The Ironies of popular culture

Popular culture indicates what we see as acceptable and detestable, appealing and appalling, not to mention attractive and unacceptable. Throughout all of our hours invested in participating in television, politics, movies, music, sports and numerous other activities, we often overlook the ironies and irregularities in everyday popular culture. I thought that I would outline some interesting quips of the media consumers in the country. Negative Political Ads Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken both wanted to prove themselves. They staged their attacks against each other, primarily using negative advertising that targeted their opponentâÄôs personal characteristics, as opposed to policies. Ironically, instead of proving who the better candidate is, voters had to decide whom they despised less. Fortunately for us, we get to watch the drama unfold until at least December. Violence The viewers of popular culture in this country love violence. This country embraces violence; this country is fascinated with violence; this country is a product of violence. âÄúCSIâÄù can almost always find its way into the top-three spots in the Nielson ratings because its entire premise is based on the assumption that somebody is murdered. As television shows feature more and more blood and gore, the consumers become more conditioned to the harsh images in these fictional stories. HereâÄôs where the irony comes in. Imagine, if you will, that the broadcast news decided to show a graphic picture of a murdered U.S. soldier in Iraq. The media, as well as consumers, would label the episode as an act of disrespect and public outrage would surely follow. The only way gore is acceptable is if itâÄôs presented as fiction. People that participate in popular culture are incredibly naïve when it comes to reality. War is real, people are dying, yet people donâÄôt care because they are trapped in their little bubble âÄî they donâÄôt want to acknowledge the fact that there is a harsh world happening around them. Funny enough, in the 1968 election, Hubert Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon, arguably because of an ad entitled âÄúVietnam,âÄù in which graphic pictures of dying U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War were tied to Hubert Humphrey. Celebrities It is the dream of every child that one day he may grow up to be a rock star, movie star, television star or some other figure of nominal âÄúimportance.âÄù A never-ending crowd of paparazzi loves to publish every move that a celebrity makes, and many make a decent living off of it. Many celebrities function as role models because young people look up to them for guidance, and for clues about how to elevate their position on the societal ladder. Strangely enough, the mediaâÄôs sensationalism of celebrities oftentimes revolves around negative attention. The whole Britney Spears phenomenon was an unimportant farce that ended up attracting a substantial amount of time by network news coverage, which has a very tight schedule when selecting news stories. This means that other valuable, more productive news stories are literally being thrown away. So, basically, the mediaâÄôs sensationalism of celebrities, who many children aspire to model themselves after, has pushed positive and constructive information out of the picture âÄî So much for social responsibility. Robert Downs welcomes comments at [email protected]