*Written for an assignment in 2010.
Social Significance of Popular Culture
Humans are chameleons; therefore it is common for individuals to change to adapt to their surrounding. Individuals are a product of their environment. Pop culture is the backbone behind urban living. Popular culture includes all elements of human life including: politics, advertising and art. Specific elements and features of popular culture evolve over time, but the impact on society is always the same. What is seemingly popular rules over community culture in a god-like way, controlling and changing items that impact communities. Past and current trends of popular culture are utilized by society to spread messages and draw positive attention to specific ideas.
Current popular culture has changed the face of politics. For many generations the political world was seen as limited to include only mature or middle-aged members of society. Young adults had no place in the world of politics. It seemed as though their voice did not matter. In 2006 members of young Hollywood used their stardom to raise awareness to young people to vote, because their voice does matter. Stars such as Alicia Keys, Paris Hilton and Sean Combs were the voice behind the Vote or Die campaign. In 2006 these individuals were pop culture royalty, therefore they used their status to help a cause that was bigger than winning an award. These individuals understood that young generations always listen to their peers. A voice of a young star is much stronger than the voice of an uptight man in a suit; well at least in the ears of a young adult. Vote or Die created a new generation of political followers, and future activists. It encouraged non-political followers to take a chance, and perhaps be the brain that sparks a change within the world.
It may be cliché, but the statement speaks truth; individuals are a product of their environment. The capacity of the power of culture is immeasurable. It affects the way the world operates. It is 2010; we are living in a generation where a black president is ruling over the United States. It is the age of acceptance. Obama is the first black presidential candidate. He is the first black president, therefore popularity of President Obama goes beyond political beliefs, and his ruling stands for much more. His capability and intelligence sparks pride amongst members of all nations. Racial discrimination has been a universal issue since the beginning of time. The acceptance of a minority as a ruler over American people paves the way for an optimistic future. It shows the world has come along way in the area of accepting those who are different from the norm. It is the generation of change. The presidents image is seen donned on t-shirts, spoken about in rap songs and has become a beacon of hope. To all generations before the world of politics and the white house belonged in stuffy conversations. Now, the political world has expanded and grown to adapt to the current ways of popular culture.
Popular culture has given the English lexicon a facelift over the last century, it has changed the way our language operates and the way our words function. In order for advertising campaigns to find success with a mass target audience, old school and new school ideas must be fused together. Tide laundry detergent has found great success with pairing a classic commercial, with a contemporary rap song. This 2009 commercial has paved the way for many other “clone commercials”. Superstore, and Safeway have also followed this approach, each store creating advertisements pairing contemporary pop culture with items of the past. It is a fresh approach to a basic idea. It makes the audience have a new interpretation of laundry, and that maybe it isn’t just for housewives after all. Laundry is no longer mundane, it is fantastic! Items of past popular culture combined with items of current popular culture trigger a nostalgic feeling from the viewer or reader. Pairing of classic and contemporary ideas result in success, or at the very least a wider audience. Much of the purpose of an advertisement is for a message or an idea to be delivered; therefore with a little help from pop culture advertisers are finding a creative spin lands them a better position on the market.
In the world of art there is only a certain number of ideas, objects or personalities that can be immediately identifiable. This number is a very high number, but the point being it is not easy for artists to create essentially brand new ideas to spring upon consumers. Old ideas are recycled to generate interest from a different audience. Wartime pin-up girls appealed to soldiers and sailors, now these images cover cosmetic lines and women’s clothing. Different ideas combine and become effect to a broader, more universal audience. Art is welcome everywhere. It is no longer limited to walls or comic books.
Comic books no longer hold the same clichés as they used to. Comic books have grown into popularity. The amazing graphics and stories are now transferred into blockbuster movies and best-selling video games. Art is embraced rather than feared. Pop culture has taught us that art is all about individuality. Individuality allows for us to embrace what is out of the ordinary. Things that are unique, the things that make us as people unique. Even clothing is more elaborate, filled with fantastic pieces of art as displayed in Christian Audigier designs. Graphics from comic books and video games are also represented on tshirts, bags and even jewellery. Art is a new breed of individuality, one that is encouraged and shaped by the growth of popular culture.
Popular culture positively shapes the direction of the future path of political and artistic aspects of our communities. The strong presence of pop culture pushes for a sense of unity within communities. Pop culture is a positive force that should not be feared. Certain aspects may be misunderstood, but even these aspects do not have any negative consequences. Pop culture is as important to the world as is water to the human body. It has as much power as a religion does. The ruler over the modern world is in fact popular culture. It controls all aspects of life. Thoughts, actions and even emotions are triggered by items of popular culture. This fact suggests that everyone belongs and individuality should be embraced. Political advancements have demonstrated there is always opportunity for growth as better human beings universally. Advertisements have taught us that although times do change, there is always a place for the old to interact with the new. The new beautiful world of art is the epitome of pop culture: uplifting, inspirational, everywhere and consistent with change