Category Archives: The Pop Culture Detective Agency

Stranger Things and the Danger of Nostalgia

The hit Netflix series Stranger Things is a love letter to iconic pop culture media of decades past. But there are dangers in leaning too heavily on nostalgia because media makers can sometimes end up reproducing harmful patterns along with their retro aesthetics, especially when it comes to action hero masculinity and belligerent romance conventions […]

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The Subversive Boyhood of Steven Universe

The Cartoon Network series Steven Universe is an adventure show about a boy with super powers derived from an interstellar gemstone in his belly. But in many ways it’s also a coming-of-age story about a young man growing up and trying to find his place in the world. In this episode we discussing how Steven’s […]

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Military Recruitment and Science Fiction Movies

The sequel to the 1996 mega-blockbuster “Independence Day” hit theaters this summer but there was something a little strange about many of the trailers. What looks like a clever marketing campaign centered on joining the fictional “Earth Space Defense” was actually a cross-branded recruitment tool for the US Army. It’s part of a multi-million dollar […]

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What Is Toxic Masculinity?

You may have bumped into the term toxic masculinity during your travels around the internet. It usually shows up in connection with particularly abusive male behavior, but what does it really mean? In this episode we take a closer look at the term using Biff from Back To The Future as our example. If you’d […]

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When Men Are Harassed Online

I did two things that garnered a torrent of harassment this week from angry men on the internet. First I launched a new critical video series focusing on harmful ways masculinity is often portrayed in media. My first episode highlights the importance of open emotional vulnerability as seen on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. Second, in […]

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