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"A refreshingly honest love-hate letter to pop culture. Nicholas Belardes doesn't try to pretend that our tech and media obsessions can either be reduced to guilty pleasures or influential icons of our time. Instead, with sharp and brutal introspection, he delves into what the shows, movies, novels, politics and tweets that consume him say about him, and causes us to do the same." -Natalia Sylvester, author of Chasing the Sun ". . . reads like a love letter to pop culture-I couldn't get enough. Belardes' essays are addictive: you finish one and can't wait to start the next. The snappy, fast-paced writing uses pop culture as a lens to look at everything-family, writing, jobs, gender, and ultimately what it means to be human. I binged on this book like it was a new season of Game of Thrones." -Lara Zielin, author of The Waiting Sky and The Implosion of Aggie Winchester "Nicholas Belardes has incisively given the world a stellar debut collection of essays," -Caroline Leavitt, NYT best-selling author of Cruel Beautiful World, This is Tomorrow, and Pictures of You "Many of my favorite books are actually rants. On the Road was Kerouac's expression of being "mad to live." Lord of the Rings was an elegantly elven diatribe against the tree-killing machines of war and industry, along with being the best-ever take-down of Nazis. Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a gorgeous screed of Sixties counterculture. I could go on and that is part of the point-they DO go on and thank god for that because all ideas can't be expressed in 140 characters. Nicholas Belardes rants with the best of them and Didion better watch her back because he, too, has culture in his crosshairs. Belardes writes with a sharp eye and an even sharper pen. Covering cinema, pop obsessions, history and the not so United States, he is an articulate witness to the strange, stubborn and intractable truths of our time." -Brenda Knight, author of Women of the Beat Generation "David Foster Wallace meets Hunter S. Thompson in this ode to the triumphs and defeats of pop culture. Belardes might be the most informed, intelligent and hilariously iconoclastic guide we'll ever have to help us bridge the digital divide. Who else dares talk about Dostoevsky in the same breath as Winona Ryder? In Belardes's nimble mental meanderings, we find Rilke alongside Sam the Mattress Man, Knossos alongside Las Vegas. Even as he is telling us everything we always wanted to know about Holden Caulfield and Luke Skywalker but were afraid to ask, Belardes's underlying message becomes increasingly clear: art has been dumbed down, artifice is everywhere, and we no longer know what "real" is. "We. Can't. Feel." Belardes says, but he's no misanthrope, and in these essays, we find ourselves in the astute and tender company of someone who loves the world." -Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men