Monday, 3 September 2012

Pop Culture as I see it (Exercise 10 Part 1)

I decided to choose western culture as my topic of discussion for the exercise and the first thing I will be examining is Popular Culture. I've decided to split exercise 10 into parts, with the final part examining one counter-culture of my choosing.

Having experienced dissatisfaction with pop culture in the past I can comfortably say that I can not deny taking part in it. We seem to have forgotten what Pop means, especially when it comes to music, ow it's just a label slapped on to music that has a certain aesthetic and sound and no longer means 'popular'. Pop culture is a paradigm, something that the 'masses' subscribe to, this ranges from all forms of entertainment, fashion, music, your choice of hair spray or the car you drive, the television shows you choose to watch. As far as I'm concerned, the people who produce content that fits into the 'pop culture' bracket are very observant and know what people will buy into. On the other hand it might seem like we have no other choice. An example would be our very own South African radio stations, and more than likely radio stations in countries all over the world. They feed us content that is very similar across the board, songs are repeated dozens of times over the course of the day and so are the news and headlines that is of course if nothing new comes up.  Year in and year out the content remains relatively similar, sure there are new artists coming and going, and those are usually already popular artists, made popular by a popular television show that a lot of people watch. These shows are run during 'prime time' a time the broadcasters have figured out is ideal to catch the unsuspecting victims who are at home watching their television sets. Now it might seem like I've taken a little bit of a negative standpoint on the matter by calling the people 'victims' but that's exactly what they are to me, they are drawn in by the supposed 'talent' shown to them, and often the 'talent' is there, I won't deny it, some of the people that end up winning contests like the 'Idols'  or the 'America/Britain's Got Talent'  series do have talent and more power to them, because they are there for all the world to see. Some of these contestants are critiqued or ridiculed for the hilariously awful performances, others get record deals, because hey you saw it on the TV, and these guys were good so why not sign them up, people will go see their shows, buy the t-shirts and albums, download the songs from iTunes and spread the word leading to an increase in profits for everyone. That is the way of popular culture, and some trends just become popular over time, such as the Punk movement. Started in the late 1960's with bands like The Ramones, followed by The Sex pistols and American hardcore bands including Black Flag, TSOL, and DOA. Punk was never about a certain 'way', they did not spike up their hair to set a trend, it was a sign of rebellion. Now the trend of dressing and looking like a punk rocker seems almost 'cool' and accepted, where previously there was a lot of negativity towards those who subscribed to a counter cultural movement. Come to think of it, there is my counter culture chosen.Nice.

For now, here are some images that I would associate with popular culture (currently of course, if you're reading this 50 years from now bear in mind this is what it was like in 2012)

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