Is rock n' roll a young person's game?

The q pop culture panel discusses the presidential election, HBO's new series Divorce and old rock stars who are still rockin'
Musician Pete Townshend of The Who performing onstage during Desert Trip in Indio, California. (Getty Images)

Our q pop culture panellists — this week, Rachel Giese of Chatelaine, Esquire columnist Stephen Marche and Josh Ostroff, senior editor at the Huffington Post Canada — take on the worthy, contentious, and crazy stories from the week in arts and entertainment.

At issue today:

  • The collision of pop culture and the 2016 presidential election. This year's U.S. election cycle has already involved Howard Stern, Playboy, Rosie O'Donnell and now, Access Hollywood. Has pop culture eaten reality? Ostroff argues that we've been "pop culturizing" politics since the '60s and '70s but Marche notes that the difference this time around is the inclusion of social media. "This is the first election where Facebook matters more than The New York Times and it's pretty frightening," Marche says. On the flip side of Facebook and Twitter's effects on politics and pop culture, though, is an election such as the one held in Canada that yielded Justin Trudeau's rise to power. Marche adds, "When it is controlled in the right way, it can facilitate expertise." 

  • HBO's new comedy, Divorce. Sarah Jessica Parker, of Sex and the City fame, returns to HBO in a new comedy written by British TV star Sharon Horgan. As the panelists point out, the show is filled with unlikable characters but perhaps there's something deeper to explore beyond mid-life crises. "If you look at this as a metaphor for the empty heart of post-great recession upper middle class consumerism then maybe there's something there," Ostroff says. "I find that interesting in the same way that Battlestar Galactica was an interesting look at the war on terror but if you look at it as a show about people [...] I didn't root for anyone." 
  • "Oldchella" and the appeal of old rock stars. From the recent Desert Trip festival in California (which many dubbed "Oldchella") featuring everyone from Paul McCartney to The Who, to upcoming releases from Leonard Cohen and The Rolling Stones, old rockers are still rockin' — but is the genre a young person's game? Giese breaks down the complexities within the rock genre, pointing at Cohen and the late-David Bowie as examples of artists who dove deeper into their experiences of growing old. But, she continues, "I think for a lot of people, they don't go to see the Rolling Stones because they want to know the Rolling Stones' take on what it means to age; I think they want to go to the Rolling Stones to feel 19 again."


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