For Pop Culture Blogging
Great essay from Alyssa Rosenberg on pop culture criticism:
Doing this kind of criticism doesn’t necessarily mean being deadly serious about things that are, after all, a lot of fun. Sometimes a Robyn song is just a Robyn song. But sometimes it’s also an argument for female artists about going independent rather than relying on and being shaped by a major label, just as the pop-rap fusions in collaborations between artists like Kanye West and Keri Hilson or B.o.B. and Janelle Monae are evidence for rap’s conquest and colonization of popular music. The Iron Man movies are fun because Robert Downey, Jr. is relaxed and having a great time playing a roguish industrialist, but they’re also action movies for people who feel ambivalent about the projection of American military power–even if it means they’re settling for an individual having tremendous power, fire- and otherwise, because he’s charming. Unlike in politics, in pop culture the choices don’t always have to be clear. Artists are blessedly free to explore gray areas without risking the career suicide that so often accompanies the impression that a government leader possesses less than crystalline moral clarity.