This week in popular culture we discussed the creation and the use of Facebook and how it relates to popular culture as well as how it fits in with our society. The group that presented on Facebook put together a great presentation and brought up several interesting points about Facebook and how it has pretty much taken over our lives because it has changed the way we communicate.
The group started off by pointing out the fact that we can barely live without our cell phones because of things like texting and of course the Facebook app, so they asked us to kindly leave our phones at the front of the classrooms. Since the creation of Facebook, the usual face to face interaction has decreased. It seems as if nobody wants to talk to each other unless its through Facebook or texting. I believe that because of Facebook and other social media, we are slowly becoming more anti-social and less likely to engage with people. This is especially detrimental for our younger generation because they are growing up on all these emerging technologies and because of it they are not developing the necessary social skills they need to survive in this world.
The group also brought up the fact that literally everyone is on Facebook these days, and its not just everyday citizens. They pointed out the number of businesses, companies, and advertisers that are on Facebook solely to get your attention and get you to buy their products. In my opinion the advertising on Facebook has reached a whole new level. I have noticed that the ads have started to conform to what I like and things I have searched for online. For example, I am obsessed with shoes and always looking to buy more, so whenever I log on to Facebook there are several ads just about shoes on my newsfeed as well as on the sides and in the corners of my page. However, I do think this was a good idea for companies to start advertising on Facebook because pretty much the whole world is using it. In order to reach as many potential customers as possible, you have to go to where the people are, and in this day and age it is Facebook.
This week in my popular culture class we discussed the importance of technology in popular culture. Everybody nowadays are using some form of technology in there everyday lives. More importantly, is the popularity of social media. The numbers of people using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dating websites, are astonishing. This is clearly an example of how we are living in The Digital Age.
As we discussed The Digital Age, we talked about cybernetics as well as other web technologies such as video games. For many people in our society, video games serve as a form of escape from their current lives. They can escape from whatever situation and enter a new world in the video game. People also use it to create a different identity. One of our classmates discussed how for them, video games was a way to be free. However, as we continue in this Digital Age, it is important to understand that more and more people will be engaging in internet communication and social networking sites.
This week in popular culture class we discussed the book “Fight Club” and how it relates to popular culture as well as postmodernism. The story relates to popular culture because in the book, the main character Tyler Durden just wants to fit in. Fitting in is an important part of our society today. The whole purpose of “Fight Club” is to show alienation and that Tyler Durden doesn’t actually fit in with society. It relates to postmodernism because it deals with these interpretations of culture and literature. Postmodernism deals with getting to the bottom of things as well as finding the deeper meaning. This is exactly what happens in “Fight Club” because we see the deeper meaning behind Tyler’s actions; he is alienated and just wants to be accepted.
We were also able to tie in “Fight Club” with an earlier text that we discussed, “American Psycho.” “Fight Club” and “American Psycho” both have the same theme of alienation and wanting to fit in. Therefore, they both relate to popular culture and our society today. Both characters each express their desire to fit in, but are alienated from their peers because of their mental state and the fact that they are actually insane.
This week in my popular culture class we discussed some writings from Donna Haraway called “A Cyborg Manifesto” and Randy Martin’s “Where Did the Future Go?”
In “A Cyborg Manifesto” Haraway discusses he image of the cyborg. She defines it as “a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.” Haraway goes on to give examples of how contemporary science fiction is full of cyborgs as well as modern medicine because of the couplings between organism and machine. Basically, the cyborg is a condensed image of our imaginations and actual reality.
In “Where Did the Future Go” Randy Martin writes about capitalism. Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which trade, industry and the means of production are controlled by private owners with the goal of making profits in a market economy. Capitalism is a crucial part of our popular culture society especially because nowadays everything is profit driven and numerous people are out to make money. Martin states that “for the last twenty-five years those who might have been lulled by capital utopia chords have been subject to a rude awakening,” and that “much has been said about what the regimen of investment means for capital itself, but less focus has been given to the implications of finances rule for experience of daily life.” By this Martin is proving that capitalism is popular in our society however people have a skewed perception or idea of it.
This week in popular culture class we discussed the idea of postmodernism and beauty. We defined postmodernism as the culture of late capitalism. Our class also talked about Susan Bordo’s “Material Girl’: The Effacements of Postmodern Culture” which discussed beauty in popular culture. Susan Bordo discusses plastic surgery and the things we will go through just to modify our bodies to something we feel will be accepted by society. However, we as a culture need to accept ourselves for who we are and be happy with the bodies we have. Everyone is different and we do not need to change our identities and bodies in order to fit in. Bordo also talked about the plight African American women have with fitting in with popular culture. She mentions the difference in hair texture between African American women and Caucasian women and how black women do not necessarily have the straight hair like white women do, that is desired in our popular culture.
To follow up this discussion, we watched the popular film “Mean Girls.” The movie is a great representation of our popular culture and our ideas of whats beautiful and popular. Bordo talks about plastic bodies in her article and how society is obsessed with plastic surgery and altering our looks. Ironically, the popular girls in the movie “Mean Girls” are called the plastics. These girls are considered popular for their looks and other materialistic things. What we can learn from both Susan Bordo and Mean Girls is that even though popular culture is obsessed with looks and beauty, we have to understand that we are more than just our looks and we need to accept ourselves for who we are.
For this weeks popular culture class we watched two films about rock and roll bands that provided us with a deeper understanding of popular culture in society and the music industry. The two films were The Doors and The Beatles a Hard Day’s Night. In the movie about the band The Doors, we see how the 1960’s and 1970’s influenced rock music. In The Beatles movie we see how much popular culture was obsessed with the band. The movie was filmed at the height of their popularity so we see first hand the mania that surrounded the band. One particular scene we dissected was when one of the Beatles accidentally walks into a fashion office and he is asked about his opinion on upcoming shirts and the woman who is their ‘it’ girl because she wears the latest fashion and sets the trends. When he says he doesn’t like the shirts or the girl, he was asked to leave and the head of the fashion company said that he will be wearing the shirts in a couple weeks. This was a perfect example of how popular culture can influence our decisions. As a society we wear clothes that are popular and follow the trends other people say are cool to follow. These films helped us see popular cultures influence.
This week in our popular culture class, we focused on our midterm projects. For the midterm we were asked to write a movie pitch to a fictional production company called Pop Culture Works, who are looking to greenlight some new films. We had the freedom to use our creativity but the paper had to be 5 pages and we had to relate it to a theme we learned in class. For my movie I called it We Laughed Until We Cried, and chose to make it about four friends who have spoken in years, but come together for dinner before their 20 year high school reunion. I applied the concepts of subjectivity, identity, and the fracturing of identity. Some of the characters represented the enlightenment subject, the sociological subject, or the postmodern subject.
We Laughed Until We Cried, is a film about four friends who come together for dinner a day before their 20 year high school reunion. The characters are now successful adults in their mid thirties, and have all have changed since their high school and college days. Up until this meeting, they have not seen each other in five years. The film consists solely of flashbacks to the characters pasts, including their childhood, teenage years and the times when they were young adults. The four friends have survived it all; with all the drama and falling outs, they have maintained their friendship through thick and thin.
The film happens in the course of 24 hours, and the only filming location that is not a flashback is the restaurant they are eating at in Pasadena, CA. The other scenes will consist of flashbacks and memories to high school and college days as well as local hangouts the characters often went to. It is narrated by one of the characters, Janelle Pruitt, and the film is based on her point of view as well. Janelle, who was the glue that kept the friendship together throughout the years, serves as the omniscient narrator. The film is a drama and comedy about the times these four friends shared and their journey to discover themselves. As we look back into their pasts, we see how much each character has grown and overcome their own personal trials and tribulations. The film also teaches the audience a valuable lesson about self discovery and finding who you are because the “search for identity is premised on the idea that there is such a ‘thing’ to be found” (Barker, 221).