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Many argue that online networks like Facebook and Instagram have created a culture of narcissism — Selfie Culture.

On selfie culture, see “Scrutizing the Selfie” and “Smug shots and selfless: the rise of Internet self-obsession“. Also see this article in the New York Times, “What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves” and this article on glamour photo shoots for personal branding, “When Selfies Won’t Do“.

Digital social class cultures, such as the “Rich Kids of Instagram“, have emerged online and provoked controversy. See “Why the Internet hates the Rich Kids of Instagram”.  See also “Meet the Prom Queen of Instagram”.  Amalia Ulman has transformed her photo spoofs of selfie culture into art — and her work will have a show at the Tate Modern in London. See, “Tate Modern Taps Amalia Ulman for New Show.”

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People now take selfies at funerals. There is a Tumblr called Selfies at Funerals. On that subject, see “A third of mourners admit to taking selfies at funerals“. People are actually geting killed taking selfies in dangerous situations. See this article in Mashable, “More People Die Taking Selfies Than From Shark Attacks“.

Also, a new hashtag is #aftersex — selfies taken right after sex. On that trend see this article in the Guardian, “The #aftersex selfie is a betrayal of intimacy” and in the Telegraph, “After sex selfies? Showing off just got a whole lot dirtier.”

For an academic study, see “Is Facebook Linked to Selfishness? Investigating the Relationship Between Social Media Use, Empathy, and Narcissism”.  Also you can download this PEW study, “Generations and Selfies“.


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The hit television series “Homeland” has been accused of Islamophobia since its first season on American television.

There are views on both sides. See for example, “Homeland is the most bigoted show on television“. Also see also “Homeland is not Islamophobic despite what some critics claim“.

The series made news while shooting season 5 in Berlin. Local Arabs, asked by the show’s producers to paint background graffita on a wall in Arabic, scribbled “Homeland is racist”. For more on that, see this story in the Guardian: “Homeland is racist: artists sneak subversive graffiti on to TV show“.

Hollywood: American Propaganda?

Posted: November 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

fb_shareCritics claim that Hollywood films like American Sniper are American propaganda that promote U.S. interests globally. Others claim these films are simply narratives based on real events.

On Hollywood vs ISIS, see this article in The Economist: “A War of Narratives“. On the case of Hollywood film American Sniper, see “American Sniper decried as propaganda“.

Movies: Hollywood Imperialism

Posted: November 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

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See this article in the New York Times: “Hollywood Works to Maintain its World Dominance“.

On the trend towards blockbuster comic book and action films, see “Why Hollywood is caught in the blockbuster trap” and “The Rise and Fall of the Comic Book Movie“. The summer movie season in 2016 was not a good one for Hollywood. See “The 2016 summer movie season was a bust“.

Much has been written about the Bollywood movie industry in India. See this article for a quick timeline on the history of Bollywood movies. On the global commercialization of Bollywood movies, see this article Is Bollywood Coming to Hollywood. For a critique of Bollywood films, see this article: “The Bollywood Conundrum.

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This article about HBO’s ambitious series “Westworld” asks a question about genres: “Can Westworld do for science fiction what Game of Thrones did for fantasy?”

Cultures of Beauty

Posted: October 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


American journalist Esther Honig asked Photoshop editors around the world to edit her face according to the beauty standards of their country. The result was a project called “Before and After”. Also see “What beautiful means in 25 countries around the world“. Here are the results of another project called Perceptions of Perfection.