Social Significance of Popular Culture


*Written for an assignment in 2010.

Social Significance of Popular Culturepop-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

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Poetry: The Girl That Doesn’t Love You Anymore


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The Girl That Doesn’t Love You Anymore

You haven’t been yourself.

This side of you I haven’t seen.

I look different now.

For once I see the world.

With clarity.

I’m a better version of myself.

Unrecognizable to you.

Because this version of me.

Isn’t in love with you.

This version of me.

Feels absolutely nothing for you.

Something you have never experienced.

The girl you had.

Wrapped around your finger.

Fought out of the tangled web.

You weaved.

You grieve for the girl you once had.

For the dreams you shared.

Grief for the hopeful girl you once had.

You don’t recognize me.

Because I’m not that girl.

I never will be again.

Not for you.

She grew up.

She changed.

She gave up on you.

You don’t recognize me.

Because this is the first.

Glimpse you’ve seen.

The girl that doesn’t love you anymore.

Goodbye

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Book Review: The Bully Bug by David Lubar


The Bully Bug by David Lubar

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Published: September 2nd by Starscape10568008_10152636103980908_450754996_n

The Bully Bug is the sixth standalone tale in the hilarious Monsterrific Tales series for young readers by acclaimed author David Lubar. The Monsterrific Tales series began with Hyde and Shriek, a Kids’ Indie Next list selection, and is sure to appeal to reluctant readers and fans of Lubar’s short stories collections.

There’s something strange going on at Washington Irving Elementary School. Kids are turning into monsters—literally!

Lud Mellon gets bitten by a bevy of bugs in his basement and the next thing he knows, he’s crawling up walls, drooling on his food, and rolling around in garbage. Turning into a giant insect seems fun at first, almost like having superpowers. But when his dad calls in the exterminators, Lud has to figure out how to stop his transformation before he gets squashed like a bug.

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David Lubar has such a talent for bringing characters to life. The second I see his name on a cover, I think, YESSSS! I immediately know it’s going to be a fun read. I must admit, I didn’t want to finish, knowing this is the last instalment of Monsterrific tales is bittersweet.These are books I have turned to when I need a laugh and a bit of an escape from reality. All great things must come to an end, right? *sigh*

The students of Washington Irving Elementary School are not your ordinary gang of children, ghosts, witches, goblins–okay, well maybe not goblins, but you never know with that bunch.

So many YA and Middle Grade authors thrive on humour to drive the story, often this humour feels to forced and makes the story fall flat. Lubar is just naturally witty and *punny*

The ‘protagonists’ transformation into an insect was riddled with humour. It was hard to feel bad for the poor kid when you were laughing so hard at his silly antics. I use the word protagonist loosely; he is in fact a bully, but he isn’t pure evil, he has many redeeming qualities. He deserves the title of protagonist when he changes his ‘bullying’ ways at the climax of the story.

Overall, a must read. For the book snobs that turn their heads up at books like this, give it a try–I promise you won’t regret it.

Sometimes it’s nice to escape back into the innocence of childhood, when the only thing you had to worry about as turning into a giant bug,

Kudos, Mr. Lubar. I thank you for yet another epic adventure.

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Book Review: Get Even (Don’t Get Mad #1) by Gretchen McNeil


Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

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Released: September 2014

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

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I was a bit surprised by the actual storyline, it didn’t meet the punchline of the synopsis. The story had no parallels to The Breakfast Club. This is what immediately intrigued me, I loved the film, it remains a favourite, and PLL is a bit of borderline obsession for me.

This book had a bit of a bumpy start. I was overwhelmed with the amount of characters and the substantial amount of drama each of their backstories told. What was even more confusing was how the characters blended together in a linear timeline.

I almost gave up…Almost.

I’m glad I didn’t.

As soon as I wrapped my head around who-was-who and what their stories were, what was happening in the present time made more sense. I found the story  enjoyable. Remniscient of Jenny Hann’s Burn For Burn Trilogy and Sara Shepard’s The Lying Game.

Group together four girls from different ranks in high school—secrets come to life, and no one is safe. Including themselves. I like this spin. Yes, you may disagree; but bullying is wrong: always. So, it is good for YA readers to experience these stories, to know that fighting fire with fire ultimately changes them from victim to bully themselves.

Eager to read the second entry. This book introduced the players, the backstories and now I feel the real mayhem is about to bust loose in book 2.

Thank you, Harper Collins for the review copy.

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Book Review: Party Games: A Fear Street Novel


Party Games by R.L Stine

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Published: September 30th 2014

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Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear’s birthday party at his family’s estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn’t know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.

R.L. Stine makes his triumphant return to Shadyside, a town of nightmares, shadows, and genuine terror, and to the bestselling series that began his career writing horror for the juvenile market, in the new Fear Street book Party Games.1600167_10152164384800908_58508561_nThis is the R.L Stine I know and love. Last year’s Midsummer Night’s Scream underwhelmed me to the point I couldn’t even craft a clear review.  My inner child could never dare to insult the work of R.L Stine. The thought was just inconceivable.

R.L Stine is one of those authors that I will forever remain loyal to. His work is part of my childhood. My generation grew up with Goosebumps and Fear Street. To read his newer works and have them just be, for better word, blah, broke my teenage heart.

Party Games brings back the R.L Stine readers know and love. Campy stories where we know nothing good is going to come of something as tradition as an annual lake party. Fear Street has been revamped for a new generation, but I loved that Stine still held true to the originals and many of the Great Fear stories were briefly mentioned.

I couldn’t be more excited for the resurrection of Fear Street and Goosebumps….

Thank you, Raincoast Books for the review copy.

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Guest Blogger: Casino Movies–Will Anyone Ever Get Them Right?


Casino Movies – Will Anyone Ever Get Them Right?

Many have gambled on casino movies, and many have lost out.

The appeal of casinos is almost universal – everyone sees casinos as a symbol of luxury; those who regularly visit them see them as a great place to relax and unwind, while those who have yet to spend time in them see them as the ultimate in status symbols. Most people think that if you go to a casino, you have money to lose, and in a world where money runs everything, that’s not putting things lightly.

Casinos also have a rather sad reputation of stripping people of their hard-earned cash. This is why it’s really no surprise that even scientists have come together to try and ‘Beat The House’ Everyone wants to know how to make it big in casinos, and several movies have been inspired by this idea.

Recently, we’ve had Runner, Runner, one of Ben Affleck’s less successful films. The movie saw a college student played by Justin Timberlake try to beat the house in online poker – a feat much less believable than Zack Galafinakis’s card counting in the blackjack scene in The Hangover: Part I 

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Unlike land-based casinos, the security and algorithms of online casinos are constantly being improved. The technology used by online casinos today is distinctly different from the technology that CryptoLogic used to launch Intercasino

Intercasino – the first online casino in the world – in 1996, and anyone who wants to make it big by busting an online casino open had better be prepared to face consequences far worse than Justin Timberlake’s “recruitment” into the very industry he was playing against. We’re talking heavy fines and jail time, and not a potential career working with online casino tycoons.

And let’s not forget that casino movies almost always have the same story. If you haven’t yet, go see 21 a movie that is – more than surprisingly – a lot like Runner, Runner except these guys play a Vegas casino, and not some online casino based out of Gibraltar or the Bahamas or some obscure island off the coast of Madagascar. It’s the same deal: we have a group of super-smart students (from MIT) who manage to rake in the millions in a casino because of math. There’s a lot of mathematics involved in the movie, but unlike other casino-themed flicks, this one is actually fact-based.

There was a real MIT Blackjack Team and the mathematics behind the movie are quite sound. Yet the movie received a rather dull 36% on Rotten Tomatoes The reason? The science and mathematics in the film were all overshadowed by the cheap melodramatic plot.

Will movie makers ever get the balance in casino movies right? We’ll never know. Maybe casinos are just better left to the experts like James Bond.

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Emily The Strange: 2 Halves Are Better Than 1


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