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Category Archive: Pop culture

Sep 25 2013

‘What’s truth got to do with it?’ On Bennett’s History Boys and contrarianism

‘So,’ asks antagonistic teacher Irwin in The History Boys, ‘our overall conclusion is that the origins of the Second War lie in the unsatisfactory outcome of the First?’ Yes say his students, hearts set on a place at Oxbridge. ‘First class. Bristol welcomes you with open arms. Manchester longs to have you. You can walk into …

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Sep 23 2013

Extendable tethers: skeptidrama and a lesson from Project Runway

If you haven’t read Greta Christina’s thoughtful, extrapolative recaps of Project Runway, the U.S. fashion-based reality series, you should – whether or not you’re a follower of fashion, talent shows or trash culture at large. Rifling through someone’s rubbish bins, as the tabloid press’s urban foxes will confirm, can be the fastest means of learning sordid …

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Sep 14 2013

Rowling’s Potter spin-off could be better than the previous films

[Warning: spoilers!] Yesterday it emerged the Harry Potter franchise isn’t done. JK Rowling’s wizarding world, following her announcement of a spin-off film series, clearly has still to give up the ghost. (Or the dragon. Or the hippogriff.) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, due for release presumably within the next two years, will be inspired by …

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Sep 09 2013

Lady Gaga and the burqa: it’s personal

My blog on Lady Gaga’s use of burqa (actually niqab) imagery was a discussion of relevant topoi in broad terms – it conceded that never having worn hijab or been made to, I can’t speak to what that’s like any more than Gaga. This is a guest post, as promised, from Marwa Berro of Between a Veil …

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Sep 04 2013

What really lies behind Lady Gaga’s burqa?

At London’s iTunes Festival on Sunday night, Lady Gaga premiered several new tracks from her forthcoming album. Chief among them and opening her set was ‘Aura’, in which Gaga – clad all in black, face covered below the eyes, miming – gyrated to the chorus, Do you want to see me naked, lover? Do you …

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Aug 28 2013

Bonding with history: Skyfall’s postmodern 007

[Warning: spoilers!] We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. So recites Judi Dench’s M midway through Skyfall, …

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Aug 25 2013

Smash the closet! 10 alternative coming out tips for young people

SmashTheCloset

August’s been a good month for comings-out: Raven-Symoné, Ben Whishaw, Troye Sivan, Darren Young, Wentworth Miller, Chelsea Manning two days ago – am I missing anyone? Sivan, Young and Miller have self-identified as gay, and Manning as a woman; the press, annoyingly, have applied terms like ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ to Whishaw and Raven-Symoné, who to …

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Aug 15 2013

Secular synthesis and why we need it – or, Hello Freethought Blogs

You already know that I’m a #FTBully. Of all the letters after my name (admittedly, there aren’t very many), those are the ones I’m proudest of. My feeling is, that tells you all you need know about me. Keep reading though. I’m 22, secular, British, poly, queer, tall, ex-Christian, “left wing and long-winded”, a nerd, a graduate …

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Aug 14 2013

In defence of Quantum of Solace

[Warning: spoilers!] Everyone seemed to love Skyfall on its release. Papers listed it among the top few Bond films, reviewers heaped praise on it and Sam Mendes and Adele’s return for Bond 24 met with popular demand. I liked it a lot, myself, though in hindsight slightly prefer 2006’s Casino Royale, in which Daniel Craig …

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Jul 05 2013

Man of Steel: you’ll believe this turkey can fly

How unjust it is that a sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was announced even before its premiere, while Superman Returns, Bryan Singer’s 2006 effort, spawned none in the years which followed its release. The failure of Returns is largely mythical, despite fans’ recollection of it as a flop prompting DC’s reboot, as Ang …

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