Old Movies

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Now that my cable provider has gotten ahold of a batch of old Samuel Goldwyn movies, no doubt at a bargain price, I have had the opportunity in recent weeks to see some real classics, like The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and The Little Foxes (1941), for example. But classic or not, these films are worth watching as anthropological treasure droves, telling us more about America than a thousand books, for what they reveal are the unspoken assumptions of American life. However, there is another side to them as well, an ironic side. The characters in these films have no idea what is just around the corner.

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The Layman’s Holiday

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Happy Fourth of July, Readers!

I hope you’re all enjoying hot dogs and lemonade in bright blue backyard pools, or maybe you’re hanging out on the beach with your families and friends, ready to watch the sky light up with red, white, and blue fireworks. I’ll be enjoying a long, glamorous night of work at my local frozen-yogurt shop, so please drink a beer or two for me! As I have nothing to do but sit and imagine all the fun I’m missing tonight, I find myself wondering why this once highly revered and meaningful holiday has been reduced to a reputation of pretty, colored fire in the sky, beer brat hangovers, and repetitive country music.

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Forever 27

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April 5th marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s membership to that infamous 27 club. It is a club with a large musical membership, a club many seem to think only a few well known names have joined. The reality is that this exclusively tragic club has a lot more members than the likes of Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin and Winehouse.

Alexander Levy was a talented Brazilian composer and the first member of the 27 club.

Levy was born in 1864 in Sao Paulo. He brought a Latin fusion of classical music to the fore but, in 1892 before anymore of his greatness could be realised, he died at the age of 27. His death occurred suddenly and the cause is still unknown.

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All American Tragedy: What the American Pie Franchise Tells Us about Failing in Sex, Education and Work

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In 1999, the first American Pie movie gave audiences a fresh and honest perspective of teenage high school life. With its fresh-faced cast of young, wholesome, and moderately handsome geeks, it portrayed teenage life in a positivity that was not present in some of the more shoe-gazing high school dramas of the nineties. American Pie offered flawed, yet believable characters, and situations of humiliation and expectance that every kid in America faced.

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The Absolute Nothing of Binge-watching: A Symptom of an Ascetic Ideal

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To fully understand the phenomenon of binge-watching, it would be best to take a look at where we are today: our late capitalism, one might notice, is distinguished by an unparalleled permissiveness, one that is taken to a hedonistic degree. Now, the rather orthodox critique of this is that, in this all-permissive era, children and young adults are growing up without any set limits, without any substantial prohibitions, and this lack drives them wild with anxiety and discontent and other unpleasant feelings. Frustrated with the lack of a discernible limit in their lives, kids and young adults alike are being driven from one excess to the next, in search of a firm limit, in search of that symbolic authority that will guarantee both stability and, real enjoyment. READ MORE

North Korea in Fiction and as Fiction

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It is perhaps easy for Hollywood to portray North Korea as a fictional enemy when so much of North Korea’s actual history and culture has been fictionalised by its very own leadership. Kim Jong-Un, the young and portly current leader is the third in a dynastic line of Kims to lead the country under the ideology of Juche (loosely translated to mean self-reliance), and to maintain a hard-line and xenophobic attitude to other countries and other ideologies. His father, the late Kim Jong-Il, was perhaps the most prolific author of much of North Korea’s recent fictional history. His own father Kim Il-Sung led the country out of the Korean War and into its first decades of early prosperity and it was Kim Il-Sung who adapted Stalinist and Confucian thinking to his own Juche ideology. It was the son Kim Jong-Il who propelled the cult of personality that surrounded them both into the homes and lives of the North Korean people, via the strong use of social-realist propaganda and state owned media, which pumps anti-western sentiment to the masses and proposes that the country needs nothing and has nothing to envy of the rest of the world.

Fuck Authenticity: The Sordid Life And Subtle Gestures of the Sex Pistols

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At the age of fourteen, to the chagrin of my parents, I dyed my already bleach-blonde hair bright green. I did so not out of some misguided notion that the color was flattering for my skin tone (it wasn’t), but because after reading John Lydon’s autobiography Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, and learning that green was the first color he had dyed his hair, I felt it was the only way forward with my life. Like so many newly-minted teenagers, I latched onto the Sex Pistols as soon as I heard the opening chords to “Holidays in the Sun.” I found myself enamored by the Pistols’ sneering postures, their declarations of absolute laziness, and with Rotten’s snotty, ragged voice. Believing I had found my calling, I formed a band with my best friend and did everything I could to sound more English.

Stop the City: Identity, Protest, and the Punks Who Occupied London’s Financial District in 1983

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In the wake of 1982’s notoriously specious Falklands War, in the ominous shadow of a nuclear stalemate, against the backdrop of the strikes and closures that resulted from Margaret Thatcher’s battle for privatization, the UK saw a new face of identity-based protest politics. Punk Rock, the symbolic disruption of popular culture that had brought glam rudely into the streets in the late 1970s, had begun to take itself seriously. From …continue…

Whose Hands are We In? Banksy’s Anonymous Success

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“Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a fucking sharp knife to it.” – Banksy Over the years, Banksy has cultivated a reputation, a persona even, based upon a surprisingly small amount of personal information. This combination of international popularity and lasting anonymity raises many questions, such as; How does a purported “guerrilla artist” have a spokesperson? Should he be considered a serial vandal or a modern philosopher? …continue…