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In Defense Of

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Why I Consume So Much Entertainment

I’ll be the first to admit it: I consume a lot of entertainment. It’s more than just a way to wile away the hours for me; experiencing the magic of story through books, television and movies is my oldest and most passionate hobby. I love delving into narratives and immersing myself in their waters, surfacing afterward to ponder and discuss and marvel. It’s the primary reason I was an English major in college, and I’m never happier than when I’m extolling the virtues of a story I’ve just experienced to a dear friend. (If you’re interested, you can check out my running list of what I’ve consumed so far in 2013 here, and see for yourself just how many things I read and watch.)

I bring this up mainly because I’ve found myself battling a question lately, one that has done more mental damage than I’m willing to admit: with so many other things I could (and arguably should) be doing, why do I spend such so much time “lost” in other worlds? Shouldn’t I be out experiencing this life to the fullest right here and now instead of coming home from work, making dinner and reading a book or watching a movie?

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A Brief Word on the Olympics and the Value of Criticism

Here’s the thing: I like a healthy dose of both sides, positive and negative, in my Olympic coverage. Another thing: the Olympics are awesome and probably always will be, but they’re also a cultural event, a sizable blip on the world’s pop culture radar. Because they’re in the spotlight, they’re open to criticism, and we’re seeing more of it during these 2012 games than ever before.

As someone who prides myself on my ability to think critically about all sorts of things, I happily support staff writers for magazines and websites writing articles like this one (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8220839/terrible-fashion-2012-london-olympics) that are a little jokily snarky about the Olympics in one way or another. This writer is still clearly having fun watching the Games, but he’s also not letting the glitz and glamour of it all cloud his razor-sharp critical mind. He spits a little good-natured vitriol towards the Olympic fashions, a minor part of the Games at best. (Best line: “He looked like a man whose apres-swim tinnitus is ‘Let’s Get It On.'”)  Continue reading

In Defense of Lana Del Rey

So…Lana Del Rey.

If you’ve perused any music blog in the last month, I’m sure you had her name thrown at least into your periphery. (If you frequent Hipster Runoff, it’s probably been legitimately shoved down your throat, complete with a side of vitriol.) She’s the songstress behind “Video Games,” the song that has divided Internet-using music fans into two camps: those who decry the “shocking inauthenticity” behind Ms. Del Rey’s melancholic neo-torch song, and those who like the self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” and find themselves confused by the extreme backlash against her.

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"Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

-Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

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