Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pop Culture Case Study...

It's my first full week back at The Corporation, and I'm not fully transitioned into my new department and position yet, so I have been helping out where/when I can on various projects. It doesn't leave me with nearly as much down time as my old position used to-- hence the slight slow down in this website. However, during one such break, a friend sent me a link to a fellow eBlogger's site that he said he thought I'd find pretty funny. The particular posts he said to look at were the ones from September 22 2009, and he instructed me to read them from older to newer. Apparently, this guy, who isn't really into pop culture in general and definitely doesn't usually write about it (I went back through his older posts to see if this was a site that had any cross-over with my own), picked up a gossip magazine and decided to count the number of celebrities he recognized. His result? He's not simply "getting old," but he has already "become an old person" (his words, not mine)!

Now, I don't personally believe pop culture has a lot to do with age. I know some thirty-somethings who are just as into (if not moreso) the Miley Cyrus/Jonas Brothers/High School Musical craze than their tweenage god-children. I also have to acknowledge that some names and faces have become so permeated in commercials, on talk shows, and with clips on regular news shows (not even tabloid fodder like Access Hollywood), that when people don't know who they are, I am utterly, and somewhat appallingly, shocked. Such was the case here, with celebrities like Tyler Perry, Anna Paquin, Phylicia Rashad, and Liev Schreiber.

My friends like to point out that I know too many celebs. Apparently, it is not common sense to be able to rattle off Six Degrees of Separation between oh, I don't know, say Eric Dane and Michelle Williams (two who were also on this guy's list. And just in case you're wondering it goes like this: Eric Dane is married to Rebecca Gayheart who starred in Urban Legend with Joshua Jackson, who was on Dawson's Creek with Michelle Williams, and that's your Six Degrees-- well, less. "I did it; I cracked the code!"). Apparently, it's not common sense to be able to recognize Kerri Kenney when you see her in the car next to you on the freeway. Well, whatever; if it's not common sense, then it makes it my gift. My mother was right: I really am "special!"

But just for fun, I decided to test myself in a similar manner. Of course, it wouldn't be fair to simply march into the lunchroom at The Corporation and pick up the first gossip magazine on the stack on top of the microwave. No, instead, I will be comparing and contrasting the numbers of celebrities I recognize in a gossip rag like US Weekly with the ones that I do in an actual news magazine like Time or Newsweek. Personally, I don't feel that nervous about it, as I consider myself pretty up to date on events and politics across all cultures (pop and otherwise). However, that might be surprising to some, and if nothing else, I think my little experiment may say something about the direction in which our particular society is heading. After all, with social networking sites delivering short blips on all kinds of news to our fingertips, we can easily become more "in the know" about things that matter...and things that really matter.

The new issues hit stands tomorrow. Stay tuned...

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