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Popular culture abounds with reasons for aesthetic and intellectual hope. It's also rich (as are all other cultures of art and entertainment) with examples of work that only seems deep from certain perspectives. "Royals" is narcotically catchy and problematic.

In "Lily Allen's Anti-Black Feminism," Ayesha Siddiqi nicely calls out Allen, Lorde, and Macklemore for "the myopia of latent racism [among white artists ostensibly making anti-consumerist statements] that’s more anxious about gold chains on a rapper than an Armani tie on a hedge fund analyst."

That's another way pop culture can be a vehicle for hope: it inspires some pretty deft criticism and necessary dialogue.