Articles on Pop culture

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A scene from Heathers the Musical based on the 1988 film. Kurt Sneddon

Why do we find it so hard to move on from the 80s?

Eighties culture is big, from nostalgic TV dramas to tours by ageing pop stars. But it's time for a clear-eyed assessment of the decade, which prized excess and economic rationalism along with synth pop and big hair.
Both Hamlet and ‘True Detective’‘s Rust Cohle make audiences wonder whether they’re deserving of sympathy or blame. Nick Lehr/The Conversation

In today’s most popular shows, Shakespeare’s iconic characters live on

The psychological complexity of Shakespeare's characters has rendered them timeless. Today, we see The Bard's influence in shows like 'Breaking Bad' and 'True Detective.'
Are women really each other’s worst enemies? Probably not. Everett Collection/Shutterstock

The myth that women secretly hate other women has a long history

Depictions of women bullying women are a mainstay of reality television shows, just as reports of Twitter fights between female celebrities are regular tabloid fare. It's a phenomenon with a long history.
However hard we pursue happiness, when the party’s over we must still confront the grimmer aspects of life. Shutterstock/YanLev

Is a cult of happiness leading us to lose sight of life?

We can pursue our own happiness to the exclusion of the real world, but how meaningful can that be? Far better to engage with life and both the happiness and sadness it brings along the way.
Young adult dystopian characters like Insurgent’s Tris are inspiring their female fans to shatter the glass ceiling. Lionsgate Films

Girls on fire: political empowerment in young adult dystopia

By featuring girls who buck the conventions of their world – and ours – films like Insurgent inspire fans to enact real change.
Star Trek fans were especially drawn to Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock – who showed many that it “was okay to be a nerd, that even in the future not everyone fit in, or needed to.” Sam Howzit/Flickr

One of the family: Leonard Nimoy’s impact on fandom

Star Trek fans were especially drawn to Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock – who showed many that it "was okay to be a nerd, that even in the future not everyone fit in, or needed to."
Musicians such as Amy Winehouse die young at much higher rates than the rest of the population. EPA/Andy Rain

Stairway to hell: life and death in the pop music industry

Art is a cry of distress from those who live out within themselves the destiny of humanity … Inside them turns the movement of the world; only an echo of it leaks out – the work of art Arnold Schoenberg…
Swift is privileged, as only apex predators are, with the ability to pick and choose from any (cultural) food source. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Taylor Swift is the great white shark of pop music

In the same week American rapper Nicki Minaj released Anaconda, a music video dedicated to celebrating “the butt”, US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released a video, Shake It Off, accidentally dedicated…
For Buffy fans, Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be the Slayer. Wikimedia Commons

Vampires beware: Buffy is the unslayable pop culture text

Give them enough blood and vampires keep on feeding – but give academics Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and the same phenomenon occurs. Much Ado About Whedon: The 6th Biennial Slayage Conference…
Jessica Mauboy (left) and SBS Eurovision hosts Sam Pang and Julia Zemiro. AAP Image/SBS

Aussie, Aussie, Eurovision, Oi, Oi … Oui?

And so we wait, anxiously, to see Australia at an event that celebrates the rich cultural tapestry that is the panoply of European states. Nah, who am I kidding? We’ve got a guernsey at the Eurovision…
Let’s pause to consider the rich mythology of this 75-year-old icon. James

Holy birthday, Batman! Sizing up the Caped Crusader at 75

This year the world’s most popular superhero, Batman, celebrates his 75th birthday. From inauspicious beginnings in a six-page comic to the transmedia anchor of one of the world’s largest media conglomerates…
Arctic Monkeys are certain to feature in this year’s most voted songs. AAP Image/MG Promotions

We love music: why Triple J’s Hottest 100 still rocks

Australia’s national youth station, Triple J, has come in for some criticism lately, with a spate of articles accusing it of homogenising Australian music tastes or excluding too many local acts from the…
So meme, such Doge. This guy ruled the internet in 2013.

The year of the Doge: 2013’s top meme owes it all to LOLCats

In the world of internet memes, 2013 was without doubt the Year of the Doge. Participants on Twitter, Tumblr and reddit created and circulated their own narrations of this Shiba’s fragmented internal monologue…
Go on … Idhren

In defence of the box set binge

In David Foster Wallace’s epic Infinite Jest, a major conceit is a film so good it reduces any and all who see it into a quivering pulp, physically unable to stop watching, wasting away into utter uselessness…
Garry Shead’s portrait of Martin Sharp shows the artist as he lived, orchestrating a magic theatre of people and objects. Felicity Jenkins/EPA

Remembering the artist Martin Sharp – in collage

The tributes have been flowing in from friends and art critics for Martin Sharp, who died this week aged 71. The common thread linking all the tributes, all the memories, is that the artist was never alone…

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