Pop Culture Mondays/3.21.22


Welcome to my brain…

Hello, my pop culture junkies and welcome to another Monday. I know the picture this week is not a happy one but it’s an important one that shows us so many things. I love this photo as much as it breaks me. A family escaping Ukraine. With the things most important to them and for this child it’s their Baby Yoda doll. Mom has passports in hand and is seemingly overwhelmed. It almost seems like it’s taken from a movie scene but it is very much real. We are still in this moment and everything else seems secondary but we need secondary sometimes. A bit of a distraction is never a bad thing…

So, while we all agree there is some heavy, dark shit happening and, by the way, HERE IS AN AMAZING resource for all the ways you can help in Ukraine…let’s get to some silly viral moments and trends and WTFs of the week.

Welcome new readers and just an FYI, you need headphones for this newsletter. And we are and always will be Trump-free.


Poor little guy…


I AM NOT A REPORTER. I do not cover the media industry. I just try to condense what’s happening in the world of pop culture and sometimes politics enters pop culture and sometimes the business world enters pop culture etcetera etcetera etcetera…

So how did Disney enter the pop culture convo THIS week? Well in a FEW different ways tbh. But let’s start with the viral video that went around the socials like wildfire this week. Let me set the stage…

Orlando. Magic Kingdom. A high school dance squad. From Texas. Singing about Indians and scalping. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRONG???

Here is a short clip showing how the students watching see nothing wrong with “SCALP ‘EM!” and it boggles the mind:

SOOOO….the high school continues to defend itself… what seems like HUNDREDS of students in that dance group saw nothing at all wrong or controversial about it AND this is not the first time they have done this so Disney should not have been “SHOCKED” at all by this..I mean the dance troupe is CALLED THE INDIANETTES for the love of God. But once called out, DISNEY had to apologize…in this statement:

“The live performance in our park did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place,” Jacquee Wahler, Disney spokesperson, said in a statement. “It was not consistent with the audition tape the school provided and we have immediately put measures in place so this is not repeated.”

As many pointed out, this was not the first time this dance troupe has done this and the name itself and outfits surely were a red flag.

For more:

OK, so headache number ONE for Disney this past week. What else? So glad you asked…

This is the talented Rachel Zegler, who was the star of Disney’s “West Side Story”. And while the movie was NOT a box office hit, it was nominated for a bunch of Oscars. Rachel was not nominated but usually, the leads of an Oscar-nominated film for Best Picture are there to support. So when a fan on Insta asked her what she was going to be wearing to the Oscars, Rachel refreshingly admitted that she was going to be home wearing sweatpants watching it as she was not invited despite asking to be. The people who get invited to the Oscars are nominees who get a plus one and presenters who also get a plus one. But the studios behind the nominated films have sway to get others in there so this is on Disney.

And as our favorite scary media STAR, Kara Swisher points out…yet another mistake from Disney:

Rachel is proving herself to be one savvy communications pro:

Though my fave response (because it is TRUE) thus far has been by the hottest man in NYC, George Hahn:

For more on this:

And NOW let’s get to how Disney has a GAY problem.

This is not an opinion. This is a fact. It was revealed that Disney had made campaign donations to the people behind the DON’T SAY GAY bill in Florida. YEP. And then remained SILENT on it. SILENT.


AND then it came out from Disney and Pixar employees behind content that LGTBQ content had been purposely dialed back or edited or denied by the top brass. Here are some creators talking about it:

So what happened here? ANOTHER DISNEY APOLOGY.

So yeah Disney has not had an awesome week. It’s almost like MAYBE, MAYBE they wish they still had legendary Bob Iger still running the show. What’s that you say? This is not a conversation for pop culture??

OH but it is. Because in the midst of ALL of this…we now get into the media wonk juicy stuff with this story that broke over the weekend written by CNBC’s Alex Sherman and BOY was it a doozie. AND it has legs…

THOUGH…many of the decisions around gay characters happened under Iger’s watch, he did come out against the Don’t Say Gay bill back in February which could have been (ahem…SHOULD HAVE BEEN) something Disney paid attention to…

SOOOOO….let’s see how this all plays out, shall we?



We have been given a gift this past week with SO much good content I thought I would just quickly summarize some of the stuff I saw and loved and wanted to share with you.

OK, I have already mentioned this but for anyone new…one of my new, fave series is from HBOMax “WINNING TIME” and is about the Lakers and those amazing days when they got a new owner and coach and brought on rookie Magic Johnson and it is SO BRILLIANT and fun and sexy and just all around it is GREAT. AND SALLY FIELD YOU GUYS. SALLY. FIELD.

And I am going to credit Katie Rosman of the New York Times for getting me obsessed with the BUSS family after this profile from last year…

Alas, I have mentioned how frustrated with this genre of dramatizing ripped from the headline tech stories and turning them into long series especially when they use real people but fictionalize events. But as many pointed out this is in every story including the series on the Lakers so maybe it’s just because I am so close to many of the people involved or have known them and it irks me. Like the WeWork story. I really didn’t think I wanted to hear more about this story or these people who I crossed paths with over the years. I, like MANY, was aghast at Rebekah Neumann’s statement about it being a woman’s job to stand behind their men and help them realize their greatness…blah blah blah. WHAT more did I need?

Apparently, a LOT freaking more. “WeCrashed” on APPLE+ or whatever it is called is BANANAS. Give Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto all the awards. Give the entire cast all the awards. The writers and creators and cinematographers and set designers and COSTUME designers ALL OF THE AWARDS. It is SO good. It is not perfect as some areas drag on but I was sucked in and the character development is GREAT to see:

There is also a good companion pod hosted by Scott Galloway who is also a character in the show. Check it out.

ANOTHER real story playing out on our screens is the story behind the epic fall from FOOD WORLD grace of NYC vegan hotspot, Pure Food & Wine’s owner Sarma Melngailis. This story had everything when it began unfolding in NYC media.

✅ Beautiful almost TOO beautiful chef/owner of vegan hotspot

✅ Alec Baldwin (he and Sarma were um…connected and he was a big fan of hers and then he met HILARIA there and well…no more Sarma)

✅ We have a girl on the run

✅ We have a weird svengali-like guy behind the scenes who apparently told Sarma he can make sure her dog lives forever in order to get control over her and her money. (Not going to lie, I would fall for that.)

✅ We have vegan busted by cops because of a non-vegan pizza from Dominoes (despite ALL the coverage, she was not eating the non-vegan meal).

OK, so this is a LOT to watch and it drags on in some ways and for the most part, it is unbelievable (like actually, I don’t believe her) but this is done in a docu-style series and there is a LOT. I highly recommend it but you have to stay for the final scene of the series which is A LOT.

I saw all the press and on the Ryan Reynolds led movie called “The Adam Project” and I really didn’t think it was for me but then I decided to kill some times and maybe it’s because I am a sucker for time travel and lost parents and all that but this really got me. It was an amazing cast, a clever story and Ryan Reynolds is just FUN. It did feel like a merging of three amazing movies.


And then I watched this little gem which I had not seen any press and I felt like I had found some secret (it’s not a secret) on Netflix with like mainly 3 characters and it’s really fun/interesting to watch. Also, the house is MY DREAM. This is “Windfall” on Netflix starring Jason Segel, Lily Collins and Jesse Plemons.

And lastly (yes I had a REAL BUSY weekend), I watched “Deep Water” on Hulu and let me just say…and I mean this and yet cannot believe it, but BEN AFFLECK IS SEXY AGAIN. This movie is creepy and wild and I loved it.



  • The amazing actress, Melanie Lynskey, rightfully won a Critics Choice award for her role in “Yellowjackets”, the show MUCH discussed here in the past. In her beautiful acceptance speech we learn she is actually from New Zealand, she is married to Jason Ritter the son of the late John Ritter, and she is a hero to all moms and nannies. This speech spread across the socials big time:
  • This sound trend has been all over TikTok this past week in case you have a kid all of a sudden talking about pomegranates and grapefruit:

Here is the sound that it came from originally:

And a trend was born…

You get it though I could share dozens more that just made me laugh but this killed me from the original video reacting to Camila Cabello using his sound:

  • OK, so many of us found ourselves on MEDICAL SCHOOL MATCHING TIKTOK. And I honestly had no idea what this was. NONE OF MY friends became doctors (thanks for nothing guys..) so this was ALL new to me. It was like Rush TikTok but with really really really smart, sleep-deprived brilliant people. Apparently, 4th-year medical students rate the hospitals and specialty they want to be matched with and voila…some end well, some end in tears.
  • One reason I do love TikTok is magical moments can happen on the app. Take this next video for example. A creator posted a lyric he wrote and asked people to duet him and then THIS happened and it’s incredible. A singer wrote a song and performed using his beat/lyric and I am crying:
  • And another funny viral sound that if you have a TikTokker at home you LIKELY have heard comes from an interview with former child star/actress Miranda Cosgrove from a recent interview:

And creators had FUN with this one:

  • What might be surprising to you is Mike Tyson has a new weed company. What MIGHT NOT be surprising is he has edibles in the shape of an EAR. Got to love it.
  • I think I have a pretty cute dog. But he doesn't hold a candle to this guy and I am not ok (and the dog has NOW gone viral):
  • NOT sure anyone knows how obsessed with the Irish I am…but I am. Let’s be clear, my Irish friends reading this know. THEY know. I named my dog Potato. I tour with the best Irish rock band of all times whenever I can. I LOVE EVERYTHING about Ireland from its land to its people and culture and food and music and of course…IRISH DANCERS. And these twins are everything:
  • OK lastly, we end on a VIBE SHIFT. UGH…I know I know wtf does that even mean? It is relevant for basically everything covered here at PCM. This is from an article back in February so I apologize for just getting to it now…I meant to include but you know…there is a lot. But this definition of a VIBE SHIFT is from the Google:

…a vibe shift’ is now a term for the phenomenon of trends dying overnight. It’s the feeling of everything you’re doing, watching and wearing becoming uncool quicker than you can keep up.

Nothing has shook me more than this article tbh…like it triggers me in good and bad ways. SO I end it here:

THAT IS IT my darling pop culture junkies…

What a week. Be kind to yourself. And to others. Take a walk. Have french fries. EAT YOUR SPINACH.

Stay safe and healthy my beauties.

If you aren’t already a subscriber (PLEASE PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!!) and please do SHARE this with all your friends…and IF want this in your inbox please send an email to:






A weekly round up of all the news you’re too embarrassed to admit you don’t know. Or too embarrassed to admit you DO.

Recommended from Medium

Doris Bergman’s Twelfth Annual Valentine Romance Oscar® Luxury Lounge & Party Wins for Best…

GRRM & HBO’s big ‘fuck-you’ to readers

On ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and the Pain of Growing Up

Charlie Hunnam in the first season of Sons of Anarchy.

‘Lovecraft Country’ Disrupts the Mammy Caricature Trope

Photo of Jurnee Smollett on set for “Lovecraft Country.”

Analysis of “Sunny Prestatyn” by Philip Larkin.

It’s On Drudge 27 March 2020

Twitter Killed the Comedy Star

During Jewish American History Month, Pottery With a Purpose Names Ukraine’s Voices of Children…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brooke Hammerling

Brooke Hammerling

Talk to me about tech, pop culture, cheese or dogs.

More from Medium

Pop Culture Mondays/1.24.22

April Eats Checklist: From Tortas to Salvadoran Food

SF Can Put Politics Aside and Keep Its Promises With a Car-Free JFK Drive

Dad and kid riding bikes in the park.

Pop Culture Mondays/3.7.22