Pop Culture Free Time June 2021: A Park Mystery, Reaction Videos, & the Bubonic Plague
Yes, this edition of my monthly personal pop culture round-up, the June 2021 Free Time, is later than usual. That’s because June was kind of a dull month. (They don’t call it June gloom for nothing, amirite, folks? Tip your waitress.) In doing my usual pre-writing rumination, I was like, did June even happen?
But there’s probably a reason for the slow feeling. It came to me first when I was watching the trailers before A Quiet Place II. There were so many of them, and they were all for July releases. We have a firehose of content coming to us this month, so it’s not surprising that June was so dry. Nevertheless, I did consume some pop cultures that are worth discussion. Let’s get it.
June 2021 Free Time Reading Club: Speaking of Dry
Unfortunately, though, I didn’t have a lot of luck with books last month. I just didn’t like most of them that I read. However, I did read some good ones, like The Nameless Ones, which I wrote briefly about in my piece on Louis and Angel. I also enjoyed The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris.
composite image via Atria Books
Like many, many books and movies and TV shows, Harris’s book has been compared to Get Out. But while I felt that other works were just capitalizing on the basic bones of Jordan Peele’s movie, without considering the meaning of it, I found this book closer in spirit than most. That’s not to say, though, that it’s an exact copy of the movie’s story, which is another thing I’ve disliked about a lot of the Get Out-alikes. Instead, the book presents a different story.
It follows Nella, an assistant at a publishing company. When the company hires Hazel, another Black woman, Nella is excited at first. However, as Hazel’s tenure at the company continues, Nella’s life starts to spin out of control. Is it Hazel or is it something else? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. By the way, despite the Get Out comparisons, the book’s ending reminded me more of something else, an iconic book. I can’t say what it is, though, because if you know how that one ends, then you can guess this book’s ending.
And outside of my mystery/thriller books, I just like mysteries in general. (I go to sleep every morning to the dulcet sounds of original Robert Stack-hosted Unsolved Mysteries.) So unsurprisingly, I found this story, about a ranger who just up and vanished, particularly fascinating.
The Things I Put in My Eyeballs Last Month
As I said, June was a dry and arid month, entertainment-wise. No place was that more evident than with TV and movies. Yeah, there was some new stuff, but not a lot of it appealed to me. As for the stuff that did, I mean…I enjoy the Gordon Ramsey Yells at People genre as much as anyone, but it’s not that interesting to talk about it.
So I mostly retreated to my regular alternative, reaction videos. I’ve been watching my usuals, but I’m always discovering new folks. For example, I really like The Cornerverse, a trio of British gals who watch and react to TV shows. Currently, I’m watching them react to the shocks and thrills of How to Get Away with Murder. I’m also watching them watch Bridgerton, of course, as Joshua (Bridgerton Fan Club member #001) legally mandated me to follow its developments.
But it wasn’t all reaction videos. Like Bridgerton stan Joshua M. Patton, I was happy to see the return of Evil‘s God squad. I thought the first few episodes were a little too heavy on Leland–he’s better in small doses. But I’m glad to see they’ve easily shifted back into case-of-the-week stories, which are just as juicy and compelling as last season’s.
Listening Room: I Can’t Just Say That I Celebrated BTS’s Entire Catalog, Huh
Yeah, so update: My strange and encompassing love for Bangtan Sonyeondan has not abated. To that end, they have provoked me into making my first Funko Pop purchase, a thing I definitely never thought would happen. But I’m not going to talk about them too much (because I do that IRL), since I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say later this month.
As far as other music goes, according to my Spotify statistics, I’ve spent the last four weeks mostly listening to relatively old stuff. And definitely old stuff like Looking Glass’s classic banger, “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).” As I’ve mentioned on my social media, I know it’s presented as a sad story, but I think it’s the dream. I work a job where people tell me I’m great, my partner and I pursue our own interests, and I live in a town safe enough to walk home alone at night? Sign me up.
In non-music news, Last Podcast on the Left started a series on the Black Death, which will conclude this week. While I like the true crime episodes, as well as the ones on more…fanciful topics, I always appreciate the shows on historic events. I think it’s an example of LPotL at their best: well-researched and interesting to listen to, but still funny as hell. (On a related note, Jack Quaid posted a selfie last week to Instagram in which he’s wearing a LPotL shirt, because there are DOZENS OF US!)
So that’s how I occupied my time last month. Stay tuned for my report for this month, though, which should be positively overflowing with stuff.
And of course, tell me how you spent your June 2021 free time by commenting here or on our social media.
featured image from Evil via CBS/Paramount Plus
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at email@example.com.