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The Wardrobe Malfunction 20 Years On

  At the time of this writing we are a little more than 20 years on from what is, rather pathetically, still considered as one of the major scandals of broadcast television. This is of course the time Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's costume to reveal (gasp, shock, horror) her nipple. Twenty thousand died, millions more were hospitalized and everyone who watched lives with the trauma to this day. Of course, none of the things in that last sentence happened, because it was just a fucking nipple, but you would have thought it was the case at the time. And sadly, to this day it continues to be treated in much the same way. The inspiration to write this comes from listening to an episode of the podcast Hit Parade by  Chris Molanphy. While he rightly points out the inequity of the reaction against Janet Jackson as opposed to Justin Timberlake, he does treat the incident as a legitimate scandal and not as a complete overreaction by a handful of noisy people who wield

Homoeroticism and American Masculinity

  No one has been more mythologized and more mocked, more revered and more ridiculed, more sanctified and more satirized than the American male. We have this romantic notion of the lone cowboy out on the range, fighting nature in order to scratch a living from the dirt. We also have the (probably more often realistic) comic notion of the weak man playing tough guy, the man whose masculinity is so fragile and in doubt that even the slightest whiff of unmanliness sends him into a meltdown of epic proportions. (For examples of these men, just look at any of the trending videos of men crying about the loss of masculinity because of things like t-shirts with rainbows on them.) The ironic (and funny) thing about this is they seem to be unaware (or just ignoring) how much homoeroticism is intertwined with the things that we traditionally think of as masculine. Let's go back to what I believe are the beginnings of the romanticized version of the American male that we are currently dealing

Rebirth Of 5 Fun Pop Culture Facts

  The Hardest Working Man in Show Biz When Little Richard's career finally started to break he found himself in a bit of a conundrum. He was suddenly able to get booked in much bigger venues than before, but he already had contracts for months to play a series of smaller places. Remember this was a time before the internet, and rock and roll stars weren't even on tv all that often yet. So Richard hired an impersonator to play those smaller joints while he moved on to the bigger and better gigs. So for several months crowds watched an impersonator get introduced as "The hardest working man in show business, Little Richard". The impersonator liked this intro so much he kept it even after going back to performing under his own name, James Brown. Joseph And Johnny Before becoming an icon in country music, Johnny Cash was a radio operator in the Air Force. Because of this position Johnny got an early claim to fame that has nothing to do with music. After interc

5 Fun Pop Culture Facts Strike Back

  Miami Vice's Fancy Duds Miami Vice was a new benchmark for style over substance in television drama. Not saying it wasn't fun to watch, but that had more to do with the soundtrack and the way the show looked than the writing. The show runners knew this too. That's why the wardrobe budget for the pilot alone was $70,000.00. That's in 1984 money too. Zeppelin's Fourth Led Zeppelin's fourth album technically doesn't have a title, the band wanted the music to stand on it's own. It has been referred to as IV (due to it's being the 4th album obviously) and Zoso (due to the rune Jimmy Page chose to represent him which looks like those letters). The most whimsical title I've seen for it was in the book Rock Revolution published by Creem magazine, who called it @#%&. Paid Laughter If you are smart enough, you can turn any skill into a career, no matter how silly it may seem. Take Ann Shalla, who would laugh at almost anything, and had a v

Son Of The 5 Fun Pop Culture Facts

  The Chelsea Hotel The Hotel Chelsea (sometimes referred to as The Chelsea Hotel) may be one of the greatest landmarks of 20th century pop culture in the world. It has been part of many works created, including the Warhol film Chelsea Girls, the Jefferson Airplane song Third Wee at the Chelsea, an episode of An American Family, the 70's show that pioneered reality television, and many others. But more impressive than the movies and books and songs in which the Chelsea shows up, are the many creators who have shown up in the Chelsea. Many actors, musicians, writers and artists have lived there, and notoriously in a couple of cases died there. Charles R. Jackson who wrote The Lost Weekend committed suicide there in 1968, and Nancy Spungen (girlfriend of Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols) was stabbed to death there in 1978. Other famous residents of the hotel include (and this is not by any means the full and comprehensive list): Mark Twain, Arthur C. Clarke (Who wrote 2001

Revenge Of The Five Fun Pop Culture Facts

 (In)Famous Cousins  Not every family has someone famous in it. It's very rare for a family to have two members become famous independently. There is one family though that has three famous cousins. Jerry Lee Lewis is one of the pioneers of rock and roll, a man whose wild life was filled with controversy. His cousin Mickey Gilley achieved stardom in country music without all the scandal. But their other cousin outdid even Jerry Lee in the scandal department, when televangelist Jimmy Swaggart was caught with a prostitute. And then was caught again three years later. Jerry Lee was probably glad to let someone else be the black sheep of the family, but he's still the king of scandal having had his career ruined by marrying his teenage cousin, and years of drinking and domestic abuse and even allegations of having murdered one of his seven wives. Sax Rohmer's Fitting End Sax Rohmer is an author who is best known for creating the character Fu Manchu. The character

Return Of The Five Fun Pop Culture Facts

 The Supremes' First Hit The Supremes are a legendary "girl group" of the 60's. There have been many lineups of the group, but the most famous, and the one that originally became famous, was Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. The Supremes signed with Motown Records in 1961, but did not become overnight sensations. In fact for several years they released flop after flop until they had become a bit of a joke around Motown. That all changed with one song in 1964. Where Did Our Love Go made The Supremes stars and was the first in a string of big hits. The interesting thing is, the song was not originally meant for The Supremes. Written by Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, the song was supposed to be for The Marvellettes who had had a big hit with Please Mr. Postman. That group didn't like the song, and passed on it. The Supremes didn't like it either, but were persuaded to record it anyway. And the rest is history. Almost A Rock S