Pop Culture in Brief

The following is probably more of a Friday "potpourri" post than a Wednesday "music day" post, but I'm taking a couple days of vacation to lounge around at the county pool and drink Budweiser tall boys, so I'll be away from the blog for a bit. I figured if Congress gets to take a recess, than so do I. The rest of you just better not pull a George W. on me and start appointing crazy mustachioed assholes to the editorial board while I'm away.

Anyway, here are some brief reviews of the pop culture I've consumed in the past week:

Killing Yourself to Live, by Chuck Klosterman: This book is supposedly about dead rock stars, but in reality it's about Chuck Klosterman driving around in his car comparing his ex-girlfriends to the members of KISS. If you think Chuck Klosterman is funny and/or insightful, you will enjoy this book. If you think Chuck Klosterman is a self-involved hipster douchebag, this is not the book that will change your mind.

Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County: In this "reality" offering from MTV, almost every time a character enters a scene we see that person's name printed across the bottom of the television screen, as well as that person's relationship to the larger story. So, for instance: "Ben, friend of Kathy's" or "Kellie, the New Girl." The fact that MTV has to repeatedly tell us who each person is, even the recurring characters, tells you everything you need to know about this show. So why can't I stop watching it? Because I am stupid, and shallow, and easily entertained.

Runaway Jury: This movie came out in 2003 and stars John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Piven. It's adapted from a script by John Grisham. And yet all these popular people, it turns out, were powerless to make the public watch this movie, which lost roughly $20 million at the box office. In that way, Runaway Jury is the film equivalent of the band Oyterhead, the ill-conceived Trey Anastasio/Les Claypool/Stewart Copeland "supergroup" that managed to be far, far suckier than the sum of its parts.

Coldplay, X&Y: The music is roughly the same as the first two Coldplay albums, but have their lyrics always sounded like they were written by a lovesick fourteen year old? Maybe we should learn to embrace earnestness in an age of irony. Or maybe it's harder to write introspective songs about loss and yearning when your cock is inside Gwyneth Paltrow's vagina.

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