Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

“…a Wider, Weirder World.”

Posted by natkscience on April 16, 2015

The Zuckerman essay touches on the insight of whether or not memes are laughing at or laughing with the diverse cultures that are incorporated into a lot of these memes.  While reading this essay I was immediately reminded of these two memes that I’ve seen several times now.  Both of which depict African boys and both of which are notorious for containing puns or jokes that are laughing at the boy’s culture.  The first mean pokes fun at the suspicious look the young African boy is giving the well-groomed female who appears to be a missionary or aid person that is clearly a visitor.  The jokes are all based around the differences in culture and wealth.  The most popular version of this meme pokes fun at the fact that countries in severe poverty rarely have access to clean water.

The second meme that I was reminded of is just called “the Happy Black Boys” on a site called Memecrunch.  The jokes on this meme are usually always based on laughing at the African culture.  I read one that said “Lives in Africa…didn’t get Ebola”, a joke about a deadly disease and how rampant it is on the African continent.  I’m sure that most Africans aren’t likely to find these memes particularly funny but they’re two of the most popular memes online right now.  For me, when I see the picture used in the “Happy Black Boys” meme, I see a group of boys who obviously don’t have many material items (no clothes…certainly no luxuries like cell phones or possibly running water) who are infectiously happy despite it.

sbb        hbb

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Better late than never

Posted by arielmoore346 on April 16, 2015

It’s been a 5 or 6 years since I’ve visited my family in the Philippines, but I remember all of my cousins obsessing over Justin Bieber and thinking, “Wow, nobody likes Justin Bieber anymore.” I noticed that a lot trends in the US seemed to become popular a little later overseas and vice versa. Another example from my last trip to the Philippines is the popularity of Hannah Montana. I remember my cousins wearing Hannah Montana clothes and covering their rooms in Hannah Montana posters long after the show was winding to an end and losing popularity. It was kind of like a time warp, because I remember when Hannah Montana was popular in the US you could barely escape the show’s influence. The same went with the High School Musical movies. I remember thinking it was funny and interesting that my cousins were so late to trends that were dying out in the US.

The same goes for media from other countries. I’m sure trends from other countries have a delayed outreach to other countries. Entertainment is a huge export for the US, so a delayed influence is better than no influence.

However, I feel like now with social media playing a big factor in how things spread, my family in the Philippines is more in the loop. Even though it’s been years since I last saw them, I notice that a lot of times they post about the same kinds of trends that are going on in the US.

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Transnational media 

Posted by norabrunner01 on April 16, 2015

In my Intercultural Communication class we just did a pop culture assignment. People were assigned different artists from around the world to research and write a paper on. I had a woman from Argentina, a lot of her music reminded me of American music. But, this project made me realize, people perform, act, make music, write, etc. somewhat alike no matter what country they are from. Yes, American media is dominant, clearly but as humans the majority of us hold the same values, such as family and love. Going from country to country the dancing, instrumentals and costume might be different but you will always find a song written about love. Even if these songs and movies are not produced with a lot of money, they still have that relatable but different factor that draw people in. Now that people are discovering content from other countries, the media that is easily relatable universally but also teaches about the country’s culture is what really sticks and keeps circulating. 

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Curation Project: Project Funding

Posted by karmstrong94 on April 16, 2015

For the last couple of years many independent film makers have relied on fans to help support their projects by providing them the funding that they need in order to make their projects come to life. With sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo a lot of these projects have been able to come to life. Take for instance Super Troopers 2. They were given permission to make the movie by the studio, but they had to do the funding themselves. They decided to take it to the fans to help give them the money they needed to make the film. They would provide the fans with gifts in return for their monetary support. Some things like t-shirts, posters, going to different sporting events with some of the cast members, and if you spend $25,000 all five members will attend your wedding and act as your groomsmen or bridesmaid and even bring you a gift. Their original goal was to raise $2 million. They raised $2 million in just one day and after one week they raise $3 million with 39,228 people backing them. As of right now after 23 days they have raised $3,618,653. There is still 9 more days left in their campaign. So I have no doubt that they will easily $4 million+ before their campaign is over. This just shows how far fan dedication can go. Another project that resembles this would be Blue Mountain State. BMS was a show on Spike for 3 seasons. It was really popular up until it got canceled back in 2012. Since its cancellation many of the fans were reaching out to the creators asking them to make a movie to fill the storylines that were left unfinished because of the cancelation. The difference between Blue Mountain State and Super Troopers 2 is that the Kickstarter for Blue Mountain State never had a specific goal of money that they wanted to reach. They left it up to the fans to donate whatever money they could to make the film. But, since the BMS is basically directed towards college students they put out a special challenge for colleges across the country. Whichever college donated the most money to the campaign would win a huge party thrown by the cast. So as of right now Arizona State is in the lead with $17,905 donated to the campaign. But, just like Super Troopers 2 the BMS crew offered gifts based on the amount of the donation that was received. This also ranged from getting a copy of their script, shot glasses, beer pong table, sign posters and jersey and even having your company logo represented in the movie somewhere. As of today Blue Mountain State the Movie has raised $1,911,827 with 23,999 backers. Its sites like these and dedicated fans that help keeps shows and independent films alive without other backers. Bringing it to the fans allows for a new level of support and by sending something in return to the backers makes it a win-win situations for all of those involved.

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Why Fund Me?

Posted by karmstrong94 on April 16, 2015

The emersion of sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo has made it easier on independent film makers to bring their projects to life. If they can’t find producers to back them with enough money that need to make their film they have sites like those to go and post their idea and try to gain as much money as possible. If people find things that they can connect with they would be more willing to contribute to that cause. This makes me think of GoFundMe. It’s the same idea as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. People will create pages asking for people to help them pay for medical school, or studying abroad or whatever. I personally would much rather contribute $5 or $10 bucks to making a movie than help pay for someone else to go to Italy. I know that sounds selfish and all, but I feel like I would get something out of contributing to a movie. At least then I would get to experience it when it makes to theaters or whatever than when someone graduates from medical school or comes back from studying abroad. All around they are good sites with concepts that are there to help people out. It especially helps out the independent film makers and such who don’t have the ability to get major contributors to help back them in their cause by taking to the public and seeking their support in making their film a reality that are there to help people out. It especially helps out the independent film makers and such who don’t have the ability to get major contributors to help back them in their cause by taking to the public and seeking their support in making their film a reality.

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Posted by smileytristan on April 16, 2015

Am I the only one who thought of this while reading? I mean, it is, simultaneously, India’s version of our own Hollywood, and its own thing entirely. It includes Indian history, philosophy, and traditional Sanskrit drama as its components, as well as the stylized entertainment factor that Hollywood is known for. We live in an age where Western storytelling, from Europe and the US, has such a wide influence on all media forms. The traditional three act structure, clear protagonist and antagonist, action set pieces. Our big blockbusters often make more in foreign markets than they do domestically. Foreign markets like China even add in some of their own actors in additional scenes for their audiences. I think this clearly shows how we can interact with other countries in a unique way,  but it also provides a misrepresentation. I was reading a list of how foreigners are surprised by our country, and finding out that not all girls dress as promiscuously as they do in our films was a revelation to them.

Just like how we offer our art to them, so can they to us. Anime has been popular in America for a long time, and like a lot of people, I also love the Studio Ghibli films. I’ve also noticed how some foreign films are getting increased recognition in the States – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Song of the Sea being a couple examples. So now you have all of these differing cultures and histories and mythologies working off of and influencing one another. A prime example is The Matrix and how it incorporates martial arts films, classic science fiction tropes, spaghetti westerns, and philosophy while also creating its own unique style and influence on films after it. I really like all this conglomeration in my media, for one. UT’s great to see the entirety of the world from my phone.

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The Media

Posted by flyjazzmynnicole on April 16, 2015

I’m very intrigue on how powerful America media can influence the world. I think one of the reason why everyone across the globe enjoy artists from our country is because America is a melting pot nation with people from all walks of life. I think other countries create great music, movies, Nd television shows too. However, I do remember at some point I thought to myself, “Do we connect through their media as much as we communicate through theirs?” That I realized when I thought about how artists such as Beyonce, Rihanna, and many other great celebrities go to all these countries perform, but I barely recognize the people from other countries who come to America to perform. Now one group I believe who’s from out of the country is called, Zedd, and they collaborate with a lot of great artists such as Haley Williams in the song “stay the night” (I love this song) and they recently just came out with a song with Selena Gomez. We make all these television shows and movies just like the other countries around the globe and we premier movies in other countries such as Spider-Man, Transformers, and etc. I like how Dragon Ball Z came to America and became a big hit. Actually I believe they had a movie premier and it sold out so quick because there’s still loyal fans everywhere. I remember my dad and uncle watching this show and my dad actually has VCR tapes of the show. He use to re run it and watch it and I’m like, “dad, didn’t you just watch this episode last week?” Lol. It was either WWE or Dragon Ball Z but media is powerful and it will continue to never fail.

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Media Interactions between America and Other Countries

Posted by kaleechism2018 on April 16, 2015

This reading had a lot to do with media interactions between America, other countries, immigrants and their influences, and basically everything that has to do with transcontinental media in a sense. One thought that crossed my mind when was how often other continents receive American media, and how seldom it was for Americans to see foreign content. Give or take a few examples such as Bollywood, and a few famous foreign celebrities, the majority of media content we see in America has been written, formed, created, and produced in America, whereas in other counties you are much more susceptible to media from all around the world. While in other countries songs and movies are often translated or even made in English to get a more international appeal, very few American movies or music is ever made in a different language besides English. American artists go on tour all across the world, and often times still sing some of their songs in English. I just think this is an interesting viewpoint on the whole “America vs. rest of the world in media” conversation. Another example that I found interesting was that the rise of social media and the Internet has come into play again when spreading media from all around the world. With the help of websites such as Google translate, it is possible to visit any website from anywhere and translate the content. This also makes it easier for people in America to receive media content from places all across the globe that they otherwise would not have found. Social media and the Internet are crucial to the distribution of media during this time and age, especially when this media is crossing oceans and going to other countries.

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Posted by willwalters441 on April 16, 2015

One of the outside articles mentioned how fansubs on Asian TV shows are produced. For a currently airing series, local viewers will rip the episodes off the air and send these raw videos to fansub groups who create subtitles for them. Some of these groups will use the subtitles already created by companies that “simulcast” the show, streaming it online, subbed, at near the same time that the show airs in Asia. These videos are often of lower quality, so the groups use the high quality video with the ready made subs to create a more quickly done final product than their own translation would yield.

I don’t claim to know a whole lot of Japanese, but I know some. It’s enough to let me notice sometimes when the translations are a little iffy. For example, one time I was watching an anime where a character says “arigatou”, Japanese for “thanks”. The subs on the video, though, have it translated as “thankies”. It was a little jarring to read at first, not only because “thankies” is something I’ve never heard before and hope never to hear in real life. They had it translated that way because the character was established as a young girl who might use that kind of slang. But the actual line didn’t contain anything that could cause a translation like that by itself. And if I could detect that kind of a change with just my very limited familiarity with the language, I wondered what other kinds of changes could have been made without me knowing. In an extreme sense, could my entire concept of the show be wrong? In a larger sense, it’s worth wondering how these middlemen, like fansubbers, that redistribute and repackage media for different cultures, themselves affect the message the work is trying to portray.

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Spreadability Enhancing Cultural Diversity

Posted by Garrett Hunt on April 16, 2015

What this chapter makes me think of is the originally non American pop culture texts that I personally enjoy and have enjoyed since I was a young child growing up. Words can’t express my appreciation for us as a country having the ability to indulge in and translate the pop culture created in other countries that come from different cultures. I also find it amazing how the themes presented in a lot of other country’s pop culture are relatable in our own country to our own culture.

Some examples of these culturally diverse pieces of pop culture that I’ve been lucky enough to have had change my life would be manga or anime such as the widely known Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fairy Tail, and even Pokémon. The reason that I say I’m so thankful to have encountered these pieces of pop culture is because I truly believe that they helped to influence the type of person I am today and the kind of mindset I have, which is a generally optimistic one. If you watch or read any one of the examples I listed above, you would soon notice the trend in how the main protagonist of each show acts, which gives way to the themes of the shows.

It is also thanks to these shows that I was able to choose Pop Culture Studies as my major. For my first 3 semesters at WKU I was struggling to find something to study in college and then one day I realized this major as a possibility because I’ve always loved our own pop culture such as our music, tv shows, and movies as well as other pop culture from other countries. It’s because of those specific examples of pop culture that I want to travel and possibly study abroad in Japan eventually out of anywhere else.

My main point from this is that, without spreadability of pop culture between different cultures, I would likely be a completely different person from who I am today with a set of different values and plans for my future. So thank you, spreadability.

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