Since I follow The Onion's AV Club on Facebook, I see their Q&A feature pop up in my feed on a regular basis. They're the sort of writing prompts I can't resist and I'm not going to let the fact that I'm not technically (meaning "in any sense") in the AV Club prevent me from offering up my answers to their questions. 

This is the fourth one I've done. Here are the first, the second, and the third.


What pop culture you love is most difficult to explain?

I may get roasted for this, but Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch is a movie I just can't abandon to the people who (maybe correctly) bash it for its misogyny. Snyder is an ambitious visual director who struggles to get his point across clearly. In Sucker Punch, I see one of the most ambitious movies I've ever seen. He tries to one-up Brazil both in terms of depicting fantasies that intersect with reality and with his outrageous anachronistic set pieces. 

Maybe I was seeing things that weren't there, but I think his depictions of the women's fantasies were positive, both in intent and execution. I say "think" because I can understand arguments to the contrary. The film's point of view is too shifty for its own good. I'm not sure that Sucker Punch is really a good film, but it tries to be a great one, and I love it for that, even if it doesn't hit the bullseye. 

What pop culture did you eventually come around on?

When I was working for record stores, we used to take home promotional copies of records once we were done playing them in-store. In some cases, the record was never going to get any play and we just gave them away immediately. Since they were freebies, we often left with music we'd never heard of and weren't particularly invested in giving a long listen to. 

I brought home the promotional copy of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, which was a cassette, half-heartedly listened to it on my way home in the car, and immediately gave it to a friend who I thought might like that sort of thing. It turns out a crummy car stereo is the wrong way to listen to one of the most intricately-crafted guitar albums of all time. Who knew? Anyway, headphones turned me around on this one. The album sounds like being drunk at night on a merry-go-round in the absolute best way possible.

What’s your favorite comfort food? 

This is going to be the most pedestrian answer to this question you can imagine, but the honest answer is: Anything with chicken broth in it. Growing up, my mother would give me chicken soup and a salad for lunch when I was home sick from school. Ever since then, I've associated chicken broth with comfort. Chicken noodle soup, of course, but also chicken and dumplings, chicken ramen, chiken pho, and cream of chicken soup.

If I had to pick one, though, it would be what commonly passes for tortilla soup in these parts. The spices, the aroma of the cilantro, the cheese, and even the baby ear of corn, all spell "comfort" to me. If we're low on cash or just want something to warm our bones, Nicole cooks up a giant pot of her homemade tortilla soup using a whole chicken and we'll eat that for four or five nights in a row. I never get tired of it, and I'm always a little sad when we finally run out.

What’s your favorite pop culture about change?

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman reads like an anthology series made out of nesting dolls. There are stories within stories within stories. It's not until you get near the end, around "Brief Lives," that the pattern starts to emerge (of course, Delirium flat-out giving it away helps): The Sandman is about the Destruction brought on by change and the price of being unwilling to accept change.

I was about to write "The beauty of the series is in..." and I just can't narrow it down like the. There's beauty in the telling, in the sly way the overarching story unfolds, in the complimentary one-off stories, in the art, and in the way it ends the way it must end and still manages to surprise. Change is inevitable; how you react to it (or don't) determines its impact.