Rihanna New Album Review, Gangnam Style Beats Justin Bieber, and the Top Culture Stories of the Week


So what did we do this week … we spent a lo-ot of quality time with family, gorged ourselves on Thanksgiving food, and read amazing cultural coverage on PolicyMic. Right? Right. In case you missed any of this week’s best stories, here’s our weekly recap to get you up to speed on our best stories, reviews, and features of the past week.

Top Feature Stories in Culture:

What the 10 Most Viral Videos of 2012 Say About Us (Juan Pablo Laso) – “The theme of human foible is the leitmotif of many a viral video and the root of many lulz. Much like when you see someone fall and you can't stop laughing, the misfortune of others remains a formula for comedic success. Number 9 on the list, "Donna the Deer Lady," showcases intellectual failure akin to the German cannonballer's physical failure: one listens to Donna's obliviousness to the reality of the causal relationship between deer crossings and deer crossing signs and is transported to the world of an idiot.”

5 Films You Must See to be Award Season Ready (Morgan Davies) – “If you’re looking for a movie to see with your family on Christmas, this is your best bet – as long as you’re okay with lots of tears. Les Mis had its first screening on Friday at Lincoln Center in New York, and reportedly brought the house down. And if you want to keep up with this year’s Oscar race, this is probably the single most important movie to see.”

What Does English Sound Like? (James Ramsay) – “What are the hallmark sounds of our tongue? Germans will often refer to English as Kaugummi English, or Chewing Gum English, because it sounds like we’re speaking with gum in our mouths (fair enough, since TV shows about high school girls are a major American export). Of course, this marks a difference between American English and British English. A friend of mine who’s English told me she envies our consonants, and fears that her long vowels make her sound pretentious (she’s very sweet — but they do).” 

Is Feminist Porn an Oxymoron? (Lilly O’Donnell) – “On the one hand, a large amount of what’s depicted in porn is definitely degrading to women, and teaches men to treat women like sex objects. It sends a largely negative message to young people. But on the other hand, in terms of the actresses themselves, they’re being paid good money to embrace and take control of their sexuality. More and more porn companies are run by women, so that they’re not just commodities being bought and sold by men, but are captains of an industry built around a love for the female body.”


"Hitchcock": A Biopic That Reeks of Rumor (Elena Sheppard) – “That Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel also star in this movie is almost a complete after-thought, there is already too much to think about. For example, did Hitchcock really spend 50% of his real-life time casually standing in iconic profile?”

Rihanna "Unapologetic": Chris Brown Duet and Offensive Pop Make for a Mixed Bag (Thomas Barnes) – “Unapologetic doesn’t have any superbangers like the two just mentioned. There are no fun innuendo songs like “Cockiness (Love It)” or “S&M”. The album’s first single “Diamonds” is the thinnest, driest Rihanna single we’ve had in a while. That all being said, there are still plenty of enjoyable songs on the album. It’s just that a lot of them are too musically complex, emotionally complex, or too repulsive for pop radio.”


Nate Silver "The Signal and the Noise": An Analysis of Prediction from the Man Who Predicted 50 Out of 50 (Robert Albrecht) – “In between the election cycles, Silver went to work on his book examining the predictive failures of everything from the Wall Street crash that triggered the Great Recession to TV pundits. He interviewed meteorologists, sports bettors, and the operators of supercomputers. The question at the center of the interviews and Silver’s meticulous research is this: Why in an era of “Big Data,” with “2.5 quintillion bytes” generated daily do so many predictions so badly miss the mark?”

People Around the Web are Talking About:

Star Trek into Darkness: The movie is not set for release until May 17, 2013, but the rumor mills are already churning. What are people saying? That this will be Zachary Quinto's last turn as Spock, oh, and that this movie is going to be awesome.

Christmas!: With Thanksgiving officially over, Christmas can now become everyone's holiday season focus. This Wednesday, the tree lighting ceremony will take place at Rockefeller Center. Oh, and be prepared for nonstop Christmas carols for the next six weeks.

Gangnam Style: Nope world, we're not over this phenomenon yet. PSY's "Gangnam Style" officially became the most watched YouTube video ever with 803 million views. The Korean pop star beat out Justin Bieber's "Baby" to break this world record.

Cyber Monday: You thought Black Friday was taxing? Well Cyber Monday will really take the wind of out of you. Monday the 26th will see massive sales on sites across the web. More money spending in 5, 4, 3, 2 ...