Pop Life

A collection of essays on film & television, music & home audio, classic & modern video games, and politics & daily life.

446 pages. Release Date: 11/21/2017

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Author and critic Daniel Thomas MacInnes has written about pop culture, politics and life for over 20 years, through zines, newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites. In POP LIFE, he shares observations on movies, music, video games, politics and life with biting wit, humor and keen insight.

Continuing the tradition of Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Klosterman, Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael, Pop Life is a sprawling rock double album, a thoughtful, satirical and savage journey through the heart of the American Dream.

On The Simpsons Movie: “Good Lord, this movie stinks. I’ve seen washed up rock bands age more gracefully than this.”

On Michael Jackson: “The beautiful boy never had a chance. Buy yer tickets, get yer kicks. You’ve been champing at the big for this moment for years. Now watch the Thriller zombies chew on the corpse.”

On Lou Reed: “Rock ‘n roll is supposed to be dangerous. It is not supposed to be safe or predictable. It does not belong exclusively to your stupid high school clique. It is not supposed to be used for selling cars, or cheap soda, or insurance companies, or greedy retailers. Giving sloppy wet kisses to The Man is not the goal. Sticking it to The Man is what you do.”

On Miles Davis’ Pangaea: “The evening concert ends, everything has been said, every drop of energy left on that stage. I have the feeling that Miles couldn’t play another note if he tried. He gave all of himself on these two shows, and you can hear it. There’s a tone of sadness in the final minutes, the final dissonant organ wails that hang in the air. This spectacular era of Miles Davis’ long career, so reviled and misunderstood, so far beyond its time, is coming to its end.”

On Avril Lavigne: “Why is Barbie Doll #3247 — otherwise known by the informal title, ‘Avril Lavigne’ — given a credible interview on her latest pre-packaged CD? What’s the point? Why don’t you interview Ms. Pac-Man next? It would be the same thing. This little Barbie clone is no more punk rock than a pair of shoes.”

On Sega’s NFL 2K1: “At the venerated Dinkytown Pizza Hut, we played Sega Dreamcast every weekend night until daybreak. NFL 2K1 was the champion bar none. There were always six or seven games lined up before the thing was even hooked up to the televisions. Beer, soda, bread sticks, pizza, all flowed freely. I have countless memories of team breakdowns and legendary comebacks, of haunting ghost sounds from the back of the kitchen, and grudges that never end.”

On the Video Game Industry: “The games business wants to be in the movie business. They’re consumed by Hollywood Envy. A videogame is not a movie, and it’s not a book. It’s a game. If it’s anything else, really, it’s a lucid dream or psychedelic trip. But above all, it’s a form of play.”

On Nostalgia: “Asking 45-year-olds to revisit their youth a generation ago, now that everything and everyone has scattered to the four winds, is a fool’s game. You’ll never recapture the spirit of those days. No artist can. This is bitter medicine for aging adults who look to their rock stars to turn back the clock, and turn us all into teenagers again. Everybody wants their favorite band to stick to the script, play the same old tunes, wear the same old clothes, live in the same lost era, for ever and ever. Amen.”

On American Empire: “America has become a cruel empire, its people tamed like domesticated pets, made impotent by fear and ignorance, as the evil minds that plot destruction wreak havoc upon the globe. The endless wars and misadventures only become more destructive and dangerous. We learn to become a less less caring, a little more cruel. This cancer grows and grows, and the patient either willfully ignores it, or worse still, cheers it on. ‘E Pluribus Unum’ has been replaced with ‘Screw the Other Guy, I’ve Got Mine.’ “

“the content is generally good, entertaining, and insightful as par the course with MacInnes…even if you don’t agree with DTM’s opinions, he still makes you think and he is never ever boring.

– Emilie, GoodReads critic