru that comes with all sorts whiz-bang […]

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Exposing the Birthday Party Industrial Complex

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Two of my children went to friends’ birthday parties last weekend. My 6-year-old daughter joined a friend at a trampoline park, while my 8-year-old son headed off to Dart Warz (an establishment catering to the irrepressible urge for tweens and teens, mostly boys, to plunk one another with Terminator-ready Nerf blasters almost as big as […]

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Ad and A.D. Add Up to a Big Easter on TV

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About 3.7 million people tuned in to watch Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus on the National Geographic Channel last Sunday—the most ever to watch a show on the network, and a 300% improvement on NatGeo’s typical Sunday-night ratings. It was a success. But it wasn’t a surprise. Jesus—or, rather, shows predicated on Him—is big business these […]

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