Why is nothing happening lately?

This post is going to be relatively short. It’s essentially going to me discussing my issues with writing over the last couple of weeks. In part, I blame my very busy life. As a full-time student with a part time job, I rely heavily on detailed time management as it is. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been moving and I partially blame that on my lack of inspiration for good content. That part is entirely on me. I have not been able to do research to create anything worth sharing. This is totally on me and I apologize.

The other half of blame goes to the fact that there is nothing really happening in the pop-culture or political world that I have deemed worth writing about. No artists I really care about are releasing new music in the immediate future. The Carter V is due to release tonight but it’s going to be a letdown no matter what due to the extended time fans have had to spend waiting for its release. I won’t have anything of substance to write about in regards to politics until closer to the midterm elections, barring something unforeseen. The controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh is big news right now, but my take on that doesn’t warrant a full article. Sexual assault is bad and someone who has been accused of it by multiple women shouldn’t be appointed to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. That’s fairly obvious to any sane human being. I’m not deep into any new TV shows, I haven’t seen any good movies lately, and frankly for this week, I’ve got nothing. I’m working on a long-term article for Mid-American Culture but it’s nowhere near ready to be published. And so, I have decided to take this opportunity to rant to our readers about my lack of content this week. Blame it on me. Blame it on my busy schedule. Blame it on nothing big in the entertainment world. However, that’s the life of a writer. We all hit writers block from time to time, whatever the cause may be. Next week, I will be back in my usual form brining you some fire content. In the meantime, check out some of the other great content here on Mid-American Culture!

A Gem of 1950’s Television

Earlier in the week, I was watching videos of some of the greatest speeches in history, because I am a nerd. However, after a video of Robert F. Kennedy’s announcement and subsequent speech regarding the assassination of MLK (which, if you’re interested in such a thing, is a must-watch speech), I stumbled upon something entirely different. In the list of suggested videos, I was enticed to click on a video titled “Last Witness to President Abraham Lincoln Assassination I’ve Got A Secret”. To my surprise, it was a clip from a 1950’s gameshow called I’ve Got A Secret.

I was immediately hooked. I found the premise of the show, as well as the retro 1950’s television style to be immensely entertaining. The basic premise of the show is that a contestant with some sort of secret or quirk is brought out by the host, and their secret is subsequently told to the host and the audience. Following this revelation, a panel of four people (whom, based on my research, are all relatively famous personalities from that era) ask the guest simple yes or no questions regarding their secret in an attempt to guess what it is. Each panelist is timed, and following the questioning period of each panelist, the contestant is rewarded with $20 until their secret is guessed, or until each panelist has had the opportunity to question them, resulting in a total potential winnings of $80.

The host and panel of I’ve Got A Secret are a huge part of what makes the show so entertaining. During its nearly 15 year lifespan, the show had a number of hosts and panelists. My personal favorite lineup consists of Garry Moore as host, with a panel of Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Faye Emerson. Their back and forth banter and witty personalities make for some of the show’s best content. It is worth mentioning that Betsy Palmer is also a fairly entertaining panelist. However, based on what I have seen, a lineup consisting of anyone else is inferior comparted to the one mentioned above. They make for the most entertaining episodes by a long shot.

 

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Cast: Host (standing) Garry Moore, Panel (seated from left to right) Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, Faye Emerson

 

 

There are many different aspects of I’ve Got A Secret that make it so entertaining. On the surface, it is a fun game show. The very nature of the guessing game makes it very fun to watch. But beyond that, the show is downright fascinating. It provides a glimpse into American culture from a time before many of us (or even our parents) were alive. Things were so much different in the 1950’s. I’ve Got a Secret is a prime example of both the good and bad of 1950’s culture and society. Much of the fun in the viewing of this show is comparing and contrasting the differences between then and now. For much of the show’s run, its primary sponsor was Winston Cigarettes. Not only is the show littered with Winston advertisements (something that would never fly today), but a carton of Winston cigarettes were given to each contestant in most of the clips I have found. This could absolutely never happen today. As a matter of fact, in one clip, which I was unfortunately unable to find again to put in this article, host Garry Moore gave a carton of Winstons to his guests, who were two small boys who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old. While he did tell them to be sure that they gave them to their dads, could you imagine if a television host today handed two small children cartons of cigarettes? It is small cultural differences like this that make the show so interesting. If you can look past the occasional comment that could be deemed as sexist or inappropriate by today’s standards, the show has great entertainment value.

 

I would highly recommend the show to anyone who thinks they might be interested in this glimpse of 50’s culture. There are literally dozens upon dozens of clips from the show available on YouTube. All you have to do is search “I’ve Got A Secret” and you will be provided with hours of quality content. Just make sure you have plenty of free time before you start watching. I have spent hours watching clips and full episodes of I’ve Got a Secret since I discovered it.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of the other articles from me and the rest of the Mid-American Culture staff!

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

Weekly Playlist: I’m Just Sayin’ You Could Do Better

 

 

The Most Overrated Eating Establishment of All Time

Prior to today, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week. My busy schedule paired with being sick has kept me from brainstorming any ideas for articles. This problem solved itself when I saw my breakfast.

Knowing that I was in for another busy day, my mother was sweet enough to get me a Tudors biscuit. As a matter of fact, it was an order of biscuits and gravy with a hash brown. While I was all sorts of grateful she was kind enough to do this, I was quickly reminded of my complete and utter hatred of Tudor’s Biscuit World.

Tudor’s is a staple in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. I have absolutely no earthly idea why. The line at Tudor’s in the mornings has been known to literally prevent the flow of traffic at my local location. It is mind-boggling why this happens. The is virtually always a 10+ minute long wait. Once you finally get to the menu to place your order, you can’t understand a word that the person speaking through the speaker says. Once you finally get to the window, you’re handed your food by a drive-thru worker who, in my personal experience, generally isn’t very nice. The disappointment only continues when you get home and prepare to eat the food. To my constant horror, my biscuits are literally ALWAYS burnt. I genuinely can not remember the last time I went to Tudor’s and they didn’t burn my biscuit. How difficult is it for a restaurant specializing in biscuits to properly prepare a biscuit? Literally the only redeeming qualities I can name about Tudor’s is that they have a rather good gravy which generally can make their burnt monstrosity of a biscuit palatable (depending on how burnt it is), and they also have very good coffee. I would be amiss if I weren’t to mention these two things as a sort of counter to my rant.

When I moved to this area approximately 12 years ago, I experienced Tudor’s for the first time. Given the hype, I was exciting. I left bitterly disappointed then. I leave there bitterly disappointed to this day. In my opinion, Tudor’s is hands down the most overrated eating establishment I have ever experienced.

Thanks for reading and please don’t flame me too hard for my hot take on Tudor’s. Be sure to check out the other great content from the guys at Mid-American Culture. I hope to be finished with Far Cry 5 next week to give a full review!

My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Blog Twitter: @M_American_C

Far Cry 5: My First Impressions

Far Cry 5 was the most excited I’ve been for a new video game since the release of Mafia 3 in 2016. Despite my excitement, I was skeptical. Mafia 2 was one of my favorite games of all time and Mafia 3’s attempt to follow it up had fallen horrendously short and left me immensely disappointed. Far Cry 5 is in an almost identical situation: following up one of my favorite games of all time (Far Cry 4) and facing great expectations from the gaming community. The setup could not be better for Far Cry 5 to be a failure as well.

With that being said, I do not consider Far Cry 5 to be a failure at this point. It does, however, have some noteworthy problems. At the time of writing this article, I am approximately 4 hours of play time into the game. I have encountered several bugs that forced me to either manually restart missions or led me to an inevitable death that forced me to restart at a prior checkpoint. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating this is, especially considering my next gripe with the game. The combat is very very challenging. While I must point out that I am used to Fortnite combat, which is a far cry different than that of Far Cry 5 (pun intended). But regardless, I found myself dying far more than I ever should as early as I was into the game. Perhaps the combat will get easier as I become more familiar. I simply wouldn’t be honest in giving my initial thoughts of the game if I didn’t mention that. My only other significant complaint about the game thus far is that the open-world concept that the game employs may be a little too open world, if that makes any sort of sense. The missions are entirely spread out throughout the immense map as of this point, the game doesn’t feel linear in the slightest. I feel as if I could do these quests in any order and the game would make just as much sense as it does now. It is worth mentioning again that I am only around 4 hours into a campaign that is said to be able to last up to 25 hours, so the story may line up more as time progresses.

Now that my issues with the game are out of the way, I can talk about the good. First off, I absolutely love the game’s concept. The idea of fighting a right-wing religious cult in the heartland of America speaks to me on a subconscious level. This fresh concept paired with the current real-world political climate make the game that much more enthralling. In addition to this, I find the game’s main protagonists, the 4 members of the Seed family, to be utterly brilliant. Each has their own twisted, semi-psychotic characteristics. This makes them extremely easy to hate, a quality which they share with Far Cry 4’s protagonist Pagan Min. The story, elevated by these great protagonists, has potential to be fantastic if executed properly. I look forward to seeing if the campaign meets its full potential. Before I wrap up my favorite parts of the game, I feel like I have to mention the Pee Tape mission. Early on in my play-through, I encountered a certain familiar CIA agent from past games in the series who had been tasked with recovering a videotape that was said to be greatly embarrassing to the in-game President of the United States. The subtle innuendos and references to the so called “Pee Tape” which is rumored to contain video proof of Russian prostitutes urinating on President Donald Trump are absolutely hilarious. I was so glad the game included a real-world reference like this, especially given its parallel to our current political climate. I really enjoyed it.

Overall, I feel that the game has a lot of potential. With bug fixes certain to be coming in the form of updates and further plot development, it could really be something special. It may even have what it takes to beat out its predecessor. Once I finish the game, I will post a full review and give my final thoughts on it. This may come as early as next Wednesday, or as late as the following Wednesday. Regardless, you can rest assured that it is coming. In the meantime, check out some of the other great content put out by the Mid-American Culture crew. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday.

My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

My Top 10 Movies of All Time Part: I

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I consider myself to be a massive cinephile. I absolutely love movies and I am greatly fascinated by the art of filmmaking. A few days ago, I was asked by someone I know what my favorite movies of all time are. This question threw me for a loop because while I certainly have a plethora of favorite movies, I’d never tried to put them in any sort of order. That was until now. Here is the first part of a two part series on my favorite movies of all time!

10. Seven

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Seven is simply a brilliant piece of cinema. David Fincher’s thriller about a serial killer who bases his murders on the seven deadly sins features brilliant acting from a star-studded cast which includes Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey. The crime drama makes the bold move of not revealing the killer on whom the movie is based until the film’s final portion. This withholding of the main antagonist’s identity makes for phenomenal suspense building. The film concludes with a controversial, yet brilliant ending. Anyone who enjoys crime dramas should immediately watch Seven, if they have not already.

9. Shutter Island

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In my opinion, Shutter Island is Martin Scorsese’s finest work. This is a relatively bold statement, considering he also directed classics such as Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi driver, and The Wolf of Wall Street. However, Shutter Island is a strong contender for the title of greatest psychological thriller of all time. Not only does the film feature one of the best plot twists I’ve ever seen, but it also has what I consider to be the greatest ambiguous ending in the history of cinema. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as a U.S. Marshall searching for an escaped mental patient is stellar, as is the rest of the cast. The entire movie is spectacular from start to finish.

8. The Dark Knight

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Simply put, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is the best superhero movie ever made. I will happily debate anyone who disagrees. Nolan has directed several films that could have easily made this list, but The Dark Knight is just the best. No superhero movie has ever mixed action and storytelling as well as The Dark Knight does. The film also features what I consider to be the greatest movie performance of all time in Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker. I genuinely do not believe that a better superhero movie will ever be made. The Dark Knight is as good as the genre will ever be.

7. Toy Story

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I know… Toy Story isn’t exactly a movie you would expect to see on a best of all time list. But please, hear me out. There is not a movie in existence that had a more prolific impact on my childhood. There is not a kid’s movie that I could fathom saying is better than Toy Story. No greater animated characters exist than Buzz Lightyear and Woody. I could watch Toy Story today and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time I saw it 15+ years ago. also worth mentioning is the fact that one of the film’s future sequels, Toy Story 3, is the best sequel in the history of animation. Toy Story is a cultural icon that absolutely deserves to be in the discussion of greatest films of all time.

6.Citizen Kane

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Moving on to a much more traditional pick, we have Citizen Kane. The film is the oldest on this list by a country mile. However, that doesn’t take away from its greatness. In fact, I think the age of the film makes it that much better because it is so ahead of its time. Orson Welles’ 1941 epic was his directorial debut. It was also his masterpiece. The film, which was written, produced, directed, and starred in by Welles himself, documents the life, death, and legacy of fictional publishing mogul Charles Foster Kane. Considered by many critics to be the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane is an example of storytelling at its finest. The film is a must see for any cinephile. I guarantee you wont be disappointed.

That concludes Part I of my two part series on my favorite movies of all time. Next week’s post will feature my top 5, as well as some honorable mentions. Make sure to check it out as well! Feel free to comment some of your favorite movies of all time as well. Thanks for reading.

Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

 

 

 

Why Professional Wrestling Is Struggling In Today’s Culture

Professional wrestling has been a cultural staple in the United States, particularly in the South and Mid-Western parts of the country, for decades. Being a 90’s baby and the son of a huge professional wrestling fan, I grew up watching wrestling during what I believe to be the best time in the history of the sport. During a significant part of my childhood, wrestling was everything to me. I idolized the wrestlers. I collected the action figures (to this day, I still have literally hundreds of them boxed up in my garage). I proudly wore my replica championship belts. I watched WWE programming religiously. Wrestling was my greatest childhood passion.

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However, wrestling gradually began to lose its appeal to myself and many other fans. At the time, I blamed my loss of interest on my discovery that the outcome of the matches were scripted and the departure of some of my favorite wrestlers from the sport. My recently rekindled love of wrestling has led me to reconsider this. I believe that a cultural shift and the industry’s attempts to keep up with said shift are more to blame than anything else.

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Wrestling was arguably never more popular than it was in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The sport was at its peak during the “Monday Night Wars”. The Wars were actually a competition between the country’s two top wrestling promotions, World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment (then known as the World Wrestling Federation) for superiority over one another. The Monday Night Wars led to the beginning of the Attitude Era in the WWF. The borderline vulgar, often profanity-ridden, and violent storylines that came from the Attitude Era are some of the most entertaining content ever created by a wrestling promotion. Not only were the storylines great, but the characters were iconic and the viewer could really identify with them to an extent. Who didn’t want to give their boss the finger and pound beers like Stone Cold Steve Austin? Who didn’t want to have the charisma and swagger of The Rock? Who didn’t want to be as rebellious and controversial as the D-Generation X faction? No other point in wrestling history could even hold a candle to the Attitude Era.

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However, the sport took a drastic decline in the years following. After the demise of WCW, World Wrestling Entertainment stood as the only major player left in the world of professional wrestling. This led to a noticeable decline in quality. The crude, bloody action sport that wrestling was gradually declined into a series of watered-down matches between mostly goofy, generic characters. The change was undeniable. Ratings and house show numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years. These loses cant be blamed completely on the decline in quality, however. Even the less violent matches between the lower card wrestlers during the Attitude Era were great. So what is the issue?

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I personally believe that much of the problem is the change in culture in the last two decades. Ultimately, political correctness is a good thing. Simply put, it basically promotes common courtesy and respect being expanded to everyone regardless of who they are. It makes the community a better place. But, wrestling is not about that. Wrestling was so great during the Attitude Era because it provided viewers with an escape from all social norms. Fans could live vicariously through the wresters and experience things that are not plausible in the real world. As WWE became more mainstream and family friendly,    it strayed further and further away from what made it so great. While trying to move in a safer and more commercially acceptable direction is commendable, this alienates a vast percentage of the sport’s core fan base. The proof is in the numbers. The sport just isn’t the same.

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With that being said, it is important to note that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. That light comes in the form of  a man named Paul Levesque. Better known by his in-ring name Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Triple H), Levesque was a focal point of the Attitude Era. As a member and eventual leader of, the D-Generation X faction, Triple H played a key role in some of the Era’s most controversial moments. Levesque is also the son-in-law of WWE owner Vince McMahon. Many believe that Helmsley will eventually take over the company. This could lead to an instant resurgence of the things that made pro wrestling the cultural icon it is today.

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Only time will tell if WWE will return to its attitude-filled roots, but the future of the sport is certainly bright. Regardless of all of the flaws in the current WWE product I mentioned above, the current roster is arguably more athletically talented than ever before. With the right kind of help from the creative team, the wrestling promotion could easily return to its former glory. While the Attitude Era deeply contrasts what political correct culture is about, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Professional wrestling is scripted and predetermined. It is done for the sake of entertainment. Entertainment needs to continue to push boundaries. The world of professional wrestling can do that by bringing back what made it so edgy and exciting, despite pressure to conform to social pressure. While it does not need to turn to the gory, uber-violent, and often outright offensive content of a promotion like Extreme Championship Wrestling, WWE  does need to recapture some of the grit it exhibited during the Attitude Era. This kind of sports entertainment could succeed, and even thrive, in todays culture. It is time to bring the attitude back to professional wrestling and that’s the bottom line…….

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Twitter: @ BigRedAFerg

Reviews Through A Friend: Talking Heads’ Remain in Light

Let me start off by saying that reviewing music is by no means my strong suit. While I did write an article about Drake last week, I consider myself to be uniquely qualified to do that because of how big a fan of his I am. I can talk politics, sneakers, and Attitude-Era professional wrestling with the best of them, but the intricacies of music are not something I fancy myself to be an expert on. However, for the sake of Mid-American Culture and the Reviews Through A Friend series, here is my attempt at it.

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Remain in Light is one of the more interesting albums I have ever heard. By interesting, I’m not entirely sure if I mean genuinely intriguing or downright weird. In all likelihood, it’s probably a little bit of both. Apple Music has the album listed under the “pop” category. I’m glad they managed to stick some sort of label on it because I have no idea what to call it.

In my opinion, the album has three standout tracks: Once In a Lifetime, The Great Curve, and The Overload. Each of these songs has a respective quirk that drew me to each. I am a fan of slam poetry. Talking Heads front-man David Byrne uses a vocal style toward the midway point of Once In a Lifetime that reminds me of the cadence one would use when delivering slam poetry and I really enjoyed hearing it. The Great Curve is the most lyrically interesting song on the album. The Overload, the album’s closing number, features a darker tone than the rest of the album I found this sound to be particularly appealing. I wish the whole album had this darker vibe.

Overall, I found the album to be quite an interesting listen. I will be perfectly honest. At first, I was not a fan of the album. After the first couple of songs, I thought I was going to hate it. It was so different from anything I normally listen to that I was simply put off by it. Even after I discovered the three tracks discussed above that I particularly enjoyed, I was not crazy about the album. however, I found myself re-listening to it in the days following my initial listen and soon I found myself beginning to enjoy it more and more. I really liked the psychedelic vibes and the unique musical qualities. I would rank the album as a 6.5-7/10 and would certainly recommend it to someone looking to experience a new, unique kind of music that they have probably never been exposed to before.

Make sure to check out the other posts in our Reviews Through A Friend series and to give our Weekly Waves playlist a listen. Thanks for reading!

Twitter: @ BigRedAFerg