Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for March, 2013

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Posted by colleencourtney on March 31, 2013

I had just gotten back from my Aunt’s house for a nice Easter dinner when I turned on the television to check the score of the Louisville/Duke game. The score was still in the teens so my family changed the channel. We’re UK fans so we didn’t really care. Anyway, as I was about to leave to drive the hour to Bowling Green, a breaking news story popped up on the channel we were watching. It said the Louisville/Duke game had a break in the action when Louisville player Kevin Ware suffered a horrific injury during play. They didn’t show video of the injury, just Kevin Ware on a stretcher and several of the Louisville players and fans crying. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to see the video. I searched Kevin Ware on YouTube and it was the first video. I saw the first 10 seconds and I completely regret watching the video. That was the worst injury I have ever seen in my life. I think what made it worse was his teammates’ reactions who were on the bench at the time. Since the injury occurred right in front of them, their reactions were enough to know how badly Kevin Ware was injured. My hour long trip was filled with that image of Kevin Ware’s leg and his teammates’ reactions. So, I guess the moral of the story is, if an injury is too bad to show on the news, it’s best if I don’t let my curiosity get the best of me and watch.


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Different Beliefs

Posted by mathiusbryant on March 28, 2013

Today in class we talked about several different debates going on in the world. From gay marriage to the Palestinians fighting with the Israelites its war of political, religious, and personal beliefs all over the world. Now I don’t want to get in a religious debate cause that subject can be very touchy and controversial these days. But the subject of beliefs has become a very big part of what we see in the media.

Here in America, the battle over same sex marriage is at an all time high. Although people of the GLBT(Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) have been fighting for equality rights since the 1960’s, it is indeed at the highest peak its ever been at. You have this side saying things like “we have a right to be married to who we want to be married to” and “I don’t have the same beliefs as you do”. Then you have another side that’s the “anti-gay marriage” side. They state that we should stick to “traditional marriage” which is between a man and a woman and that “God never intended marriage to be for two people of the same sex. Leaders of this nation are currently in court debating what could be a lead to an unforgettable change in this nation. 

Then we have the fighting that is going on in the Middle East. Truth be told, its been a fight that has been going on for centuries. Both groups involved feel as if the land is there’s and they should be the ones controlling and in charge of it. The Palestinians who are from an Islam background feel as if they have a right over the land going all the way back to the creator of the Muslim faith Muhammad. The Israelites have the strong belief that God gave them that land and it belongs to them and only them. 

I would like to know what everyone else thinks. So feel free to comment. However, be respectful of others beliefs please and thank you. 

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Posted by mathiusbryant on March 28, 2013

The media craves for what happens in an everyday celebrities life. Matter of fact, if you would do something totally out of this world then news people could even come to your door one day. However, you must not believe everything you see on television, hear on the radio, or what you see on the internet, in newspapers, and/or magazines. I felt the reading about rumors really did speak about it very fairly. Some things you hear that aren’t true live up to great expectations. Others, didn’t really go as far as what the person who started it may have wanted it to go.

It’s all about a little word known as publicity. In the world of the famous, publicity can make your career larger than life. Sometimes, it could ruin your entire career. For example, I remember seeing a guy on Oprah who said a book he wrote was based on his actual life. He claimed it was his story about how he used to be on drugs. Ironically, he came out saying it was all just a big hoax. He was invited back on her show and let me tell you; she didn’t look happy. She openly apologized for boosting this guy about this story.

Another common lie that goes around a lot is death of celebrities. Just recently, multiplatinum rapper Lil’ Wayne was hospitalized after he had a seizure. There where rumors going all around the net that he had died. No surprise however, a friend spoke out saying he was fine and he was sitting right next to him in the hospital. Wayne is out and has addressed his fans saying he is doing well.

So don’t believe everything the media puts out there. Its like believing Osama Bin Laden going on television saying he isn’t a terrorist.

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Illuminati rumors

Posted by jayykav on March 28, 2013

As stated in the book, rumors aren’t often of the highest quality, but rather that which most powerfully speaks to the desires and fears of the community. It is through that statement alone that I believe the Illuminati is one of the biggest rumors within rumorI am attempting to write my term paper on this topic as well.

Most people believe that the Illuminati began as an elite society (sort of like a brotherhood or a fraternity). Their modern origin, however, traces back to the 1760s and a man named Adam Weishaupt, who defected from the Catholic church and organized the Illuminati, financed by the International Bankers. Since then, according to the Illuminati, their top goal has been to achieve a “one world government” and to subjugate all religions and governments in the process. The Illuminati thus attribute all wars since the French Revolution as having been fomented by them in their pursuit of their goals (people.virginia.edu).

Celebrities got involved due to the fact that they can control the masses and get the word out fast. If you think about it, we probably know more about Beyonce’s life than we know about the people we encounter daily.

The whole “plan” of the New World Order could just be one set forth to scare people. Choosing such a strong topic (like the end of the world) is very appealing to people.

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wait, so Wiki isn’t a credible source? **insert sarcasm**

Posted by erinoestringer on March 28, 2013

There is a never ending supply of information sources at our fingertips at all times. At any given second I can find the answers to any questions that could ever come to my mind, from the song that played during the pilot of that one show twelve years ago to the name of the moon circulating around the furthest away star. Today we are given the opportunity to be the most brilliant, knowledge filled generation that ever lived. However, we are also faced with the reality of maybe being the least. Why? Because we don’t actually have to know anything. Anyone can be a total idiot but mask it with google searches and Siri inquiries. But as we’re reading, that isn’t always so helpful.

Just as easily as we can find information on the internet, we can also publish it. If I want to post a wikipedia page that says the moon orbiting whatever star is called Erin 15.2, I can. And someone out there might put it in a college paper. So what do we believe? While most of us rely on Wiki for some of our basic questions, I think we’re all smart enough here to agree its not exactly what you would call scholarly. Correction, it isn’t at all. But even the reliable sources that we’ve all come to believe can be inaccurate. The Weaver article names some pretty seemingly reliable sources, such as The Washington Post. But most every major publication has a gossip-y section. Does that discredit the rest? Or does that just ask more of us, the readers and consumers, to distinguish what we read as either fact or fluff? I’d have to say it does.

It is the ethics of today’s spreadable media that comes in to play here. Write on my made-up-for-arguments-sake Wiki and say that I made up my own moon! Comment on a article and point out that, No maybe that pop artist didn’t do whatever crazy thing they’re saying and we shouldn’t believe everything we read. Be a critic, and be open to believe that what we see and even what we believe to be true isn’t always as accurate as we’d like to think. Any of us could become a CEO or super cool executive one day, then end up with some tarnish to our name floating around the web and circulars. Let’s be better media consumers and NOT fall for it all.

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Learning to be Responsible.

Posted by classypassi on March 28, 2013

This quote came to me when I first read the beginning of the article about the last line of the song, “When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody:”

“This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. 

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”

Because of our current spreadable media opportunities, it is evident that a more participatory culture has evolved to become the norm in our culture. However, as argued in the article, if someone is associated with a credible source as NPR, The Washington Post, New York Times, etc. we have no problem to support their claims and opinions simply because of their company they work for… this makes it a lot more difficult when someone finds a decent said article that caters to their opinion by Joe Shmo from the US Weekly Updater… or some unheard of source that is questioned from scholars. Who are we anymore to say if Joe Shmo is a credible person or not? Sometimes at the end of a random article, the author’s credentials are shared a long with their editor, publisher, adviser, etc. Which is great! But as soon as we graduate college… we will have some sort of scholarly credentials that can be argued just as equally credible as Joe’s, or even Suzie Q  from the Chicago Sun-Times. How can we trust anything written now? It is becoming a collection of meshed and overlapped opinions and skewed facts because posts are becoming more competitive making people write almost anything now to catch attention from the audience (i.e. Fox News).

I think it’s great that broadcasters pick up on spreadable media and share it to a larger audience through their news networks, late night talk shows, etc. And I have to keep in mind that I am merely one individual who cannot be the face of the general audience, but I know when I turn on the news, I would like to see what’s going on politically, globally, nationally, maybe some new invention or cure, even crime updates, etc. not that a damn celebrity was accused of soliciting prostitutes and is fighting the courts about it. Who gives a pickled bologna?! Our SOURCE is becoming implausible and untrustworthy.. and this is a problem. People used to once turn on the news channel because it was the source to all of what we needed to know. Now, people have to research online for their selves to find information.. and hope that it is a “credible” source because God knows who wrote some article about a faulty story.. which can create rumors. Sure, not everyone is stupid and will believe everything they hear or read.. but the majority of America does. And we are part of who reads these posts from these people. It’s bug-eat, bug world out there.

I know in my major we study validity through research, how to measure it, etc. But we have to be aware that not everyone knows this. And I still don’t know it completely. When we write our research papers, we all know that Wikipedia is not a valid site, however, if we use Google Scholar to look up articles– are all of them valid or accurate?

The idea of rumors are created by fallacies. Appeal to popularity/belief/emotion: “If most people prefer Obama over Romney, although I thought Romney was a better candidate, Obama must be better because everyone else likes him.” Rumors can also be spread by hasty generalizations… when information is gathered from a small group that clearly does not represent everyone and is then assumed that everyone reflects the smaller group. The list goes on… it’s the circle of life. We will never be able to fix any rumors if we keep being a participatory audience, there is too much information being spread around to clearly make sense of the facts. (Similar to the popular children’s game: Telephone: where a line of kids start with one telling a secret to another, that one whispers what was said, and so on, until the last kid says what they heard out loud which is almost always not at all what was said originally.) We can only better prepare ourselves to outsmart rumors, to not believe everything we read and hear. We can only adapt and overcome.

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Who do you trust for a story?

Posted by 90210code on March 28, 2013

When one lives in such a consumer-oriented society, what is he or she to believe? We are constantly bombarded with magazines, websites, and television shows trying to tell us what to believe. To our surprise, these media outlets don’t always get it right. 

I’m a big fan of talk shows. My favorite is The Wendy Williams Show. Wendy Williams is a former radio host that is known for her brashness and colorful personality. Everyday on her talk show, she has a segment called Hot Topics, like The View has. She sits in her chair and gives her take on the latest celebrity gossip and events in popular culture. She’ll name her sources which aren’t always the most credible like mediatakeout.com or The National Enquirer. 

I’ve learned to take what she tells me with a grain of salt. I don’t believe everything that comes out of her mouth because most of what does is her opinion. It’s just entertaining for me to watch. That’s just like my consumption of celebrity magazines like US Weekly and People Magazine. 

US and People are two competing gossip magazines. Which magazine is a customer more likely to trust? Probably People because they also report on human interest stories about regular, everyday people. When it all comes down to it, they are both in the business of competition and making money. Which is more credible? Most would say People Magazine, but even People doesn’t always get the story straight. 

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Take what you see or hear with a grain of salt.

Posted by scsteele on March 28, 2013

I read with great interest the topic of the chapter called “Rumors” and the implications that rumors had on not just individual people but on corporate America as well.

I didn’t realize it until I read the article that most rumors are racial or religious based. After I read and thought about it, it made sense to me that people have a tendency to nip pick the words of others and focus on their perception of what they hear and turn it into a something that is completely out of context of how it was said. As in the case of Church’s it was devastating to the company and it had to be sold. Most are started within a society such as in the case of Church’s where it was white owned and built in black neighborhoods. The rumors normally stayed in the black community and were seldom heard outside of it, yet it was powerful enough that the Church’s had to sell.

Before the explosion of social media outlets, rumors were isolated to communities and word of mouth or advertising. Now days you can go to a number of media outlets and find both factual and bogus claims just about anything and everybody whether it be you tube, facebook, or even in a newspaper. I have learned unless you hear something from the horse’s mouth itself in entirety take what you read, and or see and hear with a grain of salt.

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Posted by ryannpopp on March 28, 2013

sometimes im just so happy that im not famous. i dotn have to deal with the whole world hearing rumors about me, that arent true. it’s worse enough hearing rumors that arent true that hasve been spread around school. it’s not so bad in college, but it was always the worse in high school. there was always someone who wanted to start something just because they didnt like you, or they were jealous, and if they told the right people who had big mouths the rumor would be around school before the lunch bell rang. it’s worse for celebrities because it’s not like theyre in high school anymore…they dont have to worry about a couple hundred people hearing lies, they have to worry about a couple million people finding out. the only magazines i read is cosmo, because i like the fashion and all the other things in there us teenage girls like to sit around and giggle at. im not one who reads the magazines that have celebrity gossip in them because i know if it’s true then im going to hear it from best friend Micaela who knows all the hottest gossip on the celebrities.

i know it wasnt too long ago where there was a rumor about Morgan Freeman dying, and i freaked out, and i immediately tweeted about it, and come to find out Micaela told me it wasnt true. im kind of out of the circle when it comes to celebrity lives. i wouldnt even know which magazines to read because i dont know which are telling the facts or which is just trying to start rumors.

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I don’t read magazines often, but when I do, I’d rather they be factual than fictional.

Posted by colleencourtney on March 27, 2013

I’m sure everyone has been to their grocery store and has seen the magazines that line the checkout counter. People Magazine is fairly reliable and UsWeekly is usually okay as well, but then you have Star Magazine and The National Enquirer that are complete trash. All of the headlines on those magazines are basically lies. They also photoshop pictures of celebrities to make them look heavier or near their death bed, depending on what headline they are going for. I don’t understand what the point of these magazines are if all they are printing is lies. It’s journalism at its worst.

I worked at Dollar General over the summer and I remember an instance when a lady had been reading a story in the National Enquirer while she waited in line. She wasn’t able to finish the story so she ended up buying the magazine to finish her reading. The National Enquirer costs $3.49 and I internally groaned when she bought it. Those magazines are such a waste of money. I just kind of hate it when people are duped into thinking something is real. You know some people will read those stories and tell others and for some reason that bothers me. It’s just another of many ways where false rumors are spread.

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