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I don’t know if it’s a product of being an ’80s youngster, my love of sociology, or the “why not each” mentality, however whatever the motive, I like popular culture. Even when I’m not watching a specific present or movie that everybody is speaking about, I’ll nonetheless eavesdrop on the conversations, which, most of the time, inform me of rather more past the precise present/movie. Which brings me to the present state of what appears like a meltdown within the many locations I went to for these sorts of discussions.
Some locations have chosen to cut back their employees of writers and switch to AI as a substitute, which can by no means create new or attention-grabbing discussions regarding popular culture since all it does is regurgitate what already exists. There was additionally as soon as a social media app—the one which had a cute little blue chicken—the place you may discover quite a lot of threads, arguments, very dangerous takes, but additionally tremendous considerate insights on all issues popular culture. I, for one, deeply miss the great of these threads and conversations. A lot in order that it has led me to subscribe to quite a lot of these author’s newsletters and begin listening to extra podcasts. However I’ve at all times been an individual who reaches first for a e book, and whether or not I am going with a print copy that I can spotlight, which can sit on my shelf, or the audiobook narrated by the creator, I’ve not too long ago discovered myself with a pile of nice books and the necessity to inform others to learn them. So right here we’re!
Under, you’ll discover deep dives into tradition, group, gender, race, incapacity, society, and extra by music, movie, and TV, whether or not specializing in the historical past of a particular style or taking a look at a decade. And whereas all of the books land underneath the nonfiction umbrella, there are quite a lot of books that do a terrific mix of historical past, memoir, and essays. Bonus: Seven out of the eight books have audiobooks narrated by the authors!
We See Every Different: A Black, Trans Journey Via TV and Movie by Tre’vell Anderson, Angelica Ross (Foreword)
On this fascinating mix of essays and memoir, Tre’vell Anderson begins with an precise historical past lesson, making it clear that queer folks have at all times existed even when our present language didn’t (if whereas studying Pink, White & Royal Blue you bought a historical past lesson within the emails between Alex and Henry the place they paid homage to homosexual historic figures, it will add and broaden on that!). From there, Anderson dives into TV and movie historical past with a deal with transgender illustration. You’ll begin with their childhood love of Tyler Perry’s Madea movies, due to their grandmother, and the way, in school, they started to consider cross-dressing all through leisure historical past and the dangerous stereotypes it could create. From ideas on To Wong Foo, Thanks for Every thing! Julie Newmar to Laverne Cox on Orange Is The New Black, it’s a fantastically blended assortment the place Anderson appears at their very own childhood as much as turning into a journalist tied to the historical past of trans folks in movie and tv by their very own gender journey.
The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman
You both owned or knew somebody who owned the telephone on this cowl, otherwise you’ve by no means seen one earlier than in your life, and people are the 2 sorts of folks on this world. I can declare that as truth, sure? That’s how details in 2023 work now? However significantly, I’ll ceaselessly hear the phrases “thirty years in the past” and at all times assume we’re speaking concerning the ’70s, however apparently, it now means the ’90s. In excellent news, it’s now been sufficient time for the reason that ’90s for a humorous, considerate, and sensible tackle the last decade that noticed the rise of the web, gave us grunge, and, as Chuck Klosterman explains, “the final period that held to the thought of a real, hegemonic mainstream.”
Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Tradition That Shapes Me by Aisha Harris
Talking of the ’90s, right here’s an essay assortment, blended memoir by a cultural critic who grew up within the ’90s and doesn’t subscribe to the assumption that “You’re what you want.” How did the last decade form her/us? In humorous, considerate takes on points affecting society by a popular culture lens, Aisha Harris takes readers by movies (Clueless), TV (New Lady), and music (Spice Ladies; Likelihood the Rapper). Come for the leisure and keep for the data.
Being Seen: One Deafblind Girl’s Struggle to Finish Ableism by Elsa Sjunneson
Elsa Sjunneson is an creator and media research professor who is aware of firsthand how the “one-size-fits-all” definition of incapacity is much from correct. In a mix of historical past, memoir, and cultural criticism, Sjunneson takes readers by the dangerous standard tropes in books, TV, and movie that misrepresent disabilities, finally harming the group and everybody else.
Hello Honey, I’m Homo!: Sitcoms, Specials, and the Queering of American Tradition by Matt Baume
The facility of sitcoms is clear while you notice that even individuals who have by no means seen a single episode of a present know all about it, due to its affect on popular culture. Right here Matt Baume takes us into the basic sitcoms (from The Golden Ladies to Dinosaurs) with a deal with episodes that addressed queer points whereas wanting on the precise queer historical past that was occurring when the episode first aired. It’s a terrific mixture of historical past and “Hey, do you know” details and can make you wish to rewatch some basic exhibits. It’s additionally unattainable to not see quite a lot of the dangerous, merciless historical past unfolding itself once more.
The Black Man Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar by Robin R. Means Coleman, PhD, and Mark H. Harris
The creators behind the documentary Horror Noire: A Historical past of Black Horror have introduced their data of the historical past of Black roles from the ’60s to modern-day horror movies to readers. There are tons to study and assume on, from evaluation of tropes, stereotypes, and extra utilizing humor and deep critique. Plus, you’ll wish to (re)watch a bunch of horror movies.
Generally I Journey On How Completely happy We May Be: Essays by Nichole Perkins
This can be a memoir in essays by a pop-culture commentator podcast host (This Is Good for You), on pop-culture’s affect on her life. Nichole Perkins recounts her childhood as a center youngster in Nashville’s Black group in the course of the ’80s-’90s, which incorporates melancholy and the early consciousness of how vital pleasure is. You’ll additionally study her relationship with popular culture by her crush on Niles Crane (and her love of the present Frasier), her sexual awakening due to a Prince music, and rather more!
Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral Historical past of Latin Music by Leila Cobo
Shakira. Daddy Yankee. Gloria Estefan. Selena. You’ve heard them, you realize them, you’ve most likely sang or danced together with them. However have you learnt the tales behind their hit songs? Enter Decoding “Despacito,” the place artists, those that know/knew them, executives, and extra inform the tales in their very own phrases about 19 of the most important hits in Latin music over the past 50 years that made an affect within the U.S. pop world.
Who else now has Rhythm Is Gonna Get You caught of their head?
For those who’re on the lookout for extra popular culture content material, we’ve bought you coated!