Looking Back At My Favorite Movies Of The 2000s

I love making end-of-the-year lists. They force me to take stock of the year in movies, what I’ve loved as opposed to merely liked or even just tolerated, but as I mentioned in a previous post on the pleasures and pitfalls of listmaking, it’s also like opening a can of worms. Lists are supposed to be a “statement” of some kind, but that immediately triggers my vanity and insecurities. Whenenever I begin to assemble a list, I have to grapple with issues of representativity and “balance”, and whether a wish to highlight an underseen gem or to strike a balance between, say, serious drama and the uproariously funny dopamine injection, on some level contradicts the main criteria: That these movie are supposed to be my definitive favorites of any given year. Continue reading

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I Have To Admit It’s Getting Meta, Or: Eight Years And One Day Out Of The Closet

Even though yesterday was my eighth coming out anniversary, I didn’t repost my coming out story this year, as I have done for the past several years. The reason is simple: Instead of republishing it in English, I decided to translate it into my native Norwegian and post it on another blog I’m running. As such, yesterday probably saw a greater addition to my online legacy as a bearer of gayness than many other anniversaries. Continue reading

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“The icing, not the cake”: Gazing Gayly at the World Cup

The World Cup was decided weeks ago – and as my previous post should attest to, it was decided to my definitive satisfaction – but I’m not quite done with it yet. When the tournament started, Amanda Hess wrote a piece in Slate on the pleasures and potential pitfalls on objectifying the male physique at display. I’ve been doing rankings and listicle on sexiness on this blog for years, and have occasionally tried to discuss whether through that I might be contributing to a sinister sexualization of our popular culture, so I read her piece with interest. Continue reading

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Taking Sides and Switching Allegiances at the World Cup

For a soccer fan, nothing beats the World Cup. Sure, I might joke about the more tedious-sounding fixtures, like, say Nigeria-Iran or Ecuador-Honduras, but as soon as the tournament gets underway, they all become part of that long, hard, beautiful battle for gold in which giants falter and little mice roar. Usually I look with disbelief bordering on disdain on people who call themselves “soccer fans”. To me, being deeply invested in the game is so inextricably linked with particular players and teams that high-minded paeans to “the beautiful game” itself are mostly meaningless. Soccer takes its meaning and its energy from sympathies and antipathies, hopes for glory and the soothing cynicism of schadenfreude, something the impartial pleasure-seeker is cut off from experiencing. And yet, I delivered a variation on that very “beautiful game” flourish just a few sentences ago. So what it is about the World Cup that, at least in my case, suspends the usual laws of soccer fandom? Continue reading

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More Pop Culture Podcasts

See also:  Favorite Pop Culture Podcasts

Pop Culture Happy Hour

This weekly NPR podcast quickly made its way into my rotation as I listened my way back through the four-year archive over a period of about four months earlier this year. Covering TV, movies, literature, comics, theatre and everything in between, panelists Linda Holmes, Glenn Weldon and Stephen Thompson often start with a reasonably clear main topic, only to see it expand as it is informed by the particular expertise of the contributors. Scheduling reasons and the loose format makes the show less beholden to the traditional release schedule based podcasting of some of its also-excellent competitors, but what really sells the show is the easy rapport of its panelists. Continue reading

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The Return of the Young Leonardos

Back  in 2008, I singled out Emile Hirsch, Michael Pitt and Kevin Zegers as three Young Leonardos (YLs). The standard was somewhat lazily applied, as it was not readily apparent what it took to be in contention for the title, apart from a) being handsome in a Leonardo DiCaprio-like way, and b) having shown a willingness to take on some challenging work in addition to career-conscious mainstream movies. Continue reading

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Reading the Right

Back in 2010, I made a list of political journalists and pundits who helped shape my views on American politics. While I have always tried to be omnivorous and adventurous in the opinions I seek out, it could not have come as a surprise to people who know my personal politics that almost all of the writers on the list were broadly liberal or left-leaning. (Leave aside for the moment that the “liberal” vs. “conservative” dichotomy is not only useless in describing my affiliation with Nordic social democracy, but even in categorizing the views of most Americans.) In the intervening years, I have in fact tried to broaden my horizon by supplementing my daily diet of liberal punditry with views from the right, for “balance”, education and entertainment. Not all the journalists or pundits who opine about conservatives or conservatism share the right’s outlook, of course, but over the years I have find a handful of people who I turn to if I want to understand a little bit more about how the American right works. Continue reading

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