Sorry that I'm more than a little late to this particular party, but: Pop culture's incestuous whore-dom is really out of control.
Last night, on the penultimate episode of Food Network's reality series The Next Food Network Star, the three remaining contestants were asked to base their culinary battle on -- wait for it -- their inspiration after getting a sneak preview of the upcoming partly-a-Julia-Child-biopic Julie & Julia. --- It was a natural movie tie-in for the network, and throughout the episode the judges and contestants were sure to name-drop the movie and provide entry opportunities for accompanying clips.
It might have felt like just another typical cross-promotion, except that I had a moment of clarity about The Next Food Network Star itself: It's just a 13-episode infomercial for an upcoming Food Network show. And within the context of a show that exists largely to sell another show, we were also being sold another movie. And in case that all wasn't bald-faced enough, when the finalists were asked to give the judges a last pitch about themselves before one was eliminated, each one appealed to his or her respective points of marketability. It was a cynically savvy display of a culture where, if we're not selling something, we're really nothing at all.