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Underrated and Overrated in pop culture

David Lowery, Apple TV, Aaron Sorkin and 'Call Me Maybe.'

July 01, 2012

UNDERRATED

David Lowery: What were the odds that this frontman for Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker would become such an advocate for the modern musician? In two well-considered posts that went viral online, Lowery first broke down the harsh realities of the new music industry, then took a young NPR intern to task for bragging about not paying for music. Whether you agree with Lowery or not, he's doing important work in furthering the conversation.

Apple TV: Dismissed by its own company as a "hobby," this little square hockey puck is a surprisingly enticing option for those ready to cut out their cable. Bringing the computer into the living room in an intuitive, simple way, it's intriguing to access your music and streaming video using Apple's typically elegant interface. Now all it needs is to be open to more of the Internet's riches (with, say, a browser or Hulu) and we'll really "think different" about TV.

OVERRATED

Aaron Sorkin, in interviews: Though the reviews for "The Newsroom" have been unfavorable, Sorkin still is one of television's most brilliant writers, and odds are his new HBO show will still feature no shortage of goose bump-raising lines. Still, he'd be a lot easier to root for if another writer could put words in his mouth every now and then because his anti-Internet rants have started sounding anti-modernity — and the sooner he lays off his condescending tone the better.

The 'Call Me Maybe' Craze: Every summer brings one song that requires a frozen poker to the eardrum to escape, and 2012's is this brain-infesting confection from Carly Rae Jepsen, which for some reason inspired a whole raft of musicians and celebrities to make a cover video in response. Although one involving the Roots and Jimmy Fallon was pretty cute, it's time for everyone to take a step back before the virus spreads further — for the good of mankind.

—Chris Barton

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