Do we need press schmoozing with our political figures?

q's pop culture panel weighs in on the worthy, contentious, and mind-boggling stories from the week in arts and entertainment.
For the first time in a decade, a sitting prime minister took part in The Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

q's pop culture panel weighs in on the worthy, contentious, and mind-boggling stories from the week in arts and entertainment. Opinionated and irreverent, our panel takes pop culture seriously (but not too seriously).

Today's panellists are Chatelaine editor-at-large Rachel Giese, Esquire's Stephen Marche and editor of Little Brother magazine Emily Keeler.

  • The Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner was held last Saturday, June 4 — or "Nerd Prom" as they call it in Ottawa — but is it necessary for our press and politicians to have such a night? While Jennifer Ditchburn, longtime Parliament Hill reporter and now the editor in chief of Policy Options, says these events are to preserve sanity and civility between reporters and politicians, our panel disagrees citing a different press culture here compared to the hostility in the States. "I really dont think it's the job of the press to be civil," Marche says, "I mean, I think it's the job of the press to be rude, actually."
  • Has John Oliver outdone Oprah? On the Sunday, June 5, episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight, Oliver claimed to have bought $15 million of medical debt, though it really cost the show $60,000. In the episode, Oliver explains that banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar to debt collectors, so the host started his own company — CARP, for the bottom-feeding fish — and forgave the purchased debt. While this may not beat the $8 million Oprah spent on cars for an entire audience, our panel believes it highlights Oliver's commitment to exposing the system. "One of the strengths of John Oliver is that he demystifies very boring things that have deep affect on American politics, banking and life," says Keeler. 
  • Hollywood keeps growing their fantasy film franchises, but with recent movies receiving mostly poor reviews and low box office numbers, our panel agrees that the "non-essential" sequel movement should end. From the superhero films that Keeler says seem made for dads to fuel their nostalgia, to the ones Marche says are made for such a broad audience that they ultimately end up being for no audience, we have to wonder where this trend started. "I think the beginning of the end — I hate to say it — probably the original Star Wars, but then certainly the prequel Star Wars," Giese says. "Those were three huge movies that never needed to be made." 
  • What's your advice for Hollywood on making sequels that don't suck? Let us know in the comments, by email, on Facebook or on Twitter.


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