Open Questions

Open Questions: The Pop-Culture Audit

A hand with a pencil filling in bubbles on a test paper.

Admittedly, they're not multiple-choice questions, but you can still sketch out your answers in pencil before you submit them if you like. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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We are reaching a changing of the seasons. The big summer movies have opened; the awards-baiting movies haven't begun. Fall television is just starting with things like Project Runway and Mad Men returning and big network shows still about a month away. There's a bit of a lull, and what's a lull good for? A moment of reflection, that's what.

So this is where I invite you to audit the culture around you — both the good and the bad — and consider a few questions in the areas of movies, TV, books, games, digital culture...whatever "popular culture" means to you. You can choose one, or answer as many as you can fit into the character limit, or you can comment more than once, if that suits you.

1. What has been your biggest pleasant surprise of the last three months? (This takes you, so you don't have to do math, back to late May.)

2. What has been the rudest surprise of the last three months?

3. What are you most looking forward to between now and New Year's?

4. What are you dreading most between now and New Year's?

5. If, at this moment, you could only watch television between now and December 31, or you could only see movies between now and December 31, which would you choose if you knew you couldn't go back later and catch up on what you missed?

6. If you could press one book you have read this year into the hands of ten strangers when they were trapped during a blackout with nothing to do but read, what would you give them?

7. What are you currently trying to like and finding it difficult to like?

8. If you could guarantee that five people — actors, writers, directors, whoever — would have their calendars filled with funded projects for the next five years, to whom would you grant full employment?

9. What do you love in spite of being outside the target demographic? (Example: "I am a nineteen-year-old dude and I loved The Proposal.")

10. If you could personally wave your wand and stop one trend — toy movies, remakes, crime procedurals — what would be your target?

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