Tag Archives | Pop Culture

Sharknado: Return of the B-Movie

Sharknado_posterB-movies are back with a vengeance, thanks to social media sensation Sharknado, reports the Guardian:

Sharknado, pundemic on Twitter, has restored the B-movie back to its rightful place in American life: cult summer blockbuster and universal inside joke. To join in you don’t need a TV or even to have seen the movie. You only must appreciate absurdity (and tolerate portmanteaus).

In case the title left anything to doubt, a quick summary of the film: a tornado spews sharks into Los Angeles. One lands in Tara Reid’s pool, another bounces off a barstool. Helicopters throw bombs at the weather. A character named ‘Fin’, played by a Chippendales dancer, leaps into the open jaws of a projectile Great White and chainsaws his way out of its rubber belly, screaming. The tagline reads: “Enough said”.

SyFy only pulled 1.4 million viewers – below average for their original movies and over 6 million fewer than watched The Big Bang Theory on CBS that night, yet as Vulture put it, “Sharknado won the Internet Thursday”, with over 5,000 tweets a minute at the height of the online frenzy.

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Rift Amnesia– How Close Are We to Inventing the Matrix?

(Image Credit- theverge.com)

(Image Credit- theverge.com)

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Oculus Rift reaction videos floating around the Internet.  In case you haven’t— Oculus Rift is essentially the first accessible, high quality set of stereoscopic virtual reality goggles.  Typical reactions to trying the goggles include awe, disbelief and mild confusion about voices in the room, due to the user’s brain being tricked into thinking they’re actually in the virtual space they’re perceiving.  If our brains are so easily tricked into accepting a new reality within minutes, it seems plausible that we aren’t too far from a virtual world so real, seductive and full of sensory stimulation that we might actually forget we’re in it, or just not want to leave it.

Admittedly, adorning a nice VR headset is not enough to seamlessly integrate us into an electronic world, but coupled with a technology known as a BCI (brain-computer interface), it might be.  The idea of a brain-computer interface may sound like straight up Science Fiction, but scientists have actually been experimenting with, and researching BCIs thoroughly since the 1970’s.  Animal and human subjects fitted with BCIs have been able to manipulate cursors, games, implants, objects and yes, three-dimensional VR environments in a shockingly wide variety of ways just by thinking about it.  How is this possible?  As it turns out, the human brain has quite a knack for changing and figuring things out on the fly, often with basically no learning curve.  Scientists call this phenomenon “neuroplasticity.”  Take, for example the case of 14-year-old teenage boy fitted with a subdural (beneath his skull) BCI.… Read the rest

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Bret Easton Ellis on the ‘Reign of the Gay Magical Elves’

EllisBret Easton Ellis, author of modern classics Less Than Zero and American Psycho, writes about the lionizing of celebrities who announce they are gay for OUT:

Was I the only gay man of a certain demo who experienced a flicker of annoyance in the way the media treated Jason Collins as some kind of baby panda who needed to be honored and praised and consoled and—yes—infantilized by his coming out on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Within the tyrannical homophobia of the sports world, that any man would come out as gay (let alone a black man) is not only an LGBT triumph but also a triumph for pranksters everywhere who thrilled to the idea that what should be considered just another neutral fact that is nobody’s business was instead a shock heard around the world, one that added another jolt of transparency to an increasingly transparent planet. It was an undeniable moment and also extremely cool.

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Terence McKenna Featured On Gucci Mane’s New Single

Terence McKenna may be due for a posthumous appearance on the hip-hop charts, as a sample of the philosopher leads off one of the songs on the new Trap God 2 mixtape from Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane. Gucci is one of the leading proponents of the so-called "trap" style that has been the dominant sound in rap for the past year or so, and the McKenna quote serves as a manifesto of sorts. The track in question is the work of star producer Lex Luger:
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Boston Police Pose As Indie Rockers Online In Hilarious Fashion

“Whats the 411 on the local music show tonight?” …Life imitates art as authorities attempt, very poorly, to infiltrate and break up youth subculture by creating imaginary electronic personas, Slate reveals:

Boston police are finding out as their bungling efforts to infiltrate the underground rock scene online are being exposed. A recently passed nuisance control ordinance has spurred a citywide crackdown on house shows—concerts played in private homes, rather than in clubs. The police, it appears, are posing as music fans online to ferret out intel on where these DIY shows are going to take place.

This week the St. Louis band Spelling Bee posted a screencap of emails from an account that they believe was used by the police in a sting before their recent Boston show. It reads like an amazing parody of what you might imagine a cop trying to pose as a young punk would look like:

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Virginia Rapper To Be Charged With Attempting To Sacrifice Friend To The Illuminati

Do anything for fame? The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

A Henrico County judge Thursday scheduled a two-day trial in June for an aspiring rap star who, according to a prosecutor, apparently believed that he had to sacrifice his friend to reach stardom.

“You are my sacrifice,” El-Amin [was] quoted as saying before he allegedly fired a shot toward his friend’s head inside a Henrico home that was to become a music studio. The trial will delve into the hip-hop music culture and the notion that a secret society called the Illuminati has control over the success of some performers.

It was the belief that a sacrifice had to occur in order to join the Illuminati that allegedly incited El-Amin. Investigators recovered more than a pound of marijuana from the Athens Avenue home, according to the search warrant, as well as literature dealing with the Illuminati and its alleged connection to the music industry.

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David Byrne’s Multiple-Personality Interview Of Himself

In this media moment lost in the archives of history, Talking Heads front man and weirdo David Byrne organized an interview regarding his band, creative ambitions, and innermost desires. The idea was to adhere to a format "like 60 Minutes on acid", with the questions being asked by female David Byrne, elderly David Byrne, lounge lizard David Byrne, and other disturbing characters:
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The Beatles Imagined As Mayan Gods

Can the divide between pop culture and ancient wisdom be crossed? A particularly strange episode of the late-sixties Beatles cartoon series features the Fab Four journeying "to the inner world" and becoming extraterrestrial gods of a civilization resembling the Mayans:
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Headliner Lupe Fiasco Kicked Off Stage At Pre-Inauguration Concert After Making Antiwar Statements

Watch as security guards swarm the stage, cutting short Lupe Fiasco's set at Washington D.C.'s Hamilton Live Theater Sunday night. The rapper had been invited to headline the concert celebrating Obama's second inauguration. The offending lyrics likely were: "Gaza Strip was getting bombed / Obama didn't say shit / That's why I ain't vote for him / I'm part of the problem / My problem is I'm peaceful"
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Illuminati Symbolism In A Disney Cartoon Series

The new-ish Disney Channel animated children's vehicle Gravity Falls appears to have been greatly influenced by a conspiracy buff, with Freemasonry and occult references hidden throughout, and even cyphered messages hidden in the theme song. Some see it as more sinister than fun. Via Vigilant Citizen:
The same set of symbols – those of the ruling elite – are being permeated across popular culture. A blatant example is Disney’s new show Gravity Falls, a “quirky and endearing” cartoon about 12-year old twins spending summer with their Great Uncle Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon.
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