Pop-culture and its relevance

Devon Jefferson

March 25, 1983, Motown hosted its 25th anniversary television special celebrating the record label’s success with a night filled with musical entertainment and live performances. It was here that the king of pop music, Michael Jackson, performed and introduced the first moonwalk. Fast forward 21 years later and it is Super Bowl XXXIII at halftime and two star studded recording artists, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, are to take the stage and perform their new hit single “Tearin’ up my Heart.” Barely a minute or so into the performance a wardrobe malfunction exposes Jackson’s bare cleavage to the entire nation. And who can forget the all too infamous rant of Kanye West during the acceptance speech of Taylor Swift at the 2007 MTV VMAs claiming: “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time”. In short the thing that all of these events have in common is the fact that they are all remarkable historical events inside of the pop culture spectrum.

Pop culture is a cumulative social structure of almost all things media driven and/or inappropriate. It is the label behind celebs peculiar behavior, the explanation of the child-actor-star-turned Miley Cyrus. However, it’s also something that greatly affects us. The average American child devotes 45 hours per week to media consumption according to Karen E. Dill, Ph.D. of psychology at UCSB. That is more time than a child will spend in school in a week. It is pretty safe to say that to some degree the metaphor being made is that media culture is like today’s school teacher. In the sense that our youth are being taught by these cultural media and learning certain social values from said media that may or may not be helpful to their childhood.

In another instance, from the same statement, Dill explains that Americans spend two-thirds of their waking lives consuming mass media. A perfect example of how media dominated our lives really are comes from the recent twerk-filled performance Miley Cyrus put on at this years MTV VMA awards. Not to mention it being the most tweeted about event in the world, but also the fact that it made it to all of the biggest news media like MSNBC’s, “Morning Joe” and on  NBC’s Today Show. Guest co-anchor Brooke Shields, who played Cyrus’s mom in Disney series, “Hannah Montana,” called the performance desperate.

It is very apparent that the resonance of pop culture and the events that occur within in it are viable, newsworthy factors that generally affect all audiences subjected to said cultural events.

Pop culture is here and definitely more active than ever due to social media. However the bigger picture pertains to what we do with this knowledge and or how we deal with these events. Surely that is a personal vendetta one will have to deal with internally, however, this pop culture beat is here to examine, re-examine and discuss all that resides in the large gray area of pop culture.