books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the articles that got me reading and thinking this week.

Empire Records Does a Disservice to 1995 and Record Store Culture (AV Club)

All of this is true:

But really, what Empire Records achieved is far more impressive than other movies of its ilk; it became a movie that many people of a certain age (born between 1978 and 1988, say, though its reach may extended further) have heard of and in many cases cherish, without the benefit ofShawshank-like Oscar nominations or a Kevin Smith-style cult of personality. Even more impressive than that: Empire Records ascended to cult-favorite status despite being a lousy movie.

As someone who has seen Empire Records close to a million times and wore the soundtrack out, this article resonated with me.  It’s a smart look at a movie that has found an audience despite being terrible (and not even in a particularly interesting way).

30 Books You Need to Read Before You Turn 30 (HuffPo)

These lists are always good for a laugh, and this one hits just after my 30th birthday.  I am nothing if not a total narcissist, so I had to look and see what I have and haven’t read on the list.

I’ve read 2 to completion, and started and tossed aside about 3-4 more.  So I guess I have some reading to do?  I have next-to-no interest in a good many of these titles.  It’s still worth a look, though.

How TLC’s Fundamentalism-as-Kitsch Hurts Women (Buzzfeed)

I have never seen an episode of Sister Wives or 19 Kids and Counting, but I obviously know about these things as they exist in the pop culture ether.  I’ve been following the Duggar sexual molestation news from a disgusted distance since news broke, and I think this article from Buzzfeed is a great examination of not only that, but also of what a piece of garbage TLC is as a channel:

And I know that TLC is banking on precisely that tendency. 19 Kids is one of the most profitable shows it’s ever produced, and that’s not just because it resonates with social conservatives. People watch it, and shows like it, because what they see makes them feel better about themselves. Channel executives don’t care whether the Duggars are your heroes or your jesters; they profit either way.

By packaging fundamentalism as kitsch, TLC invites you to laugh at the very people it’s turned into millionaires. That exploitation makes them money, but it also obscures what fundamentalism is really like in practice. It has to: The reality isn’t entertaining.

Definitely worth a read (and definitely upsetting).

What got you thinking this week?


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