Bolivian Boys Discover They Can’t Become Spider-Man

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Everyone knows that Spider-Man’s powers came from being bitten by a radioactive spider, right? And everyone also knows that super-power-bestowing radioactive spider bites aren’t real, right? Well, three brothers from Bolivia didn’t know that second part. The boys, ages 8, 10 and 12, hail from the remote village of Chayanta in the Andes mountains. And […]

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What Parks and Recreation Says about Culture, the Coronavirus and Us

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Coronavirus, Meet Ron Swanson. Five years after NBC’s Parks and Recreation went off the air, Ron, Leslie Knope and the rest of the show’s gang are reuniting tonight (virtually speaking) to raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. It’ll air on, y’know, old-fashioned, traditional TV (NBC, of course) at 8:30 ET/PT. To me, this […]

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Libraries Versus Movies: Is There Any Contest? Nope, Not Really.

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There’s a very modern mindset that libraries are antiquated things: obsolete, archaic and dusty old buildings that sit unused. I mean, who needs a library (the thought goes) when you can pull out your phone and instantly have an enormous internet of things at your fingertips? But a recent Gallup poll suggests that ain’t so, […]

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How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Fed Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking

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I watched the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday, featuring Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and scores of dancers. Some people called it “dazzling” and “amazing.” But others, me included, would call it troubling. Before I highlight some of the obvious issues with what took place on Sunday night, I’d like to point out that it was […]

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Why Lizzo and Other Celebs Left Social Media for Good

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lizzo

Lizzo has been all over the entertainment media for several months. She won three Grammys last weekend and even nabbed a spot on Plugged In’s annual “Movers and Shakers” list. But Time Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year also made headlines earlier this month when she announced her decision to quit Twitter. Blaming the decision on […]

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Culture Clips: Fascism … on the Hallmark Channel?

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shocked watching tv

It’s officially 2020, folks, and we all have our own hopes and dreams for what the new year might hold. But some of us have radically different hopes and dreams. For instance, I know that some folks may dream of watching Hallmark Christmas movies all year long. But Salon political writer Amanda Marcotte hopes that […]

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Pop Culture’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers (2019 Edition)

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Movers and shakers 2019

The year 2019 was a year of goodbyes. We said farewell to sitcoms (The Big Bang Theory) and television serials (Orange is the New Black); rappers (Juice WRLD) and Disney stars (Cameron Boyce); writers (Toni Morrison) and superheroes (no spoilers here) and even a Grouch (as in Oscar and the voice that brought him to […]

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Introducing The Plugged In Show

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plugged In show

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I wonder if Plugged In is ever going to do a podcast, because it seems like they should,” well, the wait is over. I’m thrilled to announce that we have recently launched The Plugged In Show! Each week, members of the Plugged In team will be joined by author, […]

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What Is a Dopamine Fast, Anyway?

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dopamine

One of the most interesting concepts in economics is the law of diminishing marginal returns. It says, basically, the more we consume of something, the less we enjoy it. Put simply, the second cup of coffee we have in the morning has less “marginal utility” than the first cup. The taste may be exactly the […]

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Fifty Years of Sesame Street and the Internet: Which Hurt My Kids More?

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OK, so this blog’s title is a little click-baity, but it’s still worth thinking about for a bit. The Internet and Sesame Street are both celebrating their golden 50th. They popped into being back in the fall of 1969 (on Oct. 29 and Nov. 10 respectively). Each required years of planning and hard work. Their […]

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Culture Clips: Alone … With Our Screens

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culture clips alone with screens

Plugged In reviewed a strange little video game last week called Death Stranding. Our own Bob Hoose calls it part shooter, part adventure game, part building game and all weird. While dark and bloody, the game has also earned the most nominations this year from the Game Awards (an awards “show” that was watched by […]

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Why Has Supernatural Lasted So Long? One Word: Fans.

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With Supernatural now into its 15th (and final) season, I find my social media timeline swarmed with memes, GIFs, and posts reflecting on the series, speculating on how the Winchester brothers will save the world from the apocalypse (again), and bidding farewell to the show’s most beloved characters. But seeing all this internet chatter doesn’t […]

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