Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Pop Culture Capstone Extra Credit Post (4/25)

Posted by faythleighann on April 25, 2017

So earlier today I attended the presentations given by pop culture majors on their research topics. Without exaggeration I was actually interested in hearing the different approaches to connections from the four students, and today was no disappointment. I intend on being short in the descriptions of each topic because each one was diverse enough for its own blog that I could go on for hours writing about.

The first presenter was Garrett Hunt as he discussed the topic of anime and manga being more than entertainment. He specifically referenced a Japanese artist that created his work after the bombing in WWII. The anime was an outlet to take an educational approach for other cultures to gain insight on Japanese culture. Themes and controversial topics were described as universal cross-culturally (highlighting the main points in Spreadable Media). Hunt also explained that there can be a literal analysis of the ideas in anime and manga, but an audiences’ personal or dramatic interpretation as well that can be used for educational lenses.

Alissa Kendrick followed the presentation with a discussion about Bob Dylan’s career with an emphasis on his most recent success of winning the Nobel Literature Prize, even though he refused the prize. After giving the background of the famous (or to some infamous) signer and songwriter, Kendrick questioned why Dylan’s success was so controversial. She brought up points such as who determines what literature is, and is Bob Dylan winning such a big deal because he isn’t a traditional writer such as a poet? She concluded that this is possibly the direction that our culture is going towards and accepting art in nontraditional forms as a branch from our roots.

Following this presentation was my personal favorite. Marshall Metcalf discussed the influence Alice in Wonderland had/has on drug culture. Metcalf states that the original children’s book was released 152 years ago and is still prevalent in our culture because of the unintentional relation to drug culture in the 60s. Around this time, due to other influential popular culture factors and timing of releases, psychedelic and trippy culture was encouraged. Alice in Wonderland was turned dark. After heavy interpretations of the Disney film, many literally referred to LSD as ‘Alice’ as an allusion to the similar experience to falling down a “rabbit hole” and eating food/drinks that make Alice bigger/smaller. With the intention of being a criticism of society’s view of children and childhood as a whole, we created new meaning based on our own culture and twisted the original.

Concluding the presentations, our very own Ariel Moore compared the adult cartoon Bob’s Burgers to the ideal family and the American Dream. She started with the more commonly thought of ideal caucasian nuclear family with a stay-at-home mom, white collar dad, and minimum of two children. However, modern television such as Modern Family and The Middle change these ideas. Moore’s focus is that in Bob’s Burgers, each family member has their own version of the American Dream. With this, each personality is nontraditional compared to older ideals. This difference, along with the humorous approach to real-world situations and the sincere hope of succeeding, is what makes the ideal american dream and family personalized and accepting to failures.

Each topic was well presented and this was by far one of my favorite events I have attended this semester. The students all questioned different parts of our culture and what those influences it as a whole.


One Response to “Pop Culture Capstone Extra Credit Post (4/25)”

  1. vene131 said

    I really wanted to attend this event but I had to support my fellow English majors at the Senior Awards Ceremony. I love this idea of Bob’s Burgers being a kind of revamped version of the ideal family. I have never thought about how they kind of represent this idea of the American dream but in a weird way.

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