Pop culture for dummies old and new—August 9, 2013
Let me start by admitting that I am terrible at pop culture. Most references fly right over my head. Case in point: the other day at the desk, Dana (fellow Library Assistant) came at me with a sort of swooshy sword-fighting not-quite-Zorro gesture and gleefully announced, “Lipstick taser!” I thought it was funny…but pretty darn confusing. I smiled politely, asked “Lipstick taser?” and Corey (also fellow Library Assistant) responded, “Despicable Me II.”
And I realized – yet again – I don’t have a good grasp on pop culture. Sadly, not a new experience for me.
So what is pop culture? Basically, it’s the stuff mass media is made of: everyday life materials such as movies, books, TV shows, YouTube videos, personages, and certain annoying songs that stick in your head and drive you over the edge. (What, you want an example? Okay. Remember Carly Rae Jepsen’s lyrics, “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy. But here’s my number so call me, maybe?” Think of that song. Appreciate it – hum it. Is Call Me Maybe stuck in your head now? Good. It’s been trapped in mine for weeks.) Also, it’s important to remember that pop culture isn’t necessarily all new materials. It can be old – as in, Shakespeare old.
There are enough definitions for pop culture that I’m not going to delve into semantics. I don’t have the patience. But a good rule of thumb in defining pop culture is this: if everyone is talking about it, odds are, it’s pop culture.
And if almost everyone can follow your reference when you talk about it…odds are, it’s pop culture.
Think Bart Simpson’s “Eat my shorts!” Or, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Superman!” Maybe you’ve muttered certain lines from the Terminator in a deep Schwarzenegger-esque voice, or mock-intoned a resounding, “Luke, I am your father.”
To be or not to be, that is the question…
In this case, to educate yourself on pop culture really isn’t a question.
Even as Bart Simpson is small and yellow while Shakespeare wore a wig, both are near-universal points of interest that almost anyone can discuss. Bart and William provide common ground. The fact that they give you something easy to talk about as you stand in line at the grocery store (or the library) is practically a public service.
So educate yourself. Learn to be a better conversationalist. Come to the library to check out a bit of pop culture today!
General Pop Culture works and/or characters: Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Dawn of the Dead, A Clockwork Orange, Animal Farm, 1984, War of the Worlds, Mad Max, Elvis Presley, PacMan, The Beatles, Shakespeare, Superbowl XLII, and more.
Old Works Made New: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Gnomeo and Juliet, Unholy Night, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and more.