Pop Culture Etiquette


UNITED STATES—We live in a world where pop culture is everything.  Can you think of the last time you turned on the television, read the newspaper or scoured the Internet without searching for information on a prominent public figure?  Let’s just say its likely been a good 10-15 years since that.  The Internet exploded with ferocity back in the new millennium.  With that explosion, so came the public’s obsession with pop culture.

We want to know about everyone and every single thing we deem to be relevant about the world that we live in.  There’s just one problem, we live in a false world.  What we’ve become so accustomed to was not always life as we know it.  The obsession with celebrity lifestyles, speaking proper slang, fashion statements and the use of social media was not as prominent as in the early 1900s as some would say.  Absolutely, social status has been around since the dawn of time, but our desire to ‘want’ and to ‘need’ to know every single facet has clouded our judgment of thoughts.

Think about how much time we spend watching television on a daily basis.  Now factor in doing that for an entire month, a year, a decade.  That’s a lot of time some would say is wasted on what: entertainment. Could we be doing something a bit more constructive, perhaps, but everyone deserves a bit more down time. Those trashy tabloid magazines are the best.  If you read some of the covers you instantly tell yourself, there is no way this crap can be true, but why do we buy into.  Its yellow journalism and we love to be apart of a gossip filled culture where we’re talking about others.

I recently recall being at the supermarket and seeing a fellow patron purchase between 10-12 tabloid magazines.  It’s good that they’re getting their reading in, but I couldn’t help, but think they were reading trash.  Let’s be honest, more than 75% of the things being reported are completely fabricated, but we buy into it.

Moving along to slang, it seems every generation or star nowadays has a catch phrase that is synonymous with them.  For Paris Hilton it was “That’s Hot.”  For Tamar Braxton, “Get Your Life.”  The list can go on and on.  My point is to analyze why we fill as a culture we must implement someone else’s tagline into our daily conversation.  Do we want to be like them?  Not really, it’s more of the thought, that we wish we’d come up with the phrase first. When we talk, dress, behave and think like the rest of the American culture we feel like a vital asset to the group; we belong.

We can belong without behaving like everyone else.  When are we as a culture willing to stand on our own two feet and to be proud of the differences that we embody?  Pop culture comes and goes in waves, what hot today can be dismal tomorrow.  We need to embrace more originality, more difference more uniqueness.  Because at the end of the day what fun is it to watch everyone behave like everyone else?

By Trevor Roberts