We Need to Talk About How We Talk About White Privilege

Photo by Matty Ring
What do you think of when you get pulled over?
White privilege. With the exception of "Kim Kardashian," there is no other two word phrase that gets people frothing at the mouth in irrationality quicker than those two. The phrase "white privilege" hits a switch in certain individuals and turns them from normal, friendly people you don't mind knowing on Facebook to... well... listen, this blog isn't about name-calling, so let's just say that become less-friendly.

This isn't about shaming one side of the debate, either. Both sides, those who believe in white privilege and those who don't, can be just as mean-spirited, snarky and dismissive as the other.

Which is a bummer, because it's absolutely a discussion worth having.

Because white privilege does exist, and it's never going to go away if we don't talk about it.

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Sex Box Is the Show We Never Wanted but Will Probably Hate Watch

Categories: Pop Culture

Screengrab via Channel 4
I used to think that everyone who appeared on daytime TV -- Maury, The Test, The Jerry Springer Show, so on and so forth -- was an actor. Real life is absurd, sure, but it can't be that absurd. For a small fee, there have to be plenty of people out there willing to sacrifice their good name for our personal amusement.

But the more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder if I was wrong. What's a little dirty laundry aired in public if it means a free flight, free hotel and the chance to be daytime TV/tumblr famous?

Which is why when I was told that Sex Box was coming, I wasn't completely surprised.

Who wouldn't want to be on a show called Sex Box?

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Saying "I Don't Watch Television" Does Not Make You Cool Anymore

Categories: Pop Culture

Doctor Who
Admittedly, that headline is a bit of a lie because saying that you don't watch television has literally never been cool. Ever. So if you claim to not watch television, please be advised that not only is no one impressed, but we're reaching the point where we actively wonder why you are shutting yourself out from the world.

First of all...what is television? That's a legitimate question in this day and age. What constitutes watching TV?

For instance, my favorite television show of all time is Doctor Who, and you can bet all rondels in TARDIS console room I will be tuning in at exactly 8 p.m. on Saturday to watch Peter Capaldi debut. That's not how I started watching the show, though. I started watching it streaming on my Wii through Netflix, gulping down five years of serial science fiction in roughly a few weeks. Was that watching television? How exactly is it different from all the documentaries and movies I otherwise watch through Netflix streaming?

Here's another question that Doctor Who helps illustrate. When the show is off the air, I often pick up books that continue the adventures. Am I still watching television, or have I graduated to reading? How do the radio plays fit in? In that last case, I'm hipsterishly enjoying an art form that predates television, yet it exists because of a television show.

That's the problem when you say you don't watch television in the age of Amazon Prime and Hulu; it is an almost completely meaningless statement because of the cloud-like nature of modern entertainment.

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Bottom Feeder Television. Why We Make Celebrities Out of Reality TV Stars

Categories: Pop Culture

Photo by badjonni

On some level most of us seem to understand that reality television is both not real and mostly awful.

While the popularity of shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo sort of baffles me, in other ways it makes perfect sense. Many folks seem to have an insatiable appetite for the manufactured and random drama being fed to them, and they get to live vicariously through the real life cartoon characters that populate most reality television. In some cases, almost anyone gets the happy thrill of being "better than" the individuals they see in these shows. That's an appealing idea to a lot of people.

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8 Amazing Scenes From Zombie Film History

Photo by Stephen Dann
For a long term horror movie fan like myself, the recent mainstream love affair with zombie films is still surprising. How such a hyper-violent genre has become acceptable outside of hardcore horror fan circles is beyond me, but it warms the cockles of my black little heart to see zombies getting their time in the spotlight with larger audiences.

For those newer fans that have discovered their love of zombies through comic books and television shows like "The Walking Dead," there are many great moments in zombie films going back decades. I sometimes wish I could see a few of those movies again, as if it was the first time. One of the things about horror films in general, but especially about zombie movies, is that there are lots of standout scenes - notable because they're particularly scary, innovative, jaw-droppingly surprising, or so goofy that they entertain us. Here are some of my favorite scenes from zombie films of the past five decades or so.

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6 Crazy Mascots From Texas Past

Photo by Steve Rainwater
Big Tex stands tall over the Lone Star State

Pop culture is dotted with the ghosts of long vanquished mascot characters that once represented well-loved products, places, and sports teams. In some cases, the original version was reinvented like McDonald's "Evil Grimace" character, originally a four-armed horror that was one of McDonaldland's few bad guys. I guess realizing the original design flaw in introducing a frowning, four armed, purple abomination as part as their brand's attempt at winning the hearts and appetites of children, Grimace was soon changed into a much friendlier creature with a more conventional number of arms.

In other cases, the attraction that the mascot represented just went out of business, presumably sending the character to some form of Limbo where despoiled mascots are sent into exile. Let's take a look back at some of these once beloved characters that hailed from Texas.

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Five Reasons Why British Guys Are Better Than American Guys

Categories: Pop Culture

Sam Claflin
Having been to England and dated a guy who's half British (his dad was English), I think I can make the assessment that British guys are better than American guys. And here are five reasons why.

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Five Ways to Spot a Frenemy & Why They're Really Not The Best Idea

Categories: Pop Culture

Photo by Mike Nelson
A checklist for true friends

Ever question whether or not your friends are really your friends? I think all of us females are guilty of it. We become friends with that woman we aren't sure we can trust... And unfortunately we live in a society that encourages us to adopt these "frenemies" as if there is some benefit to being friends with them. Well if you're like me, you'd rather have no friends than a bunch of fake friends... so here are five ways to spot a frenemy.

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Convention Recap: The Houston Con

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Jason David Frank, aka Tommy the Green Ranger and owner of Rising Sun Karate & Boxing in Humble, poses with fans.

Without having the numbers in front of us, it appeared that the new The Houston Con was a success. Sunday's attendance was rather light, but there was a bustling crowd on Saturday and even Friday looked pretty busy.

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11 People You See at Both Comic-Con and the Gathering of the Juggalos [Slightly NSFW]

Categories: Pop Culture

Photos by Nate "Igor" Smith and Keith Plocek

By Jennifer Swann, Abby Maddigan and Zachary Pincus-Roth

The last weekend of July saw both Comic-Con and Gathering of the Juggalos, a coincidence that not only ate up Internet bandwidth but also made clear that the two events are more similar than they may seem. Sure, one took place in the air conditioning of the San Diego Convention Center, and is so broad that it now encompasses everything from comic books to sci-fi to to sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory. The other, in an outdoor concert venue in Thornville, Ohio, was specifically for fans of the hip hop group Insane Clown posse, and the only vaguely Hollywood person there was Gilbert Gottfried.

But both are pilgrimages that give devotees a chance to feel a part of something greater than themselves. Both are "a place where I can find freaks just like me." Both feature costumes aplenty. The mentions of both awaken in your mom the same level of vague awareness.

From our multitude of photos -- and yes, both involve way too much photo-taking -- we found that each festival has the same kinds of people, visual proof that these two may be, if not brothers from another mother, at least estranged cousins from another grandmother.

Below are 11 people you see at both Gathering of the Juggalos (first photo) and Comic-Con (second photo). --Zachary Pincus-Roth

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