Thursday, 27 September 2007

Pop Culture

Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…? No…! It’s Superman A monologue on Pop Culture Or The practical employ of little used as well as foreign words accepted into the English Language. The reason why I am interested in Pop Culture is that I am fascinated by the following: 1. How the image of a scientist with unruly hair became a ubiquitous icon to be found in cartoons, on T-shirts and posters and how this image became synonymous with the concept of “genius”. 2. I love the fact that a group of young boys or girls with zero, zilch, nix, nada singing talent can become a phenomenon which can whip maudlin and morose teenagers everywhere in paroxysms of frenzied psychosis. 3. Sub-cultures. How did it come about that certain female political figures such as Imelda Marcos, Eva Peron, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Maraget Thatcher – divas like Eartha Kitt, Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand, Cher and Celine Dion – actresses for instance Susan Sarandon, Judy Garland and Doris Day as well as other female celebrities became definitive gay icons? It is not as if they all share the same traits. Some are basilisks, harridans or femme fatales, some are aloof and keep others at bay with mordant and acerbic wit whilst others are eternally optimistic Bon Vivants and yet the quintessence of femininity and gentleness. 4. Why is it that burlesque spoof movies, which mocks serious topics and treats silly and frivolous themes with exaggerated seriousness are so intensely entertaining to so many people? 5. People who believe that they live sui generis lives and that they are different, unique and peculiar are often those who slovenly follow the latest trends. 6. The elitist view of the theory of mass society that pop culture is an inferior ersatz culture, which they call “low-culture” and that it only appeals to the hoi polloi and the Luddite masses. 7. The view that popular culture is influenced by the media with agitprop messages to either educate or influence the masses and so furthering profitability for advertisers or promoting certain ideas or beliefs of certain groups. 8. The progressive evolutionary theory that popular culture does not threaten high culture, but is an authentic expression of the needs of the people. 9. If the “intellectual Übermench” are so irritated by pop culture, why does he not retreat to his ivory tower? No, he has to shout his snotty, snooty, snobby, stuck-up, superior, high-and-mighty views as a hosanna or a triumphant paean to all who do not want to hear. 10. The existence of a real nucleus coterie of individuality, which pop culture cannot influence. These people usually do not feel threatened by pop culture, they do not judge, they just prefer different. These people can enjoy Tolstoy and Dickens as much as they enjoy John Grisham. 11. By some contretemps a low budget science fiction television series lead to one of the largest cult followings ever. Star Trek and its followers became greater than anyone would have imagined. This singularity in turn lead to inter alia the following: · Motion Pictures, numerous sequel and related TV series follows original · Characters i.e. Mr. Spock becoming some of the most recognizable icons ever · A fictional language developed for the fictional Klingon race, which most people believed was just ineffable twaddle uttered by the actors, evolved into a fully fledged language spoken by a roughly estimated 7500 people today (Mostly geeky polyglots and even geekier Trekkies). Major literary works i.e Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been translated into Klingon. A detailed History of the Klingon race has been developed, as well as a legal system, a culture and customs. · Pithee slogans from the television series and movies abounds, i.e. “Beam me up Scotty!” and the Vulcan (another fictional race of which Mr. Spock is a member) greeting “live long and prosper” used in conjunction with the distinct hand greeting where the little and ring fingers are pressed together and where the middle and index fingers are pressed together forming a “V” between the ring and middle finger and extending the thumb to form a “L” with the index finger and thumb. 12. How pop culture is a snapshot of the particular Zeitgeist of a particular society in a particular moment of time. 13. How a lingua franca, for instance English spoken in South-Africa by non-native English speakers develops into a unique manner of usage and how a pastiche of local vocabulary gives the original language a distinct different flavour and leads to a unique vernacular recognized and published as a South African English Oxford Dictionary. Eish! 14. Mawkish soap operas where the imbroglio of who is related to whom becomes a study in incest. People become addicted to be a voyeur into the louche lives of the characters, to the extent that they speak of them as acquaintances. 15. The schadenfreude people experience because of others’ misfortune is a key ingredient in the success recipe of the popularity of TV reality shows. 16. The frisson of excitement one feel every time the theme of raconteur spy James bond is heard. 17. People being sub rosa about the fact that they are super fans of the Swedish pop group ABBA, just because ABBA is not en vogue anymore. 18. Every time a celebrity behaves like an enfant terrible it makes the headlines all over the globe. 19. and so forth and so forth.

3 comments:

S E E Quine said...

` Man, I'd leave a comment but I forgot what I was going to say - lost my internet and am in a crowded computer lab. It's still getting to me through the Ritalin....
` I'll be back - if I remember!

angel said...

what a cool post- and some very valid points dude!

Spear said...

Dankie Engel!