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Friday, December 16, 2005

Pop Goes the World

Since I'm now the official pop culture columnist (bwaa ha!), I figured I'd address the issue of the importance of pop culture. Or maybe Mr. Dante Fontana told me to address it. Whatever.

(I just realized for the first time his name is Dante Fontana, as opposed to Dan Fontana. Maybe next week I'll write a column about paying attention.)

In short, pop culture is important.

Many think it isn't. In my own experience, I've had my friend the med student argue it isn't, as well as an aspiring folk singer/current busker. People can have varying degrees of disdain when dismissing popular culture. Some patronizingly concede that it can be fun, but nothing more, while others are more contemptuous.

If you try to defend pop culture, you may be met with arguments such as its irrelevance, its frothiness, its bubbleheadedness, its very popularity.

Some of it is crap, true. Some of it is frothy and insubstantial, as well.
But it's easy to be a culture snob and dismiss anything popular. It gives one a false sense of superiority and cache. Just because something is liked by a schwack of people doesn't make it bad. Sometimes it does, but not always.

Some pop culture is profound, relevant, moving. It helps people get through hard times. It can make life transcendent, if only for a moment. It's fun.

I remember once seeing a med student and a drama student discussing art. The med student, explaining why what he was studying was more important than drama, said, "We save lives."

The drama student said, "But what are you saving them for?"

Where'd I hear that? I can't remember...oh, yes. It was an episode of A Different World.

Earlier columns by K'vitsh: December 09