Category Archives: Blog Posts

Culture Challenged Podcast – The Return

After many many months of hibernation, Culture Challenged is back in 2017 with new content, new contributors, and new opinions. In addition to blog posts, commentary, and columns, Culture Challenged returns to the podcasting game (where have you gone “Hold on To Your Buffs”?) with the first edition of the Culture Challenged Podcast. David and new contributor (and life partner!) Ritza bring you their take on the 2017 Golden Globes Awards and why Atlanta is really the best show of the year.



1. Bananas and Vince – The Legend and his “cousin” (don’t call him Vinny) look like an early season juggernaut. Bananas goes for his 6th title in 13 seasons.

2. Cara Maria and Jamie – Yes, their deliberation back-and-forth was a mess, but at this point Cara Maria knows how to compete in Challenges. Jamie is intriguing.

3. Aneesa and Rianna – Aneesa is full-on beast mode at this point and couldn’t care less about what other people think at this point. Rianna’s bloodline is think.

4. Leroy and Candice – Do we take Leroy’s excitement over Candice’s performance seriously? I have never seen him more proud since his days with Mike Mike on RIVALS.

5. Camila and Larisa – Camila’s traditional once-a-season crazy blowout is due in Week 3. Will these sisters remain at the end of women’s elimination week?

6. Cory and Mitch – Cory’s REAL WORLD season was always a stepping stone for the THE CHALLENGE. Mitch is still finding his way, but has already shown some game.

7. Nany and Nicole – Nicole’s cat-like interview eyes aside, she and Nany seem to be the most loyal pair. They also seem to be closely involved to all the drama.

8. KellyAnne and Anthony – KellyAnne returns after a long hiatus. These newbies are likely to underestimate her competitive prowess. What Anthony brings is yet unknown.

9. Tony and Shane – Their week 1 fight was and subsequent breakup was easily predictable after REAL WORLD: SKELETONS. Judgement and discipline are a major concern.

10. Dario and Raphy – It is so hard to take ARE YOU THE ONE? teams seriously. They did Jedi mind trick Cara Maria into choosing the Buells, so there is that.

11. Thomas and Stephen – Week 2’s PIT victory may be a good confidence booster for these identical twins. I am just not sure that they are ready for a greater leap.

12. Jenna and Brianna – One of the worst partnerships in CHALLENGE history, only a matter of time for these two. Watching them fight is excruciatingly entertaining.

BLACK MIRROR Netflix Casting News!

I can’t say that I have yet made much of a connection to Mackenzie Davis or Gugu Mbatha-Raw (and her exploding career!), but any casting news for Netflix’s upcoming 12 episode (and third series) of the British psycho-ethical-technological modern-day Twilight Zone is most welcomed. Black Mirror is often a mind-blowing and weird, wild trip through an altered state of reality. It is at times provocative, at times horrifying, and at times the most emotionally gripping hour you could imagine on television.


Rondo Suspension Just Not Enough

“I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. “I am following in the footsteps of others who have self-identified in the hopes that will send a message to young men and women in sports that you must allow no one to make you feel ashamed of who you are.”

The information shrapnel from this WojBomb is not that Bill Kennedy is gay. Sadly, the story is about the ugly and hateful personal derogation by Rajon Rondo against Kennedy, disguised as a routine (at least for Rajon) ejection temper tantrum. Rondo’s shameful denigration of Kennedy is inexcusable and embarrassing. As a professional in a professional sport whose progressive innovations continue to trend set among its peers, there is no room for Rondo’s dirty verbal play in today’s NBA. A one-game suspension seems like a painless wrist slap for the four-time All-Star and rejuvenated assist highlight reel. In full disclosure, let’s just say I have not been a fan of Bill Kennedy’s eighteen years in black and white (his refereeing skills have always been the bane to many a Celtics fan, coach, and player), but c’mon, Rajon. It is just inconceivable that an NBA player shamed another fellow NBA professional to come out. Thank you to Bill Kennedy for your honesty, strength, and courage amid this maelstrom of hate. There is a place for you (and even your mediocre refereeing!) in the association.

Rondo’s responses today don’t really get the point.

Frustration and emotion often reveal our actual feelings. What else was he trying to do but offend and disrespect?

Today, Rajon Rondo may have lost a long-time, loyal fan.

Trailer Talk: Jurassic World

Our relationship with new iterations and evolutions of our premier pop cultural staples of childhood can face upward battles of acceptance. There is an inevitable increase of cynicism laced with an “it’s never going to be as good as the original” negativity, but we often forget that it was our wide-eyed wonderment and open-hearted imagination that allowed the youthful connection to be made in the first place. As my experience with the 3D rerelease a few years ago can attest, the world of Jurassic holds one of the most special places in my heart of fandom. Today’s first theatrical trailer unveiling (first sent to me by fellow brother of Isla Nublar nation, Nik Walker) for next summer’s franchise reboot, Jurassic World, brings me such an uninhibited joy. On June 12 of next year it will have been fourteen years since the last ill-advised and chaotic exploration (and mostly forgettable) of this Jurassic mega-franchise, and it feels like this fourth theatrical release is hatching at just the right time.

Here are some of my major takeaways in trailer chronological order:

  • Note to kids being sent on a trip by your parents: If your parents are David Wallace from The Office and Kitty from Arrested Development and they remind you to remember to “run” if something chases you, don’t go on the trip.

  • Universal’s opening logo animation has an emotional linkage to Jurassic Park and its subsidiaries in an MGM Wizard of Oz or 20th Century Fox Star Wars kind of way. Legendary Pictures makes me think of Christopher Nolan’s motion pictures. So far, so great.

  • Yes, the Jurassic World gates may be a bit too CGIed, but this is a much appreciated iconic allusion. If only the late Richard Attenborough could narrate a “Welcome to Jurassic World” voiceover and we would be in transcendent anticipation territory.

  • “The Park Is Open.” And what a park it is! Key features include: Disney Park crowds, Disney Park commercialism (Oakley apparently opened up a shop), Gallimimus safaris, a decked out Gyrosphere through Brachiosaurus fields, a monorail, and a water theater with sharks used as dino-Shamu bait and water-splashing used as a way to promote LifeProof cases for iPhones.

  • Nothing reduces potential fan anxiety more than the declaration that Jurassic World is “from executive producer Steven Spielberg.” In Sir Steven we trust.

  • “We have our first genetically modified hybrid.” Ok, Bryce Dallas Howard’s bangs. This is not going to end well.

  • It took 1:34 seconds to introduce Chris Pratt, but he was worth the wait (and the weight loss). Part Star-Lord, part Robert Muldoon action figure, all awesome, Pratt’s star couldn’t shine any brighter. Great casting, Universal team.

  • Setting the escalating theorized dinosaur chaos to a stripped down and tempo-deficient Jurassic Park Theme from the great John Williams is a little stroke of genius. Well played.

  • “Run!” Poor Bryce Dallas Howard and her bangs.

  • If the final images of Chris Pratt biking through a Endorian velociraptor speeder chase don’t mark June 12 on your calendar, I am not sure your capacity for cinematic awesomeness is up to standards.

Band Aid Turns 30!

It’s that time of the decade again (years ending in “4” or “9” since 1984), and, unfortunately, there is still reason for money to be sent to help people in Africa. This time the ebola epidemic is the cause. Despite some lyrical changes and your usual onslaught of today’s artists of note, Bono is still singing the money line, thirty years later. Sinead O’Connor does her part by providing the unintentional comedy and curious wonderment as to why she received the invite.

Boris Diaw Passing – High Art

There isn’t anyone quite like Boris Diaw. On the remarkable precipice of another San Antonio Spurs NBA Championship (there is no conceivable way that Miami can win three games in a row unless 2014 Dwyane Wade can miraculously become 2006 Dwayne Wade again and the Spurs forget how to play basketball), the much maligned meal enjoyer and Charlotte Bobcats reject has become my favorite Spur not named Manu for his ability to paint the most beautiful form of basketball art. Always a sucker for passing greatness (growing up on Larry Bird did that to the youthful malleability of yours truly), Mr. Diaw IS one of the modern greats.

This behind-the-back to Tiago Splitter in Game 3 is only the icing on his gorgeous assist cake career:

As Boris has often done in the offseason (French food can be heavy at times!), you are hereby invited to indulge…

5 Things You Need to Know: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Actually, there is really only one thing you need to know: don’t see this poorly plotted, incongruous disaster.

Here are some of my additional takeaways while departing the theater:

  • If Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze is the worst villain ever realized in a comic book movie (Try to make an argument to the contrary…just try), then Jamie Foxx’s Electro is the second worst villain ever realized in a comic book movie. What a conceptual embarrassment it was.

  • This movie is a complete waste of the beautiful Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone onscreen (and off!) chemistry and charisma, several strong scenes from Sally Field (I really like you), and a beautiful visual sensibility.

  • Dane DeHaan’s eyes can be scary to look at.

  • Paul Giamatti’s career (tough moment Hoke) has fallen a little off the deep end. He apparently wanted to play the catastrophe sometimes called the “Rhino.”

  • Speaking of tough moments, I am currently having one with cinema. For every Gravity or 12 Years a Slave, there are too many random Marvel sequels, big-budget CGI-fests in unnecessary 3D up-selling rip-offs, and stories that should never have been told. As TV has increasingly become more and more of my daily jam, spending time in a movie theater has unbalanced more toward the chore end of things (pleasure has become harder to come by). The result: I aim to be more judicious in my “in theaters” viewing (Oscar season will continue to be the exception) during the blockbuster months because there are apparently much better ways to spend my time.