Tag Archives | Pop Culture

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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Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants In China

Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:

China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.

Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned.

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Connecticut Town To Hold Mass Burning Of Violent Video Games, Films, And Music

Connecticut makes progress in the war on fictional violence. The Guardian reports:

A Connecticut community is to hold an amnesty of violent video games in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Newtown. Organizers Southington SOS plan to offer gift certificates in exchange for donated games, which will be burned. The group, a coalition of local organisations, argues that violent games and films desensitize children to “acts of violence”.

The video game amnesty will take place on 12 January in Southington, a 30-minute drive east from Newtown. The town of Southington has provided a dumpster, organisers said, where violent video games, CDs or DVDs will be collected.

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The Internet and Counterculture (A Retrospective)

As all the chatter about the “2012 end of the world” dissolves back into the white noise from whence it came, we are still presented a unique vantage point. We can look at once backward and forward on cultural trends, cresting and falling so quickly that in mere decades we can see patterns emerging that may have taken hundreds of years to arise before the advent of digital communication.

Of course, there’s no way a thorough investigation of any trend is going to happen here in the length of an introduction, within the time it takes me to sip my way through a mocha. But that is telling of these times as well. As Palahniuk observed through the mouthpiece of Tyler Durden in his seminal book Fight Club, we are all “single serving size friends, here.” (And is it also a sign of counter cultural mentality that a reference to a book and movie just a decade out of the gates might be considered hackneyed or out of date?) Our observations must also be single serving size, crammed into a 140 character tweet, or a 350 word blog post.… Read the rest

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Hit Pakistani Pop Song About Deadly Drone Strikes

Dance songs reflecting the new reality. The Guardian provides context:
In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan's tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone. [It's] a sign of how the routine hunting down and killing of militants by unmanned CIA planes has leached into the popular imagination. The repeated chorus: "My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack". The hit for singer Sitara Younis follows her success last year with another love ballad, which warns a besotted man to keep his distance: "Don't chase me, I'm an illusion, a suicide bomb." Maas Khan Wesal, a Pashtu music veteran who wrote the accompanying music, said the song had proved popular because it reflected the lives of Pashtu speakers on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
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What ‘Hair’ Can Teach Us About Current Social Justice Struggles

Agnieszka Karoluk writes at Diatribe Media:

I was about 11 or 12 years old and my father was so excited to finally let me watch his favorite movie, Hair (based off the 1968 Broadway musical of the same title). The opening scene shows a young man from farmland Oklahoma saying goodbye to his father as he gets on a bus to New York City. What follows is a psychedelic story of rebellion, love, loss, sex, drugs and every human emotion you can imagine all packed into a musical frenzy of hippies and yuppies, military men and hustlers.

For those of you who have never seen it, the young Oklahoman travels to New York City because he was chosen in the draft and needed to report to the U.S. Army base. On his first day in the city, he meets a group of hippies: Wolf, Hud, Janie and Berger. Along with these four, Claude Bukowski gets into all sorts of mischief and mishaps including a few drug-induced adventures and dreams, falling in love with a daughter of a high-society man and a few ethical dilemmas.

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It Was 50 years Ago Today: The North Of England Taught the Band to Play…

Picture: US LOC (PD)

The 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ UK release of “Love Me Do” is being celebrated by a number of media outlets here including The BBC and The Guardian. The latter carries a great article which reprints a 1963 review of the UK’s first home grown contemporary global pop phenomenon:

Written across the front of St George’s Hall, Liverpool (a building dear to the heart of John Betjeman), are huge chalked letters declaring: “I Love the Beatles.” There is hardly anything cryptic about this declaration to anyone who has ever viewed Juke Box Jury, listened to Pick of the Pops, or fathered a teenage daughter, for in the last six months the Beatles have become the most popular vocal-instrumental group in Britain, and as everyone with any pretension towards mass culture should know, the Beatles are from Liverpool.

In fact, there is a connection between Liverpool and the four young musicians that seems to go deeper than pride for hometown boys; something, perhaps deep in the mysterious well of English and especially northern working-class sentimentality.

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The Music Of L. Ron Hubbard

It's little known that L. Ron Hubbard left behind a body of musical compositions, lyrics, and sound experiments intended as a soundtrack for the Battlefield Earth series and to promote the ethos of Scientology. John Travolta, teenybopper heartthrob Leif Garrett, and Frank Stallone, all heard singing below, were part of a Scientology super-group who recorded an album of Hubbard-penned songs in 1986. An odder, alternate version of "Road to Freedom" features L. Ron himself crooning in a low, booming voice, with the track retitled "L'Envoi, Thank You for Listening." Two stanzas include: You are not mind or chemicals / You don't even have a form / You're in a trap of senseless lies / It's time to be reborn. / To you there is no limit / Knowledge is your key / Take the route of auditing / And once again be free.
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