Author Archives: Stephon Johnson

Fox Network at 25

STEPHON JOHNSON: FOX was able to cater to the younger generation better than anyone except for MTV. Was that a good or a bad thing?

CHRIS PUMMER:The really creative stuff in the Internet Age is all finding a much smaller niche than what big broadcast networks are by definition. So I think for sure Fox, being that network that broke into that club, probably will be the last of its kind. Continue reading

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A 90s Culture Time Capsule

STEPHON JOHNSON: Like Stevie Wonder once said, I’ve been living in a pastime paradise and I’ve tried to erase my current funk with some thoughts of yesteryear to cheer me up. Continue reading

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Looking Back At Alternative Nation

STEPHON JOHNSON: Steven Hyden’s series was a fantastic set of first-hand commentary about being a fan of rock in the 90′s. But what about those who were just a few years younger than him?

CHRIS PUMMER: Hyden has it exactly right in the end. There’s no sweeping cultural or political awakening that’s ever propelled by any musical trend. The music is just the soundtrack for our lives.

Now we should consider if the 90s were the last time that soundtrack would be the same for so many people, or if we will always be splintered into different segments from now on. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Undergraduate Education

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: People go to school and take out enormous loans, banking on having a high-paying job in the future, and then the gamble doesn’t pay off. It seems like education has always been thought of as something that will pay for itself and will never go down in value (like houses), but we’re seeing some ugly scenarios that say otherwise.

CHRIS PUMMER: If I had graduated high school in 2008 instead of 1998, I might not have been able to afford college. And from a pure what-I-learned-for-what-I-paid, I might not be worse off for it. Continue reading

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In Briefs: The Grammys

AKIE BERMISS: I feel like the red carpet evinces a pretty acute lack of glamorousness. It just looks like people arriving for a high class wedding. Of course, the heavy hitters are not come in just yet…

Ah… i take it back. Nicki Minaj went with the high fashion burnt cigarette-cheetah look. That’s pretty glamorous..

JESSICA BADER: And of course there was Gaga in her egg (no, really). Continue reading

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Parks and Recreation Review

AKIE BERMISS: When Parks And Recreation first premiered on NBC in 2009 I was skeptical that it was going to be just another The Office analog.  It had all the indicators — a comedy centered around a group of employees…

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Sarah Palin, Influence and Influencing

STEPHON JOHNSON: So, Sarah Palin wants us to hold her to a different standard than she holds others? Why am I not surprised?

CHRIS PUMMER: All of the events of the last two weeks probably don’t shift any opinion about Sarah Palin. Not an inch for anybody.

AKIE BERMISS: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ultimately we, the people, are responsible for those we put in power. In our representative democracy the masses are the king-makers. Yes, they may be being manipulated by the powerful few on high, but they can only be manipulated if they allow themselves to be manipulated. I say all this because I don’t think its fair to simply blame Sarah Palin for being Sarah Palin. While I think she is a deplorable person politically and probably a dangerous person to give any kind of serious power, I also think that Sarah Palin was created by some subset of “the people” and, ultimately, she therefore represents some subset of our society. Continue reading

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Racist Cupcakes

ZOË RICE: I’m stuck on the how. How does this ad make it past ad execs, cupcake execs, glaze execs, focus groups, and people with eyes without anyone saying “Hang on just one sec…” Basically Duncan Hines is saying “Here’s some minstrel flavored cupcakes. Only now we’re calling them hip hop. Enjoy!” Somewhere Aunt Jemima is shaking her kerchiefed head and murmuring, “Now that’s some racism.”

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I would like to second Zoe’s observations, and to add only that I particularly didn’t appreciate that the plain, unfrosted “vanilla” cupcake had no sense of musicality until it was turned, by the use of chocolate glaze, and auto-tune, into a hip-hopping “chocolate” cupcake. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Monogamy/Are All Swingers Creepy?

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I have to say I find arguments that monogamy is no longer really viable in modern society to be compelling.

JEFF MORROW: What always struck me as problematic, though, is that I often see the whole monogamy-is-unnatural thing advanced in non-heteronormative forums, and it always makes me feel like people should know better.

Continue reading

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AKIE BERMISS: A few weeks ago, I could claim to be some what ambivalent about Wikileaks for at that time they’d only released a few bits of damning evidence, the drops seemed somewhat few and far between, and often the story of the particular way they came about getting whichever leak was much more interesting that the leak itself. I’d heard the name Julian Assange thrown around a bit and, when asked about it, I would mutter some ambiguous drivel about secrecy and government and so forth. But then we came to this last BIG leak (all the diplomatic cables) and maybe I was just paying a little more attention or maybe the full story of Wikileaks had come to a head, but I very quickly came to detest both Wikileaks and its founder, Assange, in no uncertain terms.

STEPHON JOHNSON: With Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, facing rape charges and generally being labeled public enemy number one, Americans and the western world over are screaming “off with his head!” Continue reading

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