Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Thinking Transnationally part 1

Posted by Kimberlea Ferrell on April 19, 2017

The internet enables us to interact with people all across the globe, of different cultures and languages, in many different ways. Media spreads even faster, and without borders. Just because we can interact with these people, doesn’t mean things go so smoothly. There can be certain cultural barriers to our interactions, like the example in “From Weird to Wide” of a meme originating in Kenya, or restrictions and censorship by governments.

I remember when I was first shown Pewdiepie. One friend at the time was obsessed and started repeating Swedish words at school so she could curse and get away with it, but it’s an example of how the internet affects what we know of other places. A YouTuber from Sweden is now the most subscribed to channel on YouTube. Since then I’ve discovered a ton of other relatively big YouTubers from the U.K., content I might not have had access to if it wasn’t for a platform like YouTube.

I was also reminded of anime. Japanese animations spreading to other countries and becoming wildly popular. I even saw a skit today about fansubs versus official subtitles, as I was about to watch a new episode of Attack on Titan with a friend.

I have an example for censorship in the form of Steven Universe. I saw a video about an episode being censored, and was very confused and concerned. Then I realized, it wasn’t censored here, but in the U.K. An episode where Pearl and Rose fuse into Rainbow Quartz was altered. They cut out part of the fusion dance, which was seen as clearly unnecessary. They also edited a clip where Garnet is “poofed” meaning her form dissipates and reverts back to her gemstones. They cut out the scene of her splitting apart. More heavy censorship is done in Russia, where they leave out any and all possibility of Ruby being referred to as female, since Ruby and Sapphire are clearly a romantic relationship and fuse to make Garnet.


3 Responses to “Thinking Transnationally part 1”

  1. nathanpowers22 said

    First, I think I may have seen the same skit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvNxgHTWIlo). Second, it’s interesting that you mention becoming aware of the censorship of Steven Universe in other countries. The fact that fans were able to find out that their respective countries were censoring episodes in the first place speaks to the community’s ability to influence how fans understand media. That is, if fan sites for discussion didn’t exist, most fans in those places would never know they were getting an altered version of Steven Universe, let alone inform the rest of the international fan base, including you, that this is happening.

  2. katemilner9 said

    On the topic of censorship and the spreading of media, we have to wonder how much good it’s doing. Now that, like you said, its so easy for people to find out if they’ve seen a censored version of a show, and find what was removed, what’s the point in censorship? If anything, it only seems to be making banned clips more appealing, as now not only can you find what’s been missing, but you feel you have to see it to see what the fuss is about.

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