State of the Blog – June 2022

If you have been enjoying the reviews and other content I make for this blog, please consider showing your support on Patreon. Every amount is welcomed, and even a one-month donation helps in providing motivation. I like to think of it as a tip jar. At the $10 tier or higher, you can pick a film once a month for me to watch and review. You can add some of your thoughts to the review if you choose. Now, onto the State of the Blog

It has been approximately 14 years since I started PopCult. There was a pause of a couple years after I got married and started my teaching job. But since early 2016, I have been back and posting consistently. PopCult’s readership has grown considerably from 177 views in my first month back to a record 2,860 in May 2022. One of the things I realized I needed to do was establish a formal identity for the site. 

PopCult is a website where I take a deep dive into media & culture through a Left lens. In the last few years, I have noticed how elements of the far-right in America were blending politics and culture to groom and pull in alienated, disaffected people, especially young men. The Left hasn’t done well in this regard, in having accessible criticism of the media in a way that connects with the regular person who doesn’t read academic literature. I particularly enjoy dissecting stuff I love & hate to see and understand the connections between what these films & shows say and how that affects our culture. I’ve already been doing it on the site for a while; it’s just now the site’s identity going forward.

I am currently working on and have a variety of series planned. You’ve probably noticed some since June started.

I’m doing a series for the first half of June about Tyler Perry & Medea. I had never seen these movies, but they are a significant touch point in American culture when looking at the box office returns. Some interesting things are happening in Perry’s thoughts on women, so it’s worth exploring and seeing how Madea has changed since she was first introduced on film.

I’m also doing the month-long The West Wing Sucks. I have felt increasingly annoyed towards Aaron Sorkin since I watched The Newsroom. I think the way he framed liberal politics did a lot of harm by pushing a false version of how politics & power work. Of course, you can say, “it’s just a show,” but when former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki cites Rob Lowe’s character on the show as an influence in her job, I say it’s worth deconstructing The West Wing. So far, I’m finding a comically absurd amount of misogyny. 

Here’s what I have planned for the rest of the year:

Mid-June
The Best of Federico Fellini

July
The Disillusionment of the 1970s
21st Century Scorsese
Capitalism on Film

August
The Magical Worlds of Jacques Demy
From Television to the Big Screen – Boomer-era tv turned into movies

September
The Films of Alexander Payne
Francis Ford Coppola: 1980s

October
The Horror of the 1960s
The Scream series

November
The Harry Potter Series

December
The Best of Michelangelo Antonioni

There are many more things I know I’ll be working on but will announce later or just open spots for anything interesting that comes along as a surprise. The one thing I will be doing with every review is attempting to go deeper in understanding the artists behind it and the work’s connection to our lives today.

As life in the Netherlands is somewhat settled, we’ve been able to more consistently get out episodes of the PopCult Podcast, so look for that to be a weekly thing. There are some weeks where a topic feels natural and others where we’re grasping for something. This means we’ll be trying some different things. Look for a Grab Bag Discussion episode to drop today. Ariana and I will be doing episodes once a month where we talk about things outside of the media: living in the Netherlands, thoughts on what is going on back in the States, some of our interests outside of what is covered on the blog, etc.

I’ve also decided to start researching how to attend some European film festivals in the future. Cannes just wrapped up, but I would love to go and see some of those films in person in the future, dropping some early reviews before they see a wider release. Other festivals, like The Berlin International and Venice International, are also of high interest to me. Don’t expect anything in 2022, but from 2023 on, I want to see what we can make happen.

I also want to invite your comments on how to better engage with my readers. I don’t have much experience on that side of social media, etc., but I am open to hearing thoughts from you, especially if you have built an audience with more significant interaction. With recent readership numbers crossing 2,000 a month and seeming to keep climbing, I want to do something special with this platform.

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