Pop culture

Nobody likes a fake

What initially jumps to mind when you first hear the words ‘Donald Trump’ muttered? For the majority it is probably finger pointing, narcissism, lip puckering and long-winded tweets, having us wishfully thinking Twitter might shorten the word count. However, it could be suggested that it will not be long before …

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Putin – A star or a tsar?

More than twenty years have passed since the fall of The Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. These events left the world in an optimistic spirit. With the end of the Cold War, people all around the world dreamed about a world of cooperation. Russia started to …

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The Chinese ‘Black Mirror’: heightened censorship in the land of the dragon

“Stressed spelled backwards is dessert.” It is late October, rainy. I am having coffee with a couple who just left Beijing after working there for several years. They seem happy to be somewhere else, even with the bad weather. The small Italian café has encouraging signs on the walls, telling …

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Winter is Coming to Westeros but Disappearing on Earth

There is squabbling between the kingdoms in the fantasy world of  the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones”, and a great enemy to all is near. But what could this famous fictional world tell us about the real world we are living in? Is there a threat so great that …

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The Rainbow Flag – A Historical Symbol for Equality

“People aren’t just one thing, they’re not just gay, or not just transsexual, everyone can be a mixture of things.” These are the words from artist and activist Gilbert Baker, the person behind the creation of the rainbow flag. Today, this flag represents the LGBT community which is now celebrated …

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Kaepernick boma ye: A New Generation of Political Athletes

Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Muhammad Ali and most recently Colin Kaepernick. These are just some of the athletes who have taken a political stance while at the top of their game. Let us take a look at how athletes perform political activism in the modern day and how it is …

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Beyoncé & Jay Z: Celebrity, Culture and Politics?

Beyoncé and Jay Z meet Barack Obama. Photograph: Scout TufankjianThey are the ultimate “power-couple” in music. Both of them global icons in culture and ranked by business magazine Forbes as the number 1 highest earning celebrity couple in 2012/2013, as well as individually being ranked as #4 and #32 on the list of most influential celebrities. As the Jay Z and Beyoncé brand has grown into a giant in music and entertainment the Carter-Knowles’ cultural influence seems on its way to becoming a force in politics, both as a couple as well as individuals. But can their persuasion really build a nation?

By Erik Roshagen

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Rebel Rebel: A nomad rock band and its involvement in Touareg rebellion

Tinariwen on stage. Photo by mamarazi17, FlickrHave you ever heard of this band singing in Tamasheq? They reside in different parts of the Malian desert and actually struggle to bring the band members together for world tours due to the obligations many of them have toward their goat herds. Maybe you have, because Touareg blues band Tinariwen has reached unpredicted levels of fame in the last few years, with a Grammy Award in 2012 highlighting their international success. Today, their fan base has reached a far wider sphere than just their Touareg home, but their struggle for the Touareg cause is almost equally appreciated as their music.

by Jacob Berntson

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Gangnam Style/Pyongyang Slam Dunk

South Korea's PSY. Source: Wikimedia CommonsThe conflict between North and South Korea is at a long impasse. Both sides of the Korean peninsula keep waiting to bring their sister country to the point of exhaustion in order to force them into their own version of a reunion. While the South is fully incorporated into global society, the North has closed its doors to the outside world like a “Hermit Kingdom”. Their decades long separation and radically different political systems have produced two countries whose influence on the world’s pop-culture is entirely different.

By Ali Acikgoz and Niklas Hjelm-Smith

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