The Themes Of Popular Culture

2241 Words May 9th, 2016 9 Pages
Why Themes in Popular Culture are Important to Study
The study of popular culture is useful in many ways. To be more specific, this course has reached its three intended main ideas: what it means to be American, how to be more consumption-conscious, and how to apply these studies in our own lives. Jim Cullen puts this in a less specific sense, arguing that the study of popular culture can “afford valuable clues – about collective fears, hopes, and debates” (Cullen, The Art of Democracy, 2). We use these clues to understand the world around us, as well as why we do what we do as Americans and as humans. I will be touching on themes that relate to this quotation by Cullen, escapism, exploitation, and globalization, as well as how these themes relate to the course goals.
“For most of the twentieth century, [popular culture] has been denigrated by intellectuals of all ideological stripes as either meaningless escapism or a dangerous narcotic” (Cullen 2). Popular culture is a form of escapism; however, I would argue against those intellectuals calling it meaningless, because, as we have also learned from Cullen, the elites will reject new forms of popular culture. Returning to escapism, an example we have seen is in comic books. Adolescent boys would turn to comics as a source of escapism. For example, lower-class second-generation Jewish immigrants, searching for their place to fit in society, created Superman. Their comics appealed to young boys, in a post-Depression era, with…

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