Sunday, July 26, 2015


Sex, Sensationalism, and Single young people. They don't make TV shows like they use to. Wink, wink!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Remakes of old movies are the rave this summer. Now that raises the question of what will be the rave of future summers. In other words, what will be remade or retro in the future? The answer to this is complex. So much that one may ask  if our current obsession with the past will still exist? What, you may ask am I talking about here? Well, let me explain. In the past we did not have limitless television stations. The sentiment was evident as early as 1992 when Bruce Springsteen released the song "57 Channels and Nothing On". Whether his song was about really having so many channels and choices that there is a lack of any with particular value or that the channels represent the many materialistic luxuries that our society is so focused on that we become shallow and our lives empty remains. But if we go with the first notion, then we can relate here to what the Boss is trying to say. What is happening is that America, and the world for that matter, has lost its collectivity.
In the Seventies, CBS ruled Saturday nights with its schedule line up of "All In The Family", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "The Bob Newhart Show", and "The Carol Burnett Show". There was no Tivo, Hulu, or even VCRs then. If you wanted to see these shows, you had to tune in at the same time (on each time zone, of coarse). But that is lost now. Now with the avalanche of a million channel stations and numerous internet TV outlets, viewership is no longer a collective cultural experience.
In another example, people remember where they were when they saw the last episode of the television series MASH. In 1983, that episode drew close to 106 million viewers and remained the most widely watched broadcast in US history until 2010 when it was surpassed by the Superbowl. Now, besides mega sports events, there is rarely a collective experience so big. In a way, the mass diversity of choices has also segmented the family to a degree. In the past, usually a family would have a single television set or watch a popular show on one main television set. That, in a way, brought the family unit together and provided a shared experience for everyone. That still exists today, but certainly not the the same level.
So, in many ways, the fact that the options were limited, the shared experiences and commonality was numerous. It even happened with other facets of pop culture. For instance, in the early Eighties, the video game Pacman was so popular that it transcended age and racial differences. Even if your grandfather did not play it, he sure knew about it. Pacman was iconic and a shared cultural phenomenon. What video games are now doing that?
Fad and trends in pop culture have shaped our cultural collectivity in the past. Now, that can change as fads and trends become so many, so diverse, and so fragmented. But there is another shared collectivity in the United States right now. And that is a shared collective struggle in finance and economics. Yes, this long American downward spiral has created struggle as a common fact to many. Your family doctor, your kid's teacher, and your plumber all share it together. Thus, if common pop cultural phenomenons won't have enough juice to bind us together, our mutual struggle for money will. It is becoming common to most.


"I Got Five On It" by Luniz was one of the biggest songs in the summer of 1995. For better or worst, this song with a potent  catchy base line is one hundred percent about marijuana. Well after 20 years, the verdict is in and marijuana is legal in certain states. Did the pop culture in the past, oh, twenty five years and mainly in the hip hop industry help sway this legislation?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Around 20 years ago, in the summer of 1995, the song "Kiss From A Rose" from one of those Batman movie's became the number one song and a formidable balled for many years to come.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


In soon time, Caitlyn Jenner is going to have a reality show called "I Am Cait". The show is primed to be  a series documentary that follows her life as a transgender. For the future viewers that watch the show and, especially,  for those having a gender identity crisis and are seeking inspiration from the show, I have one thing to say, BEWARE! Why? What we term now as "reality TV" began in the early nineties with the MTV show, The Real World. Here MTV took random young people and put them in a house and taped them while documenting the issues they were  facing in their lives. The show was a novelty for that time but found success and the performers on the show were paid dirt cheap. TV found a new formula. The rest of the Nineties saw a plethora of new reality shows as this became America's new obsession. But this overdone motif remained throughout the early millennium all the way to the present. Now everyone and their mothers have a reality show and mega celebrities like the Kardashians have reached Trump status by just having their lives recorded.

The problem here lies in the old adage that viewers influence whats in the media but also, vice versa, that the media influences the viewers. This is what's at play here. The reason is that because very little about reality is actually reality. The stories are all scripted as are the roles of the characters. And some people buy into this false reality. At least in the past, entertainment influenced people without the false pretense of being real. Sitcoms were just that, sitcoms.

The issue of gender benders in the media is not a new phenomenon either. There have been many gender benders in the history of our pop culture. Some names that come to mind are David Bowie and the early rise of glam rock in the Seventies, Boy George of Culture Club in the Eighties, and Rupaul, a cross dresser who made a name for himself, along with music videos and a his own show, in the early nineties. In those times, these androgynous celebrities were taken as just that, celebrities. The general population did not focus on their personal struggles. The stars, themselves, profited from their external flamboyance without trying to dive into their own histories and reasons of why they were uncomfortable in the bodies they were born into.

All that is in the past now. With Caitlyn Jenner, we have an influencing celebrity who is actually now a transgender. But, the reality of his sex change and the influence it has over others who are thinking about a sex change is going to be portrayed in an arena of false reality. The dangers of this is that people can be fooled into thinking that surgery can solve all their problems. Many psychologists and psychiatrists agree. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to help others who have gender identity issues, maybe she should use other forums than reality TV. Maybe she can hold public workshops and group meetings, but, of coarse, these would be less profitable than a reality series. Because after all, the only thing real about reality TV is that it's on TV.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


The movie that has dominated this summer so far is obviously Jurassic World. In just a little over a month, it has grossed over 1.3 billion dollars worldwide and is currently the seventh top grossing movie of all time. But what is the verdict on this remake of an Early Nineties classic. The jury is out and the film scores an A. Why? Here are the reasons.
Check: The special and technical effects.
Check: The action
Check: A good story that is not too complicated or intertwined with government conspiracy
Check: A movie that really is worth seeing in 3D
Check: Good number references to the original Jurassic Park
Check: Good character development
Check: Story involves some coming of age themes from some of the main characters
Check: There is some hint of romance in the story, but it is just enough not to be cheesy
Check: Albeit some specific details, the story does adhere to some scientific possibilities

For all these reasons, this huge mega block buster is still a must see for this summer.