Category Archives: Understanding Popular Culture

Changing Pop-Culture to Change Ourselves [Understanding Popular Culture, Part 4]

In the opening of this series, I talked about how popular culture influenced us because it’s all around us. I talked about how it becomes the elephant in the room because of that. But what I didn’t talk about was how popular culture fits into our battle to change harmful cultural paradigms. And, really, that’s a glaring oversight that I intend to correct right now.

You see, I came across a post today (… oy. by Julia) that gave me one of those headsmacking, “OH!” moments. Not because I agree with her — far from it, I’m about to spend this entire post rebutting the points that she made — but because I finally understand the basis for the argument that [x] concern needs to be shelved so [y] and [z] concern can be taken care of first. Continue reading

Posted in Comics, cartoons, manga, and anime, Popular Culture, Understanding Popular Culture | 12 Comments

Can We Only Win for Losing? [Understanding Popular Culture, Part 3]

One thing that will invariably come up when discussing popular culture, especially where advertising is concerned, is that it’s stupid to talk about it because that’s what advertisers want. Take, for instance, the Burger King commercial that was talked about … Continue reading

Posted in Popular Culture, Series, Shrub.com Related, Understanding Popular Culture | 7 Comments

Debunking the Myth of Frivolity [Understanding Popular Culture, Part 2]

“It’s just a(n) [insert medium here]!” “It doesn’t restrict what I do or say, so lay off!” “Why don’t you focus on a real problem like [enter “real” topic here].” The list could go on. They’re all different takes on the same idea – popular culture just isn’t important enough to study or critique. That’s all I seem to hear from anyone who doesn’t have the same interest in looking at pop-culture and its intersections that I do. So often, in fact, that I’m beginning to think that most people find the critique of whatever medium is being discussed is so heinous that the mere discussion of it must be stopped immediately or they think they’ll spontaneously combust.

In my introduction, I addressed the general concern of frivolity; namely I said that it wasn’t, indeed, a frivolous topic, but rather one that has immediate relevancy in our lives. In this installment, I would like to examine and debunk the common myths that make up the claim of popular culture being less important a field than traditional ones. Continue reading

Posted in Popular Culture, Understanding Popular Culture | 21 Comments

Introduction [Understanding Popular Culture, Part 1]

I originally wrote on this issue for the now defunct Shrub.com articles, but instead of simply reposting it like I did with the other articles I wrote, I thought it deserved a full out rewrite. Predictably, in my revising and expanding efforts, it grew longer than any sane post should be. So, please enjoy the first part of my open series on popular culture.

Popular culture is a pet topic of mine, especially when it comes to how it influences the way that we interact with the world. We are all immersed in it – from advertising that becomes more invasive as the years go by to whatever hobbies we choose to get into. Yet, despite how widespread the phenomenon is, most people are convinced that these things have absolutely no impact on our lives. To the extent that the study of popular culture – whether in a formalized academic setting, or just people examining their own hobbies – is seen as “frivolous”. It is my belief that labels like those stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of popular culture and how it works. In this series, I would like to explore all the facets of pop-culture in an effort to promote better understanding of what it is and why it’s valuable. Continue reading

Posted in Popular Culture, Studies, Understanding Popular Culture | 6 Comments