Pop Culture

2014: The Year Pop Culture Took On Prison and the American Justice System

Piper Kiernan’s book Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison was published in 2010. It initially appeared on my radar via an excerpt in Marie Claire, followed up by a New York Times Modern Love column from Larry Smith (yes, Piper’s real-life husband Larry) about what it was like to have a girlfriend in prison. At the time, I found Kerman’s book to be an awkward mix of the then-trendy “My Year In…” memoir and chick-lit. It was a story that demanded a happy ending (in this case, marriage to Larry), but also one rooted in a serious topic: our prison system. … Read More

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Your Holiday Helping of Home Cooked Food (and Sex Robots): Links You Need To See

Calories are not the first thing on my mind during the holidays—but maybe they should be. The “average” amount of calories the “average” person should eat daily is approximately 2000; younger people should eat more than older people, and men typically need more calories than women. At The New York Times‘ blog The Upshot, Claire Cain Miller, David Leonhardt, and other writers put together the multimedia story “What 2000 Calories Looks Like” to give you a better idea of just how much you’re consuming every day. To be honest, Shake Shack isn’t as bad as I thought. … Read More

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The Steep Inclines, and Ultimate Decline, in Most Celebrity Journeys: Links You Need to See

This was a weird year. In a way, every year is weird — taking 365 days, grouping them all together, and analyzing them collectively will always result in weird, outlier-ridden statistics. And yet, the fact of the matter is that public figures as fundamentally different as Scott Stapp, Kim Kardashian, and Meghan Trainor all had some cultural weight this year. … Read More

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The Year’s Worst Cultural Criticism

A couple of days back, we reviewed the best cultural criticism of 2014, which really was a rather edifying and pleasurable exercise. But for every yin, there’s a yang, and in this case, the yang involves snobbery, asinine arguments about everything from marriage to Brooklyn DIY, another page for the “Gavin McInnes is the worst” annual, and the ongoing misogynist temper tantrum of #Gamergate. As well as, yes, of course, Lena Dunham. Welcome to the year’s worst cultural criticism! (And don’t worry, we’ve DoNotLinked the most egregious articles, so click with a clear conscience.) … Read More

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2014, The Year We Were Angry: Links You Need to See

Social media is good for a few things. It’s good for seeing pictures of high school friends. It’s good for learning that those friends have babies now, and that those babies all look alike. It’s also good for hearing about those friends’ vacations, and how great they were. It’s even better for ranting about things you hate (like seeing pictures of your friends’ vacations), regardless of whether or not they really warrant feelings strong enough to be considered “hate.”  … Read More

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Don’t Count on Tomorrow Being the End of Crazy ‘Serial’ Theories: Links You Need to See

The disappearance and probable murder of 43 university students in the Mexican state of Guerrero has sparked outrage and protests across the country. The official story is that the mayor of Iguala, Guerrero, and his wife ordered the disappearance of the students, who were kidnapped by municipal police and handed over to the local crime organization Guerrero Unidos. However, Vice News, coupled with Mexican print magazine Proceso, report that there’s a lot more to the story than President Enrique Nieto’s government is claiming. Vice‘s investigation of the incident in Iguala has been thorough and excellent all the way through. Priscilla Mosquedo‘s addition to the series is no exception. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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“Vape” Until You Feel “Cultured”: Links You Need to See

Oxford Dictionaries called dibs on “vape” a while back (yet my computer still vehemently wants to autocorrect it to “cape”), so it was obviously a challenge for Merriam-Webster to find their own word of the year within the sea of useless verbiage that encompasses every word in this shit language of ours— with the exception, of course, of the elegant, inimitable “vape.” But finally, today, Merriam-Webster picked their word: it’s “culture.” You might be assuming we culture writers are all rejoicing: but what, really, is a word of the year, especially when said word is so distinctly indistinct? For, similarly, what is “culture?” Though everyone’s answer might be different (some answers might be about yogurt, other might be about Bertolucci), I find this a perfect place, as it is, after all, a links roundup, to regurgitate some “cultural” stories from the day, and hope, that in the puddle of bilious chunks, the word of the year will somehow become more defined. … Read More

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25 Women Who Drove the Culture in 2014

A thousand and one Internet blowups punctuated 2014, a long and eventful year full of triumph and tragedy for women and and trans folks in American culture. Yet before we look forward to the next frontier, we ought to celebrate the year’s many, many heroines. Whether they sent us into a collective tizzy with their scandalous album covers or had us pumping our fists in favor of their truthful testimony, these 25 women (plus a few honorable mentions at the end) were the ones who got us talking, thinking, re-thinking, and maybe, just maybe, planning a revolution of our… Read More

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