Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for March, 2015

Abridged series

Posted by Kacie Jones on March 31, 2015

One of the things that kept coming to mind during today’s class discussion was how Abridged series of anime often times become more popular than the actual anime itself. However because of the abridged series popularity many people will then go watch the original show to understand some of the jokes or see how different the parody is from the actual plot. These series also help to drive up merchandise sales, especially at conventions. The artists that attend will produce posters or buttons with the characters and quotes from the parody on them to make people laugh and they sell extremely well.

Sometimes of course these abridged series get a negative response from the official creators and are slapped with a cease and desist order. That has happened to a few I watched but, the parody teams figured out ways around that. Each one of them add a few second intro to their videos saying “This is a non profit parody” and “Please support the official release” Which saves them from any further persecution by company lawyers.

One of my favorite abridged series is called “50% off Free!” (Because the original show is called “Free!” ) The show centers around a high school swim team and honestly the real show is super boring to me. I’m not big on sports anime in general but this one isn’t quick paced or witty like some others. However the abridged series is hilarious and the guys who do the voices for it have been invited to appear as guests at several conventions and have received so much fan support its crazy.

If interested you can watch the series here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJVeF2-zu1kGQ7t7UUPwolNWiQHXQUASs


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Part One: Pro Wrestling

Posted by shelby bruce on March 31, 2015

Personally, pro wrestling has never been something that I have had an interest in but I grew up around a father who was a very big fan of it at first. At a young age, I can remember watching some of it with my dad and being amazed because I honestly thought it was real but as I grew older I was blown away when I found out that it was all fake. It honestly changed the prospective for me because I never knew that everything these people were doing wasn’t real at all. A long time ago, my dad used to attend the matches and has even had opportunities to meet some of the guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. Just like Mike Foley, these were guys who were also apart of a phenomenon that a lot of people were constantly following.

Looking back on it today, it kind of impresses me because of the fact that these people learned to become this character that they were forced to role play almost constantly. As the reading said, these people are told whether they are antagonists and protagonists, and depending on what you are, it’s your job to fulfill being that person at all times because that’s how people know you. I honestly think this is why it seems so believable to some people because these characters become real after a while. When you keep up with them, become a fan of them, and watch how they act, you base your opinions off of what you’re seeing so if you see them acting a certain way, that’s usually what you’re going to believe them to be. The times when my dad met several of these guys, I can remember him telling me how cool and intimidating they were at the same time because they have that role they’re asked to fulfill. For instance, looking at The Rock nowadays as an actor, he’s nothing like he was back in the day when he used to wrestle. He’s looked at as this big teddy bear of a guy who can act, but when he was still in the wrestling world, he was one of the characters that you shouldn’t mess with.

It’s amazing to me to think about what wrestling really is now that I have a real concept on it and I wouldn’t consider it real fighting or a sport. I would almost want to categorize it as a show that people keep up with. That may seem strange but if you think about the characters and the fact that they’re scripted to do most of what they do, it’s no different then any other primetime television show. This is what makes it more interesting in my opinion because of the fact that for years they have had such a wide following of fans. It’s amazing what great script writers can do just to keep viewers intrigued.

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Curation Project: Humor and Activism

Posted by kaleechism2018 on March 31, 2015

In this section, we talked a lot about advertisements and what makes media spread. One of the biggest components of spreading media, especially when it comes to ads, is humor. We see thousands of ads a day, but as soon as you see a funny one it will stick in your brain for the rest of the day like a catchy song. You will remember not only the ad, but also the product, and as long as you remember that product then the advertisers have done their job. In the book, the infamous Old Spice commercials were brought up, and how the humor in their ads helped raise their following by 30%. This is a wonderful example of how humor can help lead to an increase in following for a certain brand or product. Another product that uses this same method is State Farm. One of the most memorable, and in my opinion, funniest commercials is the Jake from State Farm Commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47cAxRX3aDg ). I’m sure you all know the one I’m talking about. “Uhhhh khakis?” The purpose of this commercial was to help spread the message about their 24- call policy, but what the majority of the audience got out of it was it’s just funny. As long as people are talking, the ad has spread the message, and in this case humor was its’ vehicle. As said in the book, humor is not just what you think is funny; it is a connection you build with others that share the joke. You feel as if you have made a connection with the company just because you enjoyed the humor in their commercial, which makes you much more likely to at least look in to the product, if not purchase it. Humor is a huge vehicle in advertising today, and it helps to make the message spreadable if more and more people like it and are talking about it.

Another section of this chapter I would like to talk about is the section of using spreadable media as a tool for activism. One of most talked about example of this is the Kony 2012 video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc ). This video spreads a message about an issue that was going on for years and that no one really talked about, but as soon as this video hit Facebook it was spread to millions of people, and currently has over 100 million views on YouTube. This video became so popular because it appeals to us in many different ways; it appeals to our emotions though the kids we see in the video, as well as appealing to us in a different way we usually don’t get talked to as an audience: he is telling us we can help make the difference. By empowering us through this video, we feel like he is giving us, the audience, the power and we feel like it is our duty to spread the message by sharing the video on all of our social media—and making it more spreadable. Even if we didn’t donate or join the movement, we still felt as if we were helping because we spread the message. Another reason this video became so popular was because it was so easy to share. In just the click of a button, we let all of our friends know about this message, and it made us feel as if we had the most important and active role in helping this organization succeed. This organization used an almost internet- only based platform, and though its use of social media became on of the most well- known activism videos that I can think of. We see videos kind of like this all the time on platforms such as Facebook. “Like to help Seth,” or “Every Share is a Prayer.” Even though our view alone isn’t really helping these causes, we feel like we are when we spread the message to all of our friends with something as simple as a “share” or a “like.” Social media and the internet are one of the most helpful sharing platforms we have access to right now, and instead of using them to share things such as a funny cat video, some organizations have taken them seriously and used them to help make millions in donations and volunteers, and although it may sound like a silly concept to “share” a video to help someone, sometimes it really does. Activism takes many different forms, and they are evolving just as well as our culture by joining the Internet platforms, allowing them to become better “Spreadable Media.”

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Not All Content Is Created Equal

Posted by kaleechism2018 on March 31, 2015

In this section, the book talked a lot about what makes certain content spreadable, and why some content gains more popularity than others. In this section, the book gave many bullet points about what can make certain content more spreadable than others. While I was reviewing these bullet points, I came to the realization that almost all of them point to better spreadability when on an Internet platform. Through the internet content is ready whenever or wherever you need it, it is usually more portable, it can be reused or remade on as many different platforms as you want when it is first available through the internet, it can be shown to many different audiences easily, while the relevance is still up to the original creator and the audience viewing the content, and it is much easier to make a series or a stream of material though the internet. If you think about it, what popular content recently hasn’t started on the Internet? This platform makes it easier to share on social media and spread, as well as share your ideas and comments about the content. The Internet just makes it easier to spread, and by using this platform the creators are giving the content a much better chance of being successful than if they just put it on paper.

Another section of this book that I found particularly interesting is the section on advertising and the different strategies used there. I thought it was funny that you brought up the Old Spice commercial, and how their use of humor helped them gain a large number of new followers. I also liked that you talked about mystery, and parody and how they can be used to help spread ads and make the product more successful. Parodies have been used on the internet for as long as I can remember, and they have been very successful in not only getting viewers for the creator, but also for the celebrity or product at hand. These different methods of advertising help to expand the message, as well as get the viewers attention.

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Going Viral

Posted by karmstrong94 on March 31, 2015

Now a days its like a life achievement if someone can make a video or photo of theirs go viral. Its like self satisfaction for them if they can get as many people as possible to see whatever it is they are sharing with the world. Its like it doesn’t seem like it takes much to become internet famous. I heard a girl over spring break talking about a picture she took of her ice cream bar. She said that she can finally be one of those tumblr girls that’s famous for posting a picture of food. Its funny that their use to be a time when internet privacy and security was important to most people. Now it seems like the more people that know about you and likes your pictures the better. Safety and security don’t seem that important to people in our generation. Its like the more blocks that are in their way and keeps them from “their people” But with all of that virtual fame it then becomes more pressure on that person to keep delivering quality posts to their followers in order to maintain their virtual fame. They can post as many pictures and videos as they want but if they don’t live up to what is expected from them then sooner or later their followers will break their loyalty to that person and follow them. Followers can be so cold sometimes.

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Video Games and Timely Controversy

Posted by willwalters441 on March 31, 2015

When I read the section in the book about ‘timely controversy’ and how it can cause the spread of a creation, I was reminded of a story I heard about the creation of a game. In the late 90’s, a game was developed by a small, British studio, that featured two different game modes. The game gave you the option to play as either a cop or a criminal. As a criminal. the player could run around and freely disobey any laws, but as a cop, they were forced to uphold and follow the law. The dev team quickly realized that playing as a cop was absolutely no fun, so they refocused the game on the idea of being a criminal. The only problem was that, as the game developed, it became evident that it was little more than a mayhem simulator. The player could freely run around, gunning down citizens and stealing cars in a bloody frenzy. The problem was how to market such a game. At that point in time, the codes surrounding what was acceptable in video games were very strict, and this sort of thing would not fly. So, the developers hired a promotion team whose strategy was to use controversy surrounding the game to fund its sale. They promoted its violence and newspapers carried headlines proclaiming and decrying it. The matter progressed so far that it was brought to court, where the game fought a legal battle to ensure its right to be sold. Long story short, it won, and sold incredibly well because of the wide spread of the marketing it had gained through the controversy. Even in the 90’s, before most of the social marketing that is common today, this strategy worked to produce consumer interest, and is no less (in fact, much more) effective today. Anyway, that’s the story of how the first Grand Theft Auto game was made.

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Not a blog post, just something I found interesting.

Posted by smileytristan on March 30, 2015

This is an article discussing why anti-vaxxers are dangerous relating to something called “naïve theories”, and also discusses “sticky ideas” and how ideas spread through a population and how/why some stick. The actual science is called cultural epidemiology. I like vaccines personally and believe them to be a good thing, but I am not trying to spark any debate. This is just an article I found interesting. Also, check out the website, they also have many interesting reads.


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Posted by smileytristan on March 30, 2015

I think this is a vastly underrated movie. It is, in my opinion, the second best entry in the Scream series, despite being a little too awkwardly comical for my taste.

Why do I bring this 2011 flick up? I think it speaks volumes about our current state of mind as a society. EVERYONE wants their 15 minutes of fame, and it is now more possible than ever with the accessibility of social media.


According to the main villain of the film, Jill: “We all live in public, we’re all on the Internet, how do you think people become famous anymore?” This film touches on so much: modern horror; sequels, reboots, remakes, and reimaginings; the state of entertainment, social media, and flash-in-the-pan celebrities. Granted, most of this all come together right at the end, but still. Also, it’s ironic given that this movie IS a sequel/pseudo-reboot of the series, but that is beside the point. Hollywood revolves around building franchises nowadays, with actors often signing on for multiple films, which wasn’t the norm a few years back. I’ve also heard and contributed to, like most people, how nothing is “original” anymore (which I’ve learned isn’t the case), and yet SO many sequels, reboots built on nostalgia, etc. are just blazing past us every year. What will be the next big thing? What determines what will be the next big thing? Inevitably, the fun, clubbing pop music fad will die out, to be replaced with something else entirely (think the difference between the majority of ’80s and the majority of ’90s music). Fads will come and go, but the study of memes and how our entertainment evolves in society continues to be interesting. I also recommend playing the video game METAL GEAR SOLID 2 for some perspective on early 21st century views on the emerging technology and topics such as information control, among an array of weird Japanese stuff. Not sure if I have mentioned that before; just throwing it out there.

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Let’s Go Viral!

Posted by Jazzmyn N. A. on March 30, 2015

It doesn’t take much for things to go viral. Sharing something on Facebook or even liking it would make an advertisement go viral. Vine videos go viral pretty quick because it’s a social media app that that will fulfill you with laughter in a matter of seconds. The reason why the media goes viral is because it doesn’t take much to broadcast to the world what’s going on. An example, is the sausage video. Even thought it’s silly, it’s creative, that’s why it’s one of the many things that’s trending on social media. I remember the first time I saw the sausage video, it was on twitter, and I was like, “what the…” then I laugh, because that’s all you could literally do. The bullets in the book was very handy and it’s something I do plan on using as motivation for my future career after college. The discussion on the Old Spice commercials caught my attention, because I remember in my advertising class last semester that was part of our topic on how the target market for it has changed over the years, because of the way it’s advertised. Back in the day, people thought that Old Spice was for older men, now you see commercials were it’s actually advertised to young men and that’s one of the ways the media goes viral. What catches my attention the most on viral media is hilarious videos. I would literally be up all night watching vine videos laughing so hard, that my room mate can’t sleep. Another viral media that catches my attention is outrageous stories. For an example, “A man who we believe can transform into a wolf.” Now, if I come across a link like that, of course I’m going to click on it to read it and someone else will share it. One of the most things that has gone viral was the mystery dress. Even though the dress wasn’t appealing, many people were led to believe that from their own eyesight that the dress will appear white and gold, or blue and black. Some people believe it was fake, but until then, it will remain a mystery.

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One in a Thousand.

Posted by vaughanchristian on March 30, 2015

When i was reading this chapter i read something talking about how industries create a lot of varieties of one product (such as TV shows) and they will hopefully get one or two of them to be successful and the company will mostly receive their income with those one or two popular things. I have honestly seen this present in more Cartoon networks than anything. Like on Nickelodeon they basically let as how run for a long, long time if it is very popular and they can continue to make money off of it. For example, Spongebob, this show has been on the air since 2000 and continues to remain on the air with new episodes, brand new movie that came out this year, and tons of merchandise. I have also seen Nick have several shows that do not do well at all and utterly flop off the air, An example of one of these shows would be Fanboy & Chum Chum, which is already off the air and was only on air for like 1 or 2 years.

I do think this is good strategy for TV channels because you have more of a chance of making money quickly and having a hit show. If you only put one out at a time the more likely that they will make no money because the show could flop and generate no money and will have to continue to air that show and lose money while they make another show to replace it.

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