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Sunday, January 7, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pop Culture: The Top 10 Events That Defined 1995

Dallas Morning News

1. Cyber-Love Boat - The rise of live-action CD-ROM games has created a new outlet for B-actors to generate a little income. Whatever happened to such folks as Adam West, Mark Hamill and Linda Blair? Why, they're "starring" in a CD-ROM, of course.

2. A pain in the "Jumanji" - The title of this high-tech gizmo is destined to become a handy term as digital filmmaking progresses. So you will say, for example, "It got jumanjied" or "don't go getting all jumanji on me," and everyone will know instantly what you mean.

3. Random acts of unprotected talk - The saturated state of TV talk shows made a literal fact out of the old show-biz quip: Anyone who wanted their own talk show got one in 1995. At least when the cancellations come, Danny Bonaduce and all the other unemployed hosts will have CD-ROM productions to fall back on.

4. Wacko Jacko fades to blacko - At this point in the King of Pop's reign, his most notable artistic function is as inspiration for tabloid poetry (Time to Hit the Sacko, Polly Want a Cracko). Going into 1996, the most important resource in Michael Jackson's career is a rhyming dictionary.

5. Internet good/Internet bad - After last year's unrelenting gush of dream-weaving, utopian reports on the Internet, it was inevitable that the media would switch sides and start in on the horror stories - gambling, pornography, terrorism.

6. The Big Business of Small Talk - From "Get Shorty" to "Friends," small talk became the hip motif of film and television. Thanks to technology ranging from car phones to television to e-mail, we have just about eliminated real small talk from our lives, while fantasy small talk has become our favorite entertainment.

7. Electronic immortality - Dead men tell no tales, but thanks to computer-generated imagery, they can generate big sales. Death has always been a great career move, but now a dead celebrity can come back to start a second career, pitching luxury automobiles or dancing in soft-drink commercials.

8. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - A demonstration that anything can be transformed into a theme park. Once banned by school administrators, rock 'n' roll is now something kids will study and go on field trips to visit.

9. Soundbite morality - As Texas joined the growing number of states issuing concealed-weapons permits, presidential candidate Robert Dole sounded the alarm over violent entertainment. Meanwhile, bureacrat-cum-ideologue William Bennett took on the talk shows.

10. It's a Mod Mod Mod World - As we hurtle into our high-tech "Bladerunner" future, the trend that has swept across music and fashion is '60s redux. Hey, the future is just the past viewed through the irony of the present.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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