PopCult Podcast – Scream 6/How To Blow Up a Pipeline

Young people these days get up to all sorts of crazy things. Some kids in NYC are going to school & trying to avoid attacks from a serial killer. Then you have these kids in Texas blowing up a damn oil pipeline. Zoomers, amirite?

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Comic Book Review – American Flagg! The Definitive Collection

American Flagg! Definitive Collection (2007)
Reprints American Flagg! #1-12
Written & Illustrated by Howard Chaykin

An acceptable madness. That’s what you are pressured to find under our current system. The development of technology & societies certainly has brought much comfort to people’s lives…well, for a minority of us. The comforts you and I experience are actually rarities on this planet. Most humans can’t just walk over, flip a switch on a wall, and have light. They can’t go to bed confident they have enough food to make it through the next week, much less the next day. They can’t turn on a showerhead and easily bathe themselves. They can’t flush their waste away and not think about it again. If you are reading this, more likely than not, you are part of that minority of people who can take comfort in the seeming ever-presence of these amenities. A vast system of propaganda ensures you always take them for granted and never think about the rest of the world. That is the acceptable madness of our times.

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PopCult Podcast – Desperado/The Day of the Beast

One is the story of a mysterious man carrying guns in his guitar case & out for revenge. The other is the tale of a Spanish priest attempting to get into the Devil’s good graces on the night the Antichrist is to be born.

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PopCult Podcast – The Addiction/Memories

New York based director Abel Ferrara left Hollywood and came back to his NYC indie roots in 1995 by directing a very…um, pretentious vampire movie. This was also the same year the creator of Akira got an anime anthology devoted to three of his stories.

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PopCult Podcast – To Die For/Underground

1995 was a year with some wildly diverse films. For instance, this week we have a Gus Van Sant picture that wants to comment on the media & celebrity. The other is probably the most controversial film you’ve never heard of and is about the collapse of Yugoslavia done as a slapstick comedy.

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Comic Book Review – Monkey Meat

Monkey Meat (2022)
Reprints Monkey Meat #1-5
Written & Illustrated by Junji Ba

To quote Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!, “All the food is poison.” One thing I’ve learned while living in The Netherlands is that society doesn’t have to have a constant flood of food recalls as they are in the United States. You ensure that by being very strict about what is and isn’t allowed for consumption and then enforcing those regulations. The United States essentially decided to hand regulatory power for meat packing plants to the companies themselves. Between the nightmarish working conditions that have a severe psychological impact on the workers, the cruel treatment of animals, to the chemicals & toxins allowed into America’s meat, it’s no wonder public health is dismal. Sinclair Lewis’s The Jungle had an impact in its time, but it’s clear that effect has faded. Now, there seems to be a story every few days about children (often migrants) being found working in meat packing plants doing work that has driven adults to suicide and death. 

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Comic Book Review – The Department of Truth Book 1

The Department of Truth: The Complete Conspiracy Book 1 (2023)
Reprints The Department of Truth #1-17
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Martin Simmonds, Elsa Charretier, Tyler Boss, and John J. Pearson

Truth is difficult to come by these days, especially in the United States. I speak from experience. I was homeschooled throughout my childhood, the eldest of four children who were also entirely homeschooled. My parents’ basis for this decision was fueled by the Satanic Panic of the 1980s; I was born in 1981. They were Born Again Christians coming out of the Jesus Freak era of the 1970s, where the Christian Right fully secured its power base, preying on young people disillusioned by the previous decade of collapse. Growing up, our house had the expected paraphernalia of such beliefs. There were, of course, narrow-minded curricula from the usual suspects: Bob Jones University Press and Abeka. It was common during the afternoon to hear the hate-filled spewing of Rush Limbaugh coming from a radio in the kitchen. He was often joined by prestigious reactionaries and fascists like G. Gordon Liddy. 

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Movie Review – Arlington Road

Arlington Road (1999)
Written by Ehren Krueger
Directed by Mark Pellington

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was destroyed by a domestic terrorist truck bombing. The people responsible were Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, right-wing extremists. They met during U.S. Army basic training in 1988 at Fort Benning. Radicalization came via right-wing propaganda spurred by the Ruby Ridge standoff. This incident involved the FBI, who suspected Randy Weaver was involved in a gun smuggling operation for white supremacists, surrounding the Weaver family home. The result was the death of Weaver’s wife and son, with Weaver himself being captured. The white supremacist survived until May 2022, when he passed away after serving time in prison. As with all reactionaries, McVeigh & Nichols lashed out at innocent people resulting in the murder of 168 people, including children, in the Federal Building’s employee childcare facility.

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Movie Review – Roger & Me

Roger & Me (1989)
Directed by Michael Moore

Those who gain power from the existing institutions love when art is made “highbrow” and separate from the masses. The documentaries made by the Maysles Brothers and Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County USA were not seen as a threat because they lingered in the art house/film festival scene. Michael Moore has always been a different creature, and the reactions from those in power show us they feel threatened by his work. Why is that? 

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Movie Review – Streetwise

Streetwise (1984)
Directed by Martin Bell

I really feel sorry for adults who think the United States of America is good for anything. How privileged & wilfully ignorant one must be to hold onto those myths in the face of stark reality. There’s not one single moment we can pinpoint as the event when it all went to shit, just mile markers of misery along the way. One of the most significant points in the nation’s history was the election of Ronald Reagan. The American public had already been suffering an extended period of intentional governmental failure and corporate takeover of what had previously been for the public good. The ascension of Reagan and his accompanying religious right-wing zealots secured America’s final descent into Hell, a pit each successive president has made sure we’ve stayed in. 

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