pop culture

/Tag: pop culture


Interesting interview with Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller fame.

A couple of years ago, when I was in America, my stage-magic-loving husband persuaded me to go to a magic show in New York. It was one of those “The Magicians” type things, with five or so different acts with very different personas. One of the things that struck me about it, however, was just how mean all of the audience participation was; it was glad we were up on the mezzanine in the theatre so there was no possible chance we could be called on.

A few weeks later, we’d managed to make our way to Vegas, were I suggested we see Penn and Teller’s show. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with P&T, mostly because I think they’re interesting people, excellent magicians, and I like their work in the debunking/sceptic community. But hot damn do they have some nuclear-level hot takes in the politics department. Their stage show… certainly delivered in all of these areas.

But the thing that surprised me, given Jillette in particular’s persona, was how kind they were to their audience. They performed several acts that needed participation, during all of which they were very gracious to their volunteers. Unlike the show I’d seen in New York, at no point did they make the audience members the butt of any jokes, or put them in situations that were (or appeared to be) humiliating, frightening, or dangerous. And, of course, they ended the show with the bullet catch. I’d been kind of dreading this, because I am extremely over-sensitive to sudden, loud noises; stage gunshots in plays and musicals are, like, my actual nemesis. Except, again, Jillette was extremely clear at all times what was going to happen, and when it was going to happen, and gave the audience explicit instructions on when to cover their ears.1

In the article above, Jillette says:

Our goal when we started was “Let’s do a magic show for people smarter than us.” No other magicians have ever said that sentence. I hated the whole idea that some smarmy motherfucker who couldn’t get laid was out there saying, “I can do this; you can’t.” So when Teller and I first got together I said, “I want to do a magic show that’s honest and has complete respect for the audience.”

And, the thing is… they actually do do this. And, y’know. I can’t not respect that in return.

(All that being said, the Cato Institute—at which Penn and Teller are fellows—is still a garbage institute doing garbage to the world so… you can’t have everything, I guess.)

  1. The actual gunshot sound itself was also much, much more muted than the sounds I’m used to hearing in stage productions, which I also found interesting. I’ve never head an actual gun fire in real life, but I somehow suspect it’s more like the gun used in Penn and Teller’s show rather than, say, Les Mis, in which case… fuck you, Broadway shows. Fuck the fuck you. []
2018-11-26T08:21:28+10:003rd February, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

Corporate fandom.

This essay about the commercialization of fandom in in the context of SDCC reminds me of my own NYCC experience, specifically the fact that there was a booth selling cars, of all things, in between the Weta Warcraft movie display and the (I think) Gossip Girl popup everyone was grumbling about because it “wasn’t comic-y enough”.

Which, yanno. They weren’t saying about the cars, so… go figure.

2018-08-25T12:00:09+10:0029th January, 2019|Tags: pop culture|


Conceptual horror: Hey, wouldn’t this thing you’ve never thought of before be scary?

Psychological horror: Hey, here’s how a thing you think about a lot would be scary!

Surrealist horror: where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of

Visceral horror: b̸̧͖̟͍͎͚̠͓̩͍̟͍́̎̈ͫ̅ͧ̇̌ͪͯ̓̅̀̏͘͟o̢̳͈̹̞͎͓̣͍̭̣̱̾̓̊ͮ̉ͪ̊̌͂́͘͜͠ͅỏ̻̻͉̠̬͕̼̼͍̪̤̻̟ͩ̉̽͞͞ͅ!̨̏́͆͂͛̓ͩ̕͘҉̧͚̘̭̱̤̣͓͇̭̖

2019-01-23T14:26:20+10:0020th January, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

So I was just introduced to this show by people on Mastodon and given that I’m sure there’s a non-zero number of you here interested in “gay supernatural cop melodrama”… here it is, all on YouTube, with English subs.


2019-01-20T17:38:23+10:0019th January, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

Whatever happened to UFOs?

So as anyone alive during the X-Files-induced UFO boom of the 90s may occasionally find themselves wondering, why—now that basically everyone is carrying a hi-def camera on them at all times—are UFO sightings on the decline?

I mean, on the one hand, it’s obvious. But on the other… what if the problem is less about the UFOs themselves, and more about the sorts of people who’d normally be attracted to UFO-nuttery being suddenly siphoned off into other conspiracy theories?

Hmm. It really makes you think, y’know? /cue spooky music

2019-01-17T17:31:07+10:0017th January, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

This is still the greatest post on Mastodon and honestly if you’re not there you’re really missing out.

2019-01-14T07:53:27+10:0014th January, 2019|Tags: fandom, pop culture|