Weekly Culture Round Up: Robin Thicke's Controversial Video, Paula Pell's Wisdom, and Sexting As Art


Editor’s Note: Every Friday, I will be publishing a round up of my favorite pieces from PolicyMic’s culture section over the past week. The goal is for readers and writers to more easily be able to read and comment on each other’s top-notch pieces. You can subscribe here and don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts below!

Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell sent out a tweet yesterday that resonated with me. 

I favorited it, I retweeted it, and now I intend to remember it and abide by its message.

When writing cultural content it is dangerously easy to slip into tabloid territory (I know, I’ve done it). A starlet is photographed drunk, a high-profile couple splits, someone enters rehab and the Internet goes so instantly insane that the temptation to weigh in is pretty tantalizing. But the bottom line is, there are way more interesting things to talk about. Namely, the art being made and not the scandals behind it.

I want to thank the PolicyMic writers for by and large shying away from these tabloid-y topics. The art and entertainment world offers us tons of things to write about through a cultural lens: There are films to review, albums to pick apart, global phenomenons to analyze. There are discussions to be had on the future of television, or art, or the Broadway stage. And all of this can be done effectively and beautifully without wandering into the quicksand of the tawdry.   

As we move into June my goal as your editor is to keep our standards high, and to keep one eye on Paula Pell’s message (overlooking her use of the word “smug”). So let’s write about art, and movies, and literature and everything in between. There is so much more to talk about than this week’s scandals.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this amazing past week here at PolicyMic.

Shout Outs of the Week:

A big shout out to Stephen Roper and Erin Lowry who were the first members of the summer culture skillshare to publish on PolicyMic. Check out Stephen’s excellent piece on A Game Of Thrones and Erin’s awesome financial lessons from the Real Housewives franchise.

Hats off to pundit Heather Price-Wright whose piece on short stories was noticed and tweeted by The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood.

What have you been up to? In the weekly newsletter I’ll be sharing our illustrious pundits fantastic writing achievements as well as highlighting news about what we’re all doing offline. If you have anything you’d like me to include (accomplishments, achievements, job openings), about yourself of a fellow PolicyMic-er, please send it my way!

Culture Section Must Reads of the Week:

America Has the Best Beer in the World (Adam Hogue, @Hoguie) – Craft beer produced in the United States is beginning to grow in popularity around the world and domestically. Along with producing exceptional beer, craft beer is sustainable.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About “Hashtag Rap” (Amirah Mercer, @StyleRealist) – The Lonely Island's new song "Semicolon" reminds us just how controversial hashtag rap is.

Sexting Is Now More Than Just Smut, It’s Art  (Lindsay Funk, @Lindsayafunk) – Two years after a sexting scandal caused former New York Senator Anthony Weiner to resign, feminist performance artist Karen Finley is turning sexts into art in an exhibition at the New Museum.

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” Video Blurs the Lines Between Nudity and Sexism (Andrew Chow) – Robin Thicke's new video for "Blurred Lines" features three very beautiful, very naked models, and three men suited up. Somehow this incongruous pairing has become the disturbing new norm.

Beyoncé is a “Grown Woman” and It’s Glorious (Rafat Sanni, @raesanni) – The superstar's brilliant leaked single has made this holdout firmly Team Beyoncé.

5Pointz: A (Hopefully) Premature Obituary (Johnathen Duran, @JohnathenDD) – World famous graffiti mecca to be torn down in New York to make more room for more rich people places. Go, New York!

What Nas’ “Hip Hop Is Dead” Taught Me About Life (Steph Blasnik, @Welcome2TheAve) – This is hip hop 101 with professor Nasir Jones.  Whether in the projects of Queensbridge or the suburbs of Fairfield County, Nas can teach us all a thing or two about life in America.