Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is the executive editor of Pandagon.net and the author of the book, It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Recent Articles

Rise of the Female Nerds

Glee is one of a handful of television shows offering unabashedly smart, awkward ... well, nerdy, female characters. Will Hollywood take to the trend?

(Fox)
In the midst of dour economic times, it shouldn't have really been a surprise that the new Fox show Glee charmed audiences. Glee has the same appeal that Susan Boyle, awkward celebrities on Dancing With The Stars , and contestants on American Idol posses -- the populist joy of watching the little guy get his due. Glee does this while also sweeping up more cynical viewers with a heavy dose of snark and camp. The show returns tonight and can expect an audience eager for more corny songs and campy plot twists, as well as howlers issued from the ever-funny Jane Lynch, who plays a character that is probably the best TV villain in recent history. Glee has won awards for the diversity of its characters, but not without provoking criticism for wallowing in stereotypes. The sassy black girl, the fashion-loving gay kid, the scheming gold digger, the dumb jock with a heart of gold, and the neurotic but sweet guidance counselor are served up for laughs but are very rarely subverted. One character...

Mad Men, Bohemian Boys

What Mad Men really gets about the 1960s is how much the era was about collapsing the boundaries of pop culture and lived experience.

The AMC series Mad Men , an hour-long drama about the lives and loves of Madison Avenue advertising executives in the early 1960s, may still want for a larger audience, but as its awards stack up, and many deem it the best show on television, it's not wanting for critical reception. In a way, it's surprising that the show has marshaled such enthusiasm, since, on its surface, it seems to retread two of the most cliché themes of modern narrative: the repression and bigotry of 1950s America and the times-they-are-a-changing mood of the 1960s. The show has found a way to portray the 1960s without falling into the trap of revisiting, and refighting, the same culture wars. But what Mad Men really gets about the 1960s is a story that isn't told as much: how much the era was about collapsing the boundaries of pop culture and lived experience, how the illusions we built up quit being fantasies and became indistinguishable from reality. Mad Men actively runs against the stale narratives that...

Multiculture Club

"Kids these days" belong to the most diverse generation America has ever had. No wonder they like music that blends sounds from all around the world.

Related: Watch videos of the artists featured in this article. Say the words "punk rock," and most people, whether they're fans or not, will conjure up thoughts of The Clash and The Ramones -- drums, guitar, and bass, the sound stripped down to rock's basics, sped up and turned up twice as loud. But one self-described punk band that's been steadily creating buzz for years now adds an accordion and a fiddle to the mix, as well as women marching around smashing cymbals. The band, Gogol Bordello, calls it "gypsy punk," with the volume, speed, and bad attitude of punk rock laid over Eastern European melodies and rhythms. What's remarkable about the band is that its members, who have emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Ecuador, and Ethiopia, feel no more constrained by genre than by nationality. The music is rich and inventive, drawing on not only punk rock and gypsy folk music but also American-style rap (in various languages), reggae-style dancehall singing, and dub...

Multiculture Club: Videos

Watch and listen to some of the artists featured in this month's culture piece.

See related article: Multiculture Club | Amanda Marcotte "Kids these days" belong to the most diverse generation America has ever had. No wonder they like music that blends sounds from all around the world. Gogol Bordello, "Not a Crime" Afrika Bambaataa, "Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun" Afrika Bambaataa, "Planet Rock" Talking Heads, "Life During Wartime" Kanye West, "Stronger" Cansei de Ser Sexy, "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above" Ozomatli, "After Party" Gorillaz, "Feel Good Inc." Gnarls Barkley, "Smiley Faces" Shakira, "La Tortura" M.I.A., "Galang" M.I.A., "Jimmy"

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