It's the thing.

22 November 2013

Current Events vs Pop Culture

It goes hand-in-hand that Current Events can influence, or even be Pop Culture in a lot of cases

I love keeping my finger on the Current Events dial. It gives me a whole new world to explore, everything isn't all suits, talking and video games. War, Festivals, Floods, National Pride, Tsunamis.

What the world hides is both amazing and devastating. I'd love to be out there, exploring.
Sure, the world is pretty much explored, every corner of it mapped thanks to our ancestors and Satellites, but there's still that whole culture thing to see. We here in the west are quite similar to each other. We have our little differences (Okay, I lied, we're quite different. And that's just the UK and the US!)

I'll admit - I've been listening to Billy Joel again. "We Didn't Start The Fire" is basically a huge list of events, but made it into this rather huge pop song that did quite well. Which is what prompted me to think: "How do current events affect pop culture anyway?"



Obviously, a lot of events go largely ignored by most people. While there's a lot of plain ol' absurdity in the world, only at least half must get picked up by the mass media.

Mayor of Toronto smoked crack in office? Shit yes, a story.
National Newspaper called a Party Leader's Father a communist? Ooh, get the popcorn ready.
Justin Beiber does a thing? Ech, not my cuppa tea, but let TMZ and Perez Hilton get giddy.

Current Events and Pop Culture clash so damn much. And it's got different flavours for different people!

It's kind of why I dislike most of the current main news sites. They have a huge overlap in terms of story coverage. I do like crossing between news sites to get different angles on a story, but when most of the huge ones with the most capacity to report on something really neat throws most of their reporting muscle at something everyone else is covering anyway, it makes me a little sad.

Throw someone in an "unknown" festival somewhere! Let us see the world for what it is! An interesting mashup of people, unique in every way possible. Everyone loves a party! (Well, most.) Who knows, you might break a story. You might shine a light on the world's most interesting festival which no-one knew about.

Okay, I'm going into a bit of a slant about Journalism as a whole there. Back on course.

What determines what news gets made "viral"? How well it sticks with the public as a whole, of course.
Remember that press conference a while ago about the missing kids?
Probably not.

But, do you remember that time when Russell Brand interviewed some members of the WBC? Of course you did. (If you don't, I apologise. Well. Not really, but hey.)

Quotability, Zaniness, Importance, Absurd, Shocking.
The more, the better.

If you've spent any amount of time on Tumblr, reddit, 4chan, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, whatever you use with other people.. You'll know that we humans are almost hive-mind like. Buzzing silly little quips at each other, and in reddit's case; feeling like you're standing in an echo chamber. If it doesn't catch on immediately, it might as well have not been posted.

We live in a very fast world. No-one has time to read more than a few paragraphs. Popular articles include huge amounts of images, with small quips underneath them. (Or in one site's case, pretty much just images with stupid captions and that's it.)

Image Macros, or Memes (*shudder*) as they're more well known, are the big hitters of the internet. Confession Bear, Advice Dog, Grumpy Cat. All of these silly animals with 2 lines of text can convey a whole lot of meaning... to the right audience.
Anyone else looking in generally will think "What the fuck are these guys smoking?"

 
Case in Point

(I actually like the Doge stuff, but I know it's a limited audience.. and even I have my moments where I'm all "the fuck" at it)

But these Image Macros combined with events can make for some pretty interesting viewing, if it's done right. Which is rare. So very, very rare. And I hate the internet reddit for it.

Gangnam Style and the more recent What does the Fox Say? have been excellent examples of a song that came from nowhere thanks to the sudden popularity it gained on the internet, before hitting mainstream media way after the internet lost its attention span and found the next funny thing.

Both songs are horribly catchy and say absolutely nothing in their lyrical content.. Which is kind of like Current Events feeding into Pop Culture - Hear me out!

I personally find that most events that make it into pop culture are quite shallow events. Beiber being a dick, Rob Ford smoking crack, Lady Gaga and her batshit insane dresses. There's not not much to take in apart from what's on the surface.

The deeper events will usually either take a very long time to come into popular culture, or just be flung off the radar by something more absurd or catchier.
Did you know Egypt still isn't completely stable yet? No? Because everyone else is focusing on Syria, mostly. We're rather quick to forget huge events unless it really rings home with you. (Or in some cases, people don't let you forget it.)

I'm not saying you have to remember everything, I mean, hell, I forget a lot of things. Like parties, Anniversaries, When I have to be at a place, or even once, my own sister's birthday.

I'm just making a wee observation that we're quick to forget something and move onto the newest, shiniest thing just because everyone else has.

Remember Rage Comics?
No? Good. Keep it that way. They're fucking awful.