Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pop Culture Round-up: Spring 2012

It's been awhile since there was a pop culture round-up, but trust me - I still love pop culture. Here are the things that you should get out there and enjoy right NOW.

This song:

I'm trying to think of something to say about it, but I can't. So I'll just listen to it again.

Don and His Women
Um... how did Don Draper become the least misogynistic guy at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Sure, he's still a product of his time and history (I mean, they're still HIS women, let's face it), but 1967 seems to have brought the winds of change even to Mad Men's Don. He's in love with Megan, he loves Peggy (not THAT way, but in the way that a father loves a child who must inevitably leave a comfortable home to see beyond the mountains), and he may be the only one who understands the kind of love that Joan needs. I once read that the character of Peggy represents "a new spirit in women" that took hold in the 60's. 40-some-odd years later, in a world that seems to be trying anew to crush that spirit, Don Draper is giving me a little hope that the spark can survive.

Speaking of surviving...

My latest BBC fixation on Netflix
My favorite genre is what I call "Random People Come Together to Form a Family." Yes, I made this genre up, but once you know about it, you'll find it everywhere. It probably speaks to me because I'm pretty good at quickly forming a family wherever I go.

This makes me think that, should I survive a flu pandemic like the characters on Survivors, a British TV series that lasted only 12 episodes, I will be able to make my way. Survivors is about how we survive disaster by forging connections, but it's also about freedom vs. safety, men vs. women, and nature vs. man. I especially appreciate the characters; my favorite is Tom Price, a convict who survives the plague. He's sort of an anti-hero, but of the kind that you don't usually find in the U.S. (except maybe on The Wire.) He's a thief and a murderer, and he's not secretly-educated, not secretly-sorry. He's not redeemed. As played by the bullet-headed Max Beesley (sort of a cross between Daniel Craig and a pitbull) Tom draws your sympathy, even as you know that if the world wasn't ending, you would run from him in fear.

Speaking of apocalypses (apocalypi? apocalypto?)...

The Declaration
I'm an adult person, but for the last year or so I've been digging the rush of post-Hunger-Games apocalyptic YA fiction that's been gracing the shelves of the Amazon kindle store. I'm down for anything that leads to a world of more geek girls, but very few of these books are as good as The Hunger Games. However, I recently discovered The Declaration, by Gemma Malley. It's more like 1984 or Brave New World than a teen novel. It reminds me of  Meg Rosoff's haunting How I Live Now - it's  a young adult novel that can cross marketing boundaries. Written in spare prose, telling the story of a world where people live forever and so have banned children, The Declaration is a gem. And since it was published in 2007, the sequels can be enjoyed with no waiting.
Post-Apocalyptic Runner-up: I've also been following the Matched and Delirium trilogies. I find Matched to be the superior. No, it's no masterpiece, but the plot hurtles along at breakneck speed. I'll be reading the third novel, Reached, when it comes out in November.

What's your pop culture fixation these days?

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