9 responses to “What’s the Big Deal With Pop Culture? (And Why Do You Keep Talking About it?)”

  1. Katherine

    Because people feel like pop culture, at least the bits they watch/read/listen to, is something they know about, whether or not they can see the sexism/ableism/racism/etc. in it. Whereas government policies that affect women and disabled people are often something they know nothing about, so they might just have nothing to say about it, or they might take your word for how it affects people, or they might not care, because even if you succeed in changing it it doesn’t really affect them. But if you critique their pop culture you are affecting them and threatening them with change.

    This breaks down a bit when it’s people that are generally allies complaining that you are critiquing their pop culture, not that there’s any excuse.

  2. Katherine

    Why did I hit submit? “not that there’s any excuse.” should be “not that there’s any excuse for allies failing to see the damage that pop culture can do.” or something along those lines.

  3. Susan

    This is a great post.

    I rarely comment on posts about international issues, for instance, because I usually don’t have any particular knowledge of the issue so I could only say “Isn’t that awful!” or something, but pretty much everybody has an opinion about pop culture. I think that’s a big reason for the difference in level of response.

    I’m sorry you get so many nasty comments.

  4. Capriuni

    Susan’s probably hit a big part of the nail on the head, there. We get excited about pop culture because it’s ours collectively.

    Also: we don’t usually invite lawmakers and medical policy makers or educational theorists into our homes (unless we’re part of those circles, ourselves). But we all invite pop culture into our homes: We buy the music, we watch the TV.

    And so maybe that’s why people get so personal and nasty when you critique their favorite stuff — you’re saying bad, uncomfortable, things about their friends.

  5. lauren

    My first contact with social justice blogging was through discussions of pop culture. I followed a link to an lj-community on books by PoC, which was created as a direct result of racefail09. So I started reading up on racefail. And kept reading.

    It’s not that I wasn’t raised to be concious of social issues, and to firmly believe in all kinds of equality-movements. It’s just that, since I live a very privileged live, there are a lot of things I had never had to learn about. And unfortunately, the various forms of privilege bestowed on some people by the kyrarchie are not something that is really examined in general discussion or at school.

    So all these amazing texts were eye-opening for me, if sometimes very uncomfortable to read. But I have learned so much over the last year, and I continue to learn from all the amazing authors on the net (and trying to pass as much as possible on to my friends ad family). If people didn’t do critical analyses of pop culture, I might have never found my way here, because a year ago, the internet was still very much “for fun” for me.

    I am so glad that I stumbled over these posts, that there were so many amazing ones, and that people continue to take part in these essential discussions. I wouldn’t want to miss everything I have been taught in such a short time, or miss out on everything else I am going to learn.

    So, thank you for doing this harrowing work. Sometimes, it really does reach people.

  6. Lila

    It was pretty cool to see Zack Weinstein on the latest episode of Glee (Laryngitis). His acting was good, and his singing wasn’t bad, especially considering that it wasn’t pre-taped. However, I didn’t much like the actual scenes he was in. I wonder what others thought of it?

  7. Anna

    It’s probably better to bring up discussions of Glee or other t.v. shows in the Chatterday threads, Lila. This post isn’t really about people’s opinions of individual episodes or even shows, but about people’s response to critiques of pop culture.

  8. Nomie

    People who feel like they ‘aren’t qualified’ to understand structural critiques or who think that they need to read a bookshelf worth of theory to talk about feminism can and do engage with pop culture discussions and not a week goes by that one of us doesn’t get at least one email from someone reading along the lines of: ‘I never thought about this issue until you brought it up in the context of [show] and now I’m really interested and exploring theory and thank you!’

    YES, THIS.

    I like to hear you talk and I want to hear what you have to say. FWD is invaluable, and though I may not always comment (because keysmashes of rage aren’t helpful) I am always reading.

  9. Emily

    Pop culture is also a good forum in that its generally realatable. I don’t really watch Glee, but I have a general idea of the characters and their roles- enough to have an intelligent conversation. Your typically 27 year old off the street cannot do this with world politics- at least intelligently. There is research involved.

    I do have an issue with disability in pop culture though- probably not the place for it, but hey- what about those of us with disabilites that affect our lives in major ways, but that cannot be seen with the naked eye? IE- I have a severe seizure disorder, I guess similar to epilesy, but different triggers. I cannot drive, or have children. I am heavily medicated which cause me to lose my train of thought, slurr my speech and shake like a person with MS at times. I get vertigo and asphasia, amongst a million ohter nasty side effects. Can you see these things if you are not looking for them? Not really. Where is my representation in pop culture? Why always a person in a wheelchair? My life is affected in serious ways, and I still fight- why can’t I have a character on Glee?

    I will stop whining now.