Archives: [Pop Culture]
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This is the archive page for the category [Pop Culture]; below you should see headlines and summaries of all entries found here on the subject. Click the appropriate link at each to read the entire entry.

My love/hate relationship with JJ Abrams; and six disturbing realizations from my recent binge-watching of "Frasier." | February 7, 2016
Today, two pop-culture mini-essays: One concerning my love/hate relationship with frustrating genre director JJ Abrams; and the other, disturbing realizations about the show "Frasier" after recently rewatching the entire eleven-year run in a binge at Netflix.

The Jens Lekman Incident. | October 9, 2011
In which our humble narrator attends his first rock concert in a decade, buys his very first online ticket, and has a crying fit in the middle of a Jens Lekman show, over realizing that his decade-long "karmic time of penance" for being such an asshole when younger is finally at its end.

Ghaddafi, Sheen and the Collective American Punishment. | March 6, 2011
What does Charlie Sheen have to do with civil war in Libya, the lasting legacy of Bush, payday loan centers in bad neighborhoods, France in the 1950s, and how the economic meltdown is all your fault? Click through to find out. J'accuse!

Regarding eucatastrophes and Kevin Smith. | January 25, 2011
Today: The apocalypse is here -- JASON PETTUS NOW OWNS A CREDIT CARD. Click through for all the details, and why it reminds me of JRR Tolkien's concept of the "eucatastrophe," a suddenly great thing that happens to us for no rational reason. Plus: Did you know that Kevin Smith is now producing a new podcast episode every night of the week? Read what I think about it if you want.

What the electronica industry can teach us about the future of literature. | July 5, 2010
Today, some thoughts on what I've been noticing recently within the world of electronic musicians, and what it may teach us about the future of something as old-fashioned as literature, especially when it comes to digital books and the eventual fate of intellectual property in general.

The exotic appeal of crappy British television. | April 24, 2010
I finally did it -- I finally figured out how to get the BBC "iPlayer" streaming service to work on my American computer. Today, some thoughts on why I wanted to try it, what I discovered, and the surprisingly exotic thrills of crappy low-budget British quiz shows.

Patience, Cane Boy! | April 18, 2010
For those who don't know, I've actually been using a cane for the last nine months because of my bicycle accident last summer; today I get a bit into the frustrations that have come with this, and the Zen-like lessons I've learned. Plus: Trolls! Real Dolls! Nazis! Teabaggers! Asperger's! Or in other words, just another day on the internet.

He's alive! Barely. | March 28, 2010
My first update in nine months! Today, details on why that is, mostly because of a bad bicycle accident I was in last summer; and also some updates on what's been going on with me the last nine months, including my recent decision to try my hand for the first time at children's literature.

Time again for a little fortune-telling. | July 10, 2009
A reader asked me recently when I was going to do another journal entry on futurism; and that's all it took for me to sit down and write it. Today, detailed thoughts on what I think is coming in America's next "era" (25 to 75 years), "age" (marked by technological change), "period" (marked by philosophical change), and "epoch" (as in we're in the middle of the "Scientific" one right now).

Is "Lost" the "Ulysses" of television? | April 5, 2009
I'm trying to get more work these days as a futurist; and that means among other things trying to come up with my own quirky theory about the arts, that I too can write a cultishly popular book about and get invited to South by Freaking Southwest too. Today, first thoughts about that theory, and how it applies to the remarkable developments within the television industry in the last decade.

Another Saturday, another afternoon of global cultural inhalation. | January 25, 2009
Yesterday I found myself once again doing what I've done on numerous pleasurable Saturdays -- making my way through thousands of random photos and indie-rock songs and blog entries and podcast episodes from amateur artists around the world. Why? And why so pleasurable? Today, some thoughts on the subject.

Regarding the demise of television and my new "Grand Unified Theory of the Arts." | January 22, 2009
I haven't really talked about this online yet, but in recent years (since opening my arts center) I've been slowly coming up with a new "Grand Unified Theory" about the arts, that every medium in history has actually gone through a remarkably similar series of steps in terms of how it's perceived and used by the general public. Today, my first detailed thoughts on the matter, as it pertains to the history of the television industry.

I confess: I've been obsessed with the Beijing Olympic Games. | August 23, 2008
Yes, it's true; like millions of other Americans, I seem to be hooked on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in a way I never have with any other Olympics. Why? Well, that's complicated. Click through for more.

The suburbs. The horror. | August 14, 2008
A recent walk by an abandoned fast-food place in my neighborhood, plus thinking about a recent article in the New Republic that's been getting a lot of attention, gets me thinking of a nightmarish future world centered around half-abandoned, poor-filled suburbs. Click through for more.

I created a new phrase: "Global Singular Disorder." | August 25, 2007
For those who don't know, my new role this summer as the owner of an arts center has had me ingesting massive amounts of user-created content around the world; and doing such a thing, I'm convinced, has started profoundly affecting the way I perceive the world itself, as well as my role within it. Today, lots more details on this enigmatic statement.

Lynch Triumphant: Or, an Apologia for Surrealism, inspired by a recent viewing of "Inland Empire." | March 23, 2007
Today, some thoughts concerning the artistic genre known as Surrealism, and how David Lynch's newest film "Inland Empire" fits into the genre's history. Warning: film-snob dorkiness ahead!

Regarding 'Obamania' and the forgotten moderate majority. | December 15, 2006
O-bam-a! O-bam-a! The moderate liberal senator, and perhaps America's first black President, seems to be on the tips of everyone's tongues these days; but why? Today, my thoughts on the subject, and why this is arguably more a cry against fascism than support for an individual politician.

My morning with Tatum Reed. | October 20, 2006
I hung out with a porn star this morning -- Tatum Reed of Popwhore, that is, who both films adult movies and writes a confessional blog about the process. Today, my thoughts about the encounter, and how it relates to my own past. Plus: Is MC Router the nerdiest fucking nerd who ever existed?

The unexpected pleasures of being a virtual jaded reporter. | September 21, 2006
So, a strange thing is happening to me these days; that just as one of my creative projects suffers a failure, a new one is taking off in a BIG way. Today, lots of thoughts about being the videogame Second Life's newest jaded cultural reporter.

Do satirical geniuses necessarily have to be dicks? | March 28, 2006
I've been watching a lot of "South Park" for the first time recently, as regular readers know, and have discovered something remarkable - that on top of all the poop jokes, it also might be the smartest, angriest satire this side of Swift himself. But then Poppy Z. Brite reminded me of another thing, too - that Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the show's creators, are real dicks. Does one necessarily have to come with the other? Today, my thoughts. Plus: A new artist in France I recently stumbled across, because of, that you should check out too.

I've been thinking about Jesus recently. | March 23, 2006
I've been making my way recently through my "read this stuff" box here at home, and in particular a series of lectures by Jewish intellectuals, concerning Christian-Jewish relations. It's had me thinking a lot recently about the subject of Jesus - if he was a real man, what kind of man he might've been, why the Christians and Jews had such a falling-out over him in the first place. Today, my thoughts. Plus: I think I've finally sold my mom on the idea of my arts center, thank God; and, hopefully it'll finally sink in with a bunch of new people today - that I'm holding a reader fundraiser right now. Only $195 to go!

A mysterious hero from my past suddenly re-surfaces. | March 16, 2006
This website has always been the cause of a lot of great random emails, and why look at the one I just got yesterday; from novelist Kristin McCloy, author of a book I was really in love with in my early twenties, who just found out recently that I had been in love with the book back then. Today, some thoughts on her book, why it meant as much to me back then as it did, and how my arts center might possibly be able to help her out this coming winter. Plus: Big news with my reader fundraiser for the new Mini - $250 raised in the last two days!

Good Lord - more about Second Life! | March 15, 2006
Good Lord - my fifth day in a row of entries about the alternative-reality videogame "Second Life!" But hey, what can I say - I have yet more things to say about it! Including: an update on my reader fundraiser ($50 raised, $450 to go); more about land ownership, how to build objects, and how this all naturally affects zoning, without there having to be any laws about it; I've started talking with more Linden employees; and more on the serious, academic experiments that can be run within Second Life as well, especially by traditional academic organizations (at a steep price discount too, no less).

Random notes. | March 9, 2006
Just some random notes today, including: I finally understand how Second Life works, and I really fucking want to join now - thank you, Google Video!; a hilarious public remark recently by Kevin Smith that you absolutely must watch; yes, I was one of the lucky few that downloaded that secret Google Powerpoint presentation, that they accidentally posted, and I'll tell you a little about what it says too; something on "South Park" the other night that made me pee my pants; some thoughts about lesbians in love on el platforms; another kudo to; and it's official - I'm making my ninth attempt at quitting smoking soon.

Random notes. | March 2, 2006
Just some random notes for today, including: Why I've been out-of-sorts for the last couple of days (hint - it has to do with a federal employee and a howling dog); my birthday is this Sunday, and I still don't have any plans; an update on my quest to build a social application at; a random thought about post-hurricane New Orleans; and dude! It's the 20th anniversary of "Blue Velvet!" DON'T FUCKING LOOK AT ME!

Regarding reader feedback and "the conversation." | February 24, 2006
Okay, all this talk recently at my site about "the conversation" between companies and customers brings up a good point - how do readers of mine get thoughts, opinions and responses to me? I don't have commenting abilities here, after all. Today, a fully detailed guide to how you can do so, why I think this is much better than commenting, and how you can easily implement such a thing at your own site. Plus: Speaking of feedback, here's something to ponder - what kind of social application should I build at Ning?; and a few thoughts about Philip K. Dick and the letting-go of our childhood heroes.

Random notes - the 'sick as a dog' edition. | February 1, 2006
Random notes I've recently collected up on my Treo, this time posted while incredibly sick, including: a big correction about the "Kama Sutra: The Musical" news from yesterday; a correction about how GPS works; how much I love the new "Lost" podcast; a reader is thinking about filming one of my books; and a question - how do I put an automatic mobile detector in place here at the site?

The Mighty O strikes again. | January 30, 2006
Wow, how about that Oprah? Ripping both James Frey and his publisher on live television like that, huh? Today, a formal Apologia (that is, a written justification) for Oprah's recent behavior, and why we should all celebrate that she's out there and kicking ass. Plus: an interesting new viral-marketing idea in the arts I stumbled across in my neighborhood last night.

Those angst-filled Germans are at it again. | January 23, 2006
Oh, those angst-filled Germans are up in arms again; they're arguing over who exactly has the right to call themselves a writer in public, and to have an audience. Today, one American's outsider thoughts on the subject, based on two tours now over there myself, hanging out both those times mostly with writers and other intellectuals. Plus: thoughts on the recent "Bleak House" series on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre."

I was dreaming of the arts center again. | January 20, 2006
I admit it, I drifted off and had a dream again about my arts center: about how cool it'd be if it was open right now, so I could book this interesting series of columnists at the Chicago Tribune. Today, thoughts on why it's so important to sometimes have these dreams, even while maintaining a sense of reality about it all.

To Pluto...and Beyond! | January 18, 2006
Today: Random geeky thoughts about the new NASA mission to Pluto, set to blast off this week. Rockets ahoy! Plus: thoughts about Kappa Kappa Psi, the music fraternity of which I'm a member: why I joined in college, what kinds of fun (and trouble) we were always getting into.

Regarding novels, memoirs, and "The Truth." | January 12, 2006
Well, the recent James Frey disaster seems to at least proven one thing: that the general population really is into memoirs that much, and into novels that little, that some writers will outrageously lie just to try to tap into this audience. Today, my thoughts on why this is such a fucking shame. Plus: Winter bicycling in Chicago; using filters in Gmail; and seeing "Napolean Dynamite" for the first time.

Regarding the ARG as social experiment. | January 4, 2006
So, I've been thinking about online gaming again, mostly because of talking with Sean Stewart over the holidays (the puppetmaster behind the 2001 "Evan Chan" game I was obsessed with), as well as all the attention the game "Second Life" is getting these days. Today, some thoughts on how I might be able to break into the industry, or perhaps even start my own game at this new place called Multiverse, and how if I did that, I might start my "game" instead as an online social experiment, much like the Well did in the '80s. Plus: a small defense of snooty-pooty urban sex shops.

Odds and ends. | January 3, 2006
Random notes, including: thoughts on if 2005 really was the year blogs tipped into the mainstream, and what comes next; thoughts on Google's "ads as a whisper, not as a bullhorn" policy, and why it's been so damn successful; why in the Information Age there will be no more art movements; what's coming next to this website; and more thoughts about the bitchin' 1970s Mercury Marquis.

More random notes from St. Charles. | December 28, 2005
More random notes about how my holiday in St. Charles, Missouri is going, including: I attended two, count 'em, two family get-togethers this week; then hung out with my brother's smartass St. Louis friends (and recorded a smartass podcast episode); I discovered something cool at the CNET desktop version; my dad's students think he's 'hot;' I finally click on a Google contextual ad; and I can't stop singing along to the Smiths.

Random notes - the St. Charles, media-rich edition. | December 27, 2005
Just some short notes about how my holiday has been going this week, down here in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. This update in particular includes lots of photos and links to audio files, since I have access to my dad's laptop and WiFi connection, making it just so easy to load such media in the first place.

Viral marketing - when will the madness end? | December 23, 2005
A recent email from Microsoft's Heather Hamilton has had me contemplating a very disturbing question this week - is the Onion in fact accepting money from corporations to have their products be made fun of in their publication? Today, some thoughts on the scary and pathetic world of viral marketing.

Random notes. | December 21, 2005
Some short notes about random topics today, including: Dude, the Christian Underground is so hardcore!; a possible new way of thinking about coffeehouses; some thoughts on the recent woes Six Apart has been going through; a call for John McCain to run for President again; I've been getting into Robert Scoble recently; and a few thoughts about changing careers in your thirties.

My pathetic descent into Middle-earth. | November 3, 2005
So, I finally got to watch the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in a row, for the first time since the movies originally came out. Today, some thoughts on why the movies are just so great, why the new Star Wars movies suck so damn much, and why certain universities let people get degrees in Middle-earth studies but not Star Trek studies.

[randommedia]: "City of Destiny" report, part 3: Interview with Jonathan Messinger | August 20, 2005
An episode of my podcast [randommedia], this one part 3 of 5 of my report from the "City of Destiny" literary event at Quimby's Bookstore, Wicker Park, Chicago, organized and hosted by Katherine Hodges. Here: an interview with Jonathan Messinger, a man of many talents - a creative writer himself, and the Books editor of Time Out: Chicago, plus the host of an insanely popular literary show at the Hideout, plus the editor of a popular website as well called This Is Grand (true stories from the Chicago transit system). Whew!

Overwintering. | August 5, 2005
Today, an extended review of the play "Overwintering," being directed by my pal Alyson Lyon here in Chicago right now. Plus: pisses me off; and the latest on my autumn travel plans.

Postmodernism can really wear you down. | June 27, 2005
Just a few thoughts concerning the recent "breakup" between McSweeney's Publishing and Neal Pollack, one of its first popular authors, and why the sad story just confirms something I've been saying for years; that postmodernism really is dead.

[randommedia]: Interview with's Andrew Huff | April 29, 2005
An episode of my podcast [randommedia], this one an interview with Andrew Huff, founder and editor-in-chief of, a popular guide to Chicago hipster life. Recorded at one of the monthly Gapers Block social events, this one at Wrigleyville indie haunt Gingerman, on Clark next-door to Metro.

[randommedia]: Report by my friend Shappy of Star Wars Celebration III (part 2 of 2) | April 25, 2005
An episode of my podcast [randommedia], this one part 2 of 2 of a conversation with my friend Shappy about his recent attendance of Star Wars Celebration III in Indiana. Recorded at Funky Buddha, Grand and Milwaukee, Chicago.

[randommedia]: Report by my friend Shappy of Star Wars Celebration III (part 1 of 2) | April 25, 2005
An episode of my podcast [randommedia], this one part 1 of 2 of a conversation with my friend Shappy about his recent attendance of Star Wars Celebration III in Indiana. Recorded at Funky Buddha, Grand and Milwaukee, Chicago.

[story] You fuck like Sleater-Kinney | August 4, 2000
An online version of my 2000 story "You fuck like Sleater-Kinney," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 2000."

[story] Jedi mind trick | August 4, 1999
An online version of my 1999 story "Jedi mind trick," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1999."

[story] There's something about a girl in uniform | August 4, 1998
An online version of my 1998 story "There's something about a girl in uniform," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1998."

[story] Poems I'd write for Nike if Nike ever asked me to write poems for them | August 4, 1998
An online version of my 1998 story "Poems I'd write for Nike if Nike ever asked me to write poems for them," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1998."

[story] Lewinsky | August 4, 1998
An online version of my 1998 story "Lewinsky," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1998."

[story] Lance Burton died for your sins | August 4, 1998
An online version of my 1998 story "Lance Burton died for your sins," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1998."

[story] Blue Velvet | August 4, 1998
An online version of my 1998 story "Blue Velvet," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1998."

[story] What really happened between the end of The Empire Strikes Back and the beginning of Return of the Jedi | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "What really happened between the end of The Empire Strikes Back and the beginning of Return of the Jedi," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."

[story] Well, Steve Albini was nice to me | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "Well, Steve Albini was nice to me," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."

[story] Princess my princess | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "Princess my princess," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."

[story] An open letter to Jerry Springer | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "An open letter to Jerry Springer," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."

[story] A job I'd really like to have | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "A job I'd really like to have," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."

[story] All the dykes | August 4, 1997
An online version of my 1997 story "All the dykes," also found in the book "Chicago Stories 1997."