Tag Archives | Pop Culture

Torture Okayed Through Pop Culture

Diverse torture instruments.

Diverse torture instruments.

Noah Berlatsky analyzes how pop culture (movies, comic books, television) makes torture “ok.” He writes that “Torture, pop culture says, is effective, fun, and even funny.”

Noah Berlatsky writes at Splice Today:

In Frank Miller’s influential 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns, Batman drags an unconscious perpetrator up to a rooftop, and hangs him upside down with his eyes covered. When the bad guy wakes up, Batman begins to question him, and then uncovers the guy’s eyes. Hundreds of feet above the city, the bad guy starts to scream in terror, prompting our hero to ruminate smugly about how much fun he’s having.

Last year, in the film Olympus Has Fallen, the American agent played by Gerard Butler stabbed a North Korean bad guy in the knee to get him to talk. The audience at the preview I attended cheered enthusiastically.

Last weekend at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Sarah Palin declared to an enthusiastic audience that the current administration is too nice to jihadists.

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The Irreverent, Allegorical, Satirical, Psychedelic Opus That is Closure in Moscow’s Pink Lemonade.

Journey deep down the rabbit hole with Closure in Moscow and their allegorical, psychedelic opus that’s soaked in a perfectly balanced brine technology and satire.

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pink lemonadeThere’s no group of creatives that has it tougher than today’s musicians. Their craft is exceedingly simple to steal, consume, judge, then cast aside like yesterday’s Hot n’ Ready crust (what this shockingly red handed dork who looks like he went straight from a wedding to reviewing a 5 dollar pizza doesn’t tell you is that it’s the most inexcusable food of all time).

To be fair, we have a right to be skeptical. The vast majority of today’s music is formulaic, predictable, shallow, devoid of any deeper meaning and often crafted for the sole purpose of grabbing the attention of the nearest industry turd. Then there are bands like my guests, Closure in Moscow.

Closure has always leaned toward the “all-in” approach with their music, but their latest release, Pink Lemonade, pushes the chips forward like nothing I’ve ever heard before.Read the rest

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Communing with the Muse, Letting History be its Sexy Self and Coping with Tragedy. With Philosopher, Author and Top-Notch Human, Daniele Bolelli

Via Midwest Real
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Daniele Bolelli“Once you lose attachment to how you want things to be because you realize you don’t control anything, there’s a curiously liberating aspect of that. I’ve always been a control freak, I’ve always felt that if I try hard enough, everyone I love will be kept safe and everything will be okay. Being shown, in such brutal terms, that that’s simply not the way it works, in someways, it messed me up.  I’ve been through hell, but on another level, if you pile up so much tragedy, it either destroys you, or you just start laughing about it. Because at the end of the day, no one gets out alive.” Daniele Bolelli

When a certain type of person achieves monetary success and notoriety, one of their first moves is to cultivate some sort of bullshit persona.  I’m talking a VIP, tinted window, sunglasses on indoors set of behaviors.  What exactly is that?  I’ll tell you, it’s fear.… Read the rest

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When Titans Attack The Kingdom Of Pop Culture

attack on titanAre you a fan of Attack on Titan? No? Hurry up before you’re the last person on the planet who isn’t. Adi Tantimedh describes the manga/anime sensation at Bleeding Cool:

I could have sworn I wrote about Attack on Titan last year when It began to take off, but now that it’s really taken off as a global pop culture phenomenon, it’s worth looking at it again.

I suppose I should summarise the plot for people who don’t know it. The story is set in an unspecified quasi-medieval era, possible the future, where the world’s dwindling human populations live in walled cities under constant attack from giant humanoid monsters called Titans that threaten to wreck their cities and eat them all. Their only defense is an army of specially-trained recruits whose life expectancy is unsurprisingly short. What sets the latest generation apart is the emergence of a new weapon that may be a trump card, more radical and ruthless strategies and, at last, a push to uncover the mystery of the Titans and their origins and the possibility of ending the war once and for all.

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Utopia Through Digital Cooperation, Bitcoin and a Little Bit of Gin. Featuring Jeffrey Tucker

PIC: Philafrenzy (PD)

PIC: Philafrenzy (PD)

Via Midwest Real

“You can look at the historical trajectory.  From a technological point of view, we’ve gone to ever-more aggregated collectives… And now, in the last 15 years we’ve seen this great innovation of open source distributed networks and peer-to-peer relationships that distribute power equally… Bitcoin fits into this because it’s the ultimate peer-to-peer monetary system.  You don’t have to depend on some powerful third party… You just take the power on your own and possess it and own it and control your life, and that’s what we all want.” – Jeffrey Tucker

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My Brain has Melted- Author and High-Ranking Freemason Robert W. Sullivan Blasts a Torrent of Hidden Knowledge Into Your Ears.

OMG, THEY'RE TOTES WATCHING US RIGHT NOW

OMG, THEY’RE TOTES WATCHING US RIGHT NOW!

Author and 32nd degree Freemason, Robert W. Sullivan discusses the influence of ancient mysteries, ceremonies, sages and astral bodies on the very foundation of America.

I remember it well- the first time I heard the phrase “Freemason”.  Sure, in hindsight, it came from an uneducated idiot at a college party, but it was enough to make me rush to Google for enlightenment.  My 20-year-old brain couldn’t believe what it had read.  Masons seemed to be the stuff of fiction.  A shadowy cabal of powerful men linked to basically every major event that lead to the establishment of the United States.  It was well known- George Washington, Ben Franklin and and a slew of other founding fathers we worship were members of this secretive fraternal order shrouded in creepy symbols, weird phrases and secret handshakes.  How could I not have known this?  Then I came across the claims that masons were devil worshipers, prayed to idols and practiced black magic.
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McGruff Crime Dog Actor Busted For Drugs, Guns

Pic: USMC (CC)

Pic: USMC (CC)

Imagine a story reporting the death of Ronald McDonald by a Big Mac-induced myocardial infarction, (known commonly as a “Big Mac Attack”).

VIA First Coast News

John Russell Morales, 41, an actor who once played the crime-fighting cartoon bloodhound, has been sentenced to nearly two decades behind bars after pleading guilty to possessing 1,000 marijuana plants and a cache of nearly 30 weapons — including a grenade launcher and thousands of ammunition rounds.

Morales was arrested in 2011 after Galveston, Texas, police and drug-sniffing dogs — real dogs, that is — stopped him for speeding, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kusin, who later prosecuted the case.

Authorities discovered diagrams of two indoor pot-growing operations and an abundance of marijuana seeds in Morales’ Infinity, according to the Houston Chronicle newspaper.

Keep reading.

 

 

 

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Pete Seeger As Media Maker and Critic

Pete Seeger NYWTS 2Pete Seeger, my American idol, was a great singer, songsmith. Troubadour and progressive voice. His death was celebrated with tributes in leading newspapers the world over.

What’s less well known is that Seeger wanted to be a newspaperman, but thanks to his unique skills, deep talent and incredible artistry, he actually “covered” the world in ways that went above and beyond what appeared in much of the media.

He was ahead of the News with the Times never quite able to catch up. He touched hearts as well as heads.

At the same time, he sang about the media with an edge that didn’t win him many friends in outlets that treated him as an eccentric, not a major cultural voice.
Here’s a song he liked to sing, written by Vern Partlow, and reported on by the Guardian, safely outside the USA.

“Oh, a newspaperman meets such interesting people
He knows the lowdown (now it can be told);

I’ll tell you quite reliably off the record,

About some charming people I have known.

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The Psychedelic Christian Radio of Pastor John Rydgren

rydrenFeel the need for some old time religion on this Christmas Day? The best delivery method may be the bizarre late-'60s psychedelic Christian radio programming of John Rydgren. WFMU writes:
Heading into the Summer of Love, Pastor John Rydgren was the crafty head of the TV, Radio and Film Department of the American Lutheran Church. The straight-looking Rydgren created a daily radio show called Silhouette in which he became the reassuring, resonant-voiced Hippy for God. Rydgren wrote, announced and programmed Silhouette, taking his musical and cultural cues from The Electric Prunes, Herb Alpert and the cover of Time (Is God Dead?), with a vocal delivery that was straight out of the school of breathy baritone radio seduction. New York's WABC-FM picked up Silhouette on a daily basis, but Rydgren and the American Lutheran Church aggressively syndicated the show beyond New York, and in that effort, they issued a double LP in 1967.
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Examining Natural Disasters

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 7th, currently stands at 5,500 people.  Haiyan was the fourth strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded and is the deadliest in Philippine history (the second-deadliest was Tropical Storm Thelma, which killed around 5,080 people in 1991).  To compare, here are some mortality figures from other large-scale natural disasters that have taken place in recent history.

Typhoon Bopha, Philippines, December 2012 – 1,146 dead
Hurricane Sandy, U.S Eastern Seaboard, October 2012 – 286 dead
Earthquake and Tsunami in East Japan, March 2011 – 15,800 dead
Earthquake in Haiti, January 2010 – 159,000 dead
Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast, August 2008 – 1,833 dead
Earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan and India, October 2005 – 100,000 dead
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, December 2004 – 250,000 dead

In addition to the number of victims, there are certainly many other factors to consider when assessing the impact that natural disasters have on humanity.  The magnitude of a disaster can be measured in absolute terms, such as the aforementioned mortality rate, as well as the physical extent of the area affected, the volume of infrastructure destroyed, and the financial cost of reconstruction.

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