Pop Culture Mondays/8.10.20

The “Music” Edition

Welcome to my brain…

Happy Monday my darling pop culture junkies. Was it just me or was last week LONG. I thought it was Friday for 3 days. I am looking back at things that happened and some if it feels like a year ago, not days ago. This Covid time warp thing is going to be fascinating to look back on as I imagine it has a lot of impact on a lot of people. But it was a helluva week. The explosion in Beirut was TUESDAY. And WHAT a tragedy that was, and while there are incredible videos of the explosion from all different views including a few brides being photographed at the exact moment the explosion hit, I am not going to write more about it but instead below is a list of places you can donate to in order to help all the people in need right now. Unlike what the current man holding the title of President of the United States said, it was not an attack. Though what is TRUTH anymore anyway? You can see a few different people’s experiences which will hit you hard so TRIGGER WARNING:

And here are some places you can donate and I urge you to if you can:

And Save the Children, an org I have been contributing to since I was in 3rd Grade for a class project:

And for more:

And as of this morning, the entire government of Lebanon is stepping down as a result of this:

OK, so a heavy start to a week but like I said, that was only LAST TUESDAY. Hopefully, the rest of today will feel like a NON-GUILTY pleasure as PCM is sugar and calorie free you guys! And TRUMP-FREE (as much as possible) which is maybe most important. Please share PCM with your friends and get them so sign up to get PCM in their inbox!

So, welcome to my brain….

Never forget


This is the “MUSIC” Edition for a reason…there were 3 music related moments that stuck out this week so I thought I would group them together. Of the 3, I would say IN MY OPNION which I am entitled to have, 1 is ridiculous, 1 is genius and 1 is perfect. I think we shall build up to perfect and start with the PERFECT one first.

Now, I am not a huge Rolling Stones fan — I am not NOT a fan and I love their music but it’s not like I wake up thinking to myself, “GOD I need some Stones in my life right this moment.” And I am not a fan IN THAT I do not know all their music other than the ones everyone knows. THOUGH, I did sit next to Sir Mick at a dinner once in a friend’s house and he was amazingly lovely and took my plate to the kitchen as he was helping clear the table so that was about the coolest thing I can say ever happened to me but I digress….

And really, I should say I was NOT a huge fan, until this magical video came out and I stopped in my tracks and watched it 5000 times on repeat. It’s a song called “Scarlet” which was released in 1974 which was the year I was born SO IT OLD. The song features Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin and WHAT A TIME TO HAVE BEEN ALIVE…CAN YOU EVEN imagine seeing that live in 1974 omg?? Well they resurfaced the song…with a music video that stars Paul Mescal AKA CONNELL from Normal People. As much as I may be an Anglophile, I am actually more obsessed with the Irish (oh HI Susan, Helen, Tracy, Niamh, Jordan, Molly, Kathy, Paul, Olivia…) but I am definitely not alone in my Paul Mescal obsession. If you don’t follow CONNELL’S chain on Insta, well then YOU are missing out.

This video is brilliant and filmed during Covid in a seemingly empty Claridge’s Hotel (OWNED by Irish FYI 🇮🇪 ). And IT IS MESMERIZING. Also, I think I have been in that exact room where I was probably also SLIGHTLY drunk and probably danced around by myself in a bathrobe listening to music but thankfully NO ONE SAW this as I am not Paul Mescal. This video is just joy and a mix of today and back in the day and Paul is such an amazing actor it feels like it’s us getting a glimpse of him having a drunk ole time…maybe he is I don’t reallly know. I just know it’s perfect.

OK, so NOW we move into the ridiculous part of our programming. I will say, I was so confused when I started seeing people tweeting vulgar lines all including “WAP” which PLEASE cover your eyes if you are under 21 stands for “WET ASS PUSSY”. Yeah. OK 2020, you really got me. So, the socials went wild and crazy as Cardi B dropped this video on Thursday for this single featuring Megan Thee Stallion and the video was a whole lot of something. And inexplicably the video also featured Kylie Jenner in a non-sensical way which has also gotten the socials in an uproar calling her a “Culture Vulture” and in fact there is an actual petition to have her removed from the video. PEOPLE HATE IT. They hate that she is in it which to me signals a greater shift in the moment as could it be people are finally over the Kardashian clan to some extent? I mean it always eventually happens…you’re given too much of something and you become revolted by it? ANYWAY, case in point the uproar to the video which has Cardi B and others coming to her defense.

Look, come at me all you want, I just think the song is crap but I am obsessed with the video. I am all for women’s empowerment and we can sing about vagina all day long as far as I am concerned I just personally think the song is crap though you will probably have “There some whores in this house” playing in your head and for that I am TRULY sorry but it’s better than “Wet and gushy…” BUT I WILL SAY THIS. These ladies KNOW the market and know the moment and they own it and for that I love it so much and they are incredible talents even if you don’t like the song and hey maybe you DO like the song which is cool too. And I almost don’t even mind the song after seeing the video except I TOO rolled my eyes at the weird Kylie Jenner moment. But you decide as almost 60 million and counting have watched the video:

OK, LAST but certainly not least is the video that not only took the socials by storm, also shows the power of a viral moment as the classic song by Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight” is now in then Top 5 most iTunes this week which is more baffling to me not because of the popularity BUT WHO IS BUYING AND DOWNLOADING MUSIC NOW? I literally cannot figure this out but again…I digress. Here is the genius video that broke the Interwebs and all old people like me now feel hope for the young gen as if they can FEEL what we felt when we were their age listening to this song then we will be ok as a society. OK maybe that’s overstepping BUT these twin 21 year old brothers have hit something. The premise of their series is genius: they sit together and film themselves listening to “classics” for the first time and talking about it. Like an unboxing of classic hits. It’s genius:

AND this is not the first time “IN the Air Tonight” has hit it big on the socials. Our soon to be banned unless “AMERICA SAVES IT” TikTok saw another viral challenge, the Cabinet Challenge, take over which is strangely addictive:



I don’t know about you but I am pretty sure I pay MORE for content than I do for food and I consume a lot of food. I cannot even keep track WHAT I am paying for. Back in NYC I know I still pay for stupid Fios as they made it more expensive to dump the TV bundle package and just keep wifi. But I know I am also paying for Hulu and for the no ADs version which is a lie because I still get ads on random things and I pay for the Live stuff. I pay for Netflix. I pay for Amazon Prime. I pay for Apple TV+ and Disney Plus and I have Peacock which is awesome and free but I assume won’t be free ultimately. I even DO sometimes download movies from Apple when I am too lazy to see if I can find it elsewhere (that’s my avocado toast people, leave me be) and let’s not even talk about Spotify or Apple Music and podcast networks which I pay for too. I cannot bring myself to tally it all up because I cannot face it as I know it’s absurd. BUT I LOVE CONTENT. And we will get to that in a minute.

But first, let me explain HOW MUCH I LOVE HBO. HBO has always been there. That Home Box Office comfort to me is REAL. And COME ON…HOW MUCH DOES THIS TAKE YOU BACK???(Thank you Deborah!)

And does this sound NOT send off brain alerts to whatever you think comes next?

Like PLEASE tell me, what show does your brain automatically go to after hearing that sound?

Maybe it’s this:

Or this:


TRULY HBO is life for me and I can trace my decades in time thru these intros.

But on Friday, just as I was about to ride my Peloton, I was buying time and answering texts and a friend asked me whether she needed HBO Max and I was trying to explain but realized I COULD NOT EXPLAIN. I actually have no idea what is what anymore. I PERSONALLY know I have HBO via Fios so I could get HBO Max via Apple TV by signing in to my Fios which by the way is a nightmare because every now and then it just makes me re-sign in like I am sitting there and I have to go to some stupid website on my phone and sign in and then it again activates it on my Apple TV but I digress.

But I was trying to explain the differences between HBO Max, HBO Go and HBO Now and I COULD NOT. While I understand apparently HBO Go is gone it still pops up when you search for HBO online and it is all confusing. So again, I was buying time before Ally Love was going to KICK MY ASS on Peloton, I innocently tweeted:

I mean I was — am — legitimately confused. Also, it turns out HBO Max is NOT a joint venture between HBO and Cinemax. WHO knew. Well, it turns out a LOT of people were confused and a lot of people were frustrated which ultimately is an amazing thing for HBO because we all fucking care about it. A LOT. WE LOVE YOU HBO. And then the new CEO of HBO responded to me on the Twitter which I respect MADLY but OMG I am sorry all you amazing incredible comms people at HBO/WARNER/AT&T…I loves you!

BUT this brings to a way more interesting topic than my confusion over the different HBO brands at the moment and that is MULAN which Disney announced will be available on Disney Plus on September 4th since none of us can go to the movie theatre at the moment: RIP “sticky floors and people texting during the movie” movie theatres. So this is exciting news and at first I balked at the price: $29.99 (I thought at first this was just to rent but now I understand you can always have access to it if you buy it)…I was told by many friends with kids that this was a small price to pay at the moment and desperate times call for desperate measures and TBH WHO am I kidding as I know I KNOW I will succumb and pay it because it looks great and maybe the bigger point is WILL WE EVER HAVE TO LEAVE OUR COUCHES AGAIN???

But truth be told all I really want in life is Black Widow and I don’t know if this will be streamed but I think about it all the time because I want nothing more than to see this movie:

So will we ever have to leave our couches again? I mean if they are waiting for movie theatres to open up and I have to wait to see Black Widow until like 2022 I will be sad. But regardless, I KNOW I will be wearing sweatpants when I do.


Woo boy, I am on my 4th cup of coffee and realizing I do have a lot of work to do (why again did I decide to write a newsletter first thing Monday mornings when I do have a real job that usually is SO busy post weekend but alas THIS is my cross to bear — I used to think it was “bare” but I was corrected and that doesn’t even make sense obviously). Anyway, a few more things that happened last week:

  • Where was Anna Wintour? Back in April in Italy, 2 friends were trying to keep busy during lockdown and began playing tennis from their rooftops together. It went viral of course. And now this. While this is ultimately an ad for Barilla, I LOVE IT SO MUCH. You will get goose bumps and the little hairs on your neck will stand up.
  • 2020 Challenge started by Reese Witherspoon then turned into a thing:
  • This girl is a hero. The Georgia student who was suspended and then not suspended for sharing the pic of her crowded school in Georgia talked about her mom telling her “good trouble” was always ok. All the feels.

Until next week, my Pop Culture Junkies. THOUGH next week MAY be delayed just a heads up because I am getting HAND surgery so that will be super interesting navigating typing without a right hand. 🤚 SO we shall see.

If you have ANY FEEDBACK or suggestions please lmk and as always please share this NEWSLETTER with your peeps!

Anyway, please stay SAFE. Wear 😷 when you are out in public and be kind to one another and BE EASY ON YOURSELF and stay safe.

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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.

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Brooke Hammerling

Brooke Hammerling

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

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