Every now and then a week comes along in pop culture that leaves us feeling entertained, inspired, and hopeful. And then there are those weeks that leave us completely befuddled, scratching our heads in confusion while mumbling, “What is this world coming to?” Last week was one of those weeks. Here is a sample of some of the pop culture questions that left us stumped.
Why’s Everybody Still Talking About R. Kelly?
Yeah, yeah, we know R. Kelly has a new album hitting stores in October cheekily called Untitled, and his single “Number One,” featuring Keri Hilson, has been getting an insane amount of airplay on urban radio stations. We just can’t figure out why. For the past seven years, Kelly has been the punch line for celebrity indiscretion jokes as a result of his controversial indictment for child pornography. Even though he was exonerated of the criminal charges last June, we’re surprised people are so readily supporting his latest work (especially since the singer continues to brashly drone on about his favorite subject — sex).
According to jurors in Kelly’s trial, the verdict seemed due to insufficient evidence about the age and identity of the young girl in the video, not question over Kelly’s poor behavior. However, judging by most of the media coverage of Kelly’s new album, none of his past impropriety seems to bother people. After Kelly hosted music and media industry friends at a private listening party for the album at his home in Chicago last Monday, there was barely a mention of the poor decisions he’s made throughout the years. Is it just us or is everyone suffering from short-term memory loss?
When Did Obama’s Town Halls Turn into ‘America’s Got Nut Jobs’?
Does anyone else feel like the government town hall meetings have become the best reality show on television? Lately, it seems like people have been recapping political discussions around office water coolers as if they were going over the previous evening’s American Idol highlights. “Did you see the guy who went temporarily insane and holding the Rosa Parks sign?” “Did Congressman Barney Frank really ask that woman who called President Obama a Nazi what planet she was from?”
Look, we know the Obama administration is trying to maintain its two-fold commitment to democracy and transparency by touring the country to ease people’s fears about healthcare reform. But let’s be honest: most of us have never felt less enthusiastic about being American than when we’re watching these real Americans exercise their freedom of speech. When did the land of the free turn into Crazy Town, USA? We’re going to go out on a limb and say it might be worth it to rethink this town hall idea, as it seems to be sparking more controversy than clearing up the public’s political misconceptions. Or, if we do decide to keep them around, let’s start selling tickets and use the money to actually finance healthcare. “Hecklers for Healthcare” might be a plan more solid than “Cash for Clunkers.”
What’s All the Fuss About District 9?
When we first saw trailers for District 9, we didn’t think twice since the movie looked like the standard “aliens take over the world” summer fare we’ve come to expect as the weather gets sticky. But everywhere we turn, it seems like people are beyond raving about this new Peter Jackson film. Our very own Kyle Waalen called it a “blockbuster with a brain,” and the trusted voice of NPR warned that the film “grabs you by the eyeballs from the very first frame.” Box office-wise, it opened at No. 1 two weeks ago and came in a healthy second this past weekend.
All of this attention has got us asking, what is the deal with District 9? From what we can tell, it’s a sci-fi film with heart, exploring political themes of oppression, segregation, and discrimination through the allegorical lens of aliens come to Earth. Not to mention, the entire faux documentary-style film is set in South Africa, which has been colored by its own real-life history of violence-laden apartheid. It’s always great when a sleeper hit takes us by surprise, but this one seems to actually have something important to say amidst the blood and violence.
Who’s Actually Watching Daddy’s Girls on MTV?
We know somebody must be tuning into Daddy’s Girls, the celebreality show about Vanessa and Angela Simmons, since MTV brought the Run’s House spinoff series back for a second season. We just can’t figure out who those people are. The show follows hip-hop legend Reverend Run‘s daughters as they leave the Simmons family nest in New Jersey to establish their independence out in California. With the buzz focused on other urban reality television drama like Real Housewives of Atlanta and The T.O. Show, it feels like no one is talking about the Rev’s daughters after their big season premiere last week. Have you been watching the show?