also known as pop culture.
a collection of phrases, people, ideas, and things that define a common identity in a given society.

see also: No soup for you, Andy Warhol, Mickey Mouse, Wired, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe.
Proud (and hideous) brainchild of the collective consumer industries (Omni Consumer Products perhaps?), with a focus placed on its subdivision the entertainment industry. The corporate marketing departments spend billions of dollars on research into mainstream culture, then churns out ads, fads, magazines and "cool" items for the hungry deluded masses to devour. It is called "smart business".

The profit-driven corporations spend its considerable resoruces to alter the minds of the young generation, for their minds are malleable and the herd-like nature of these youngsters make it all the easier and cheaper for the corporates to play around with. Just like packs, there are "leaders". If the "leaders" can be convinced to adopt these new things, others will follow. See also The "in" crowd.

The main weapons of this unholy campaign are advertisements. The use of attractive people in ads are important, as the shallow nature of mainstream youth is much more drawn to physical beauty than other assets. If these brainless people can be used to display the product in question in a "cool" way, people will immediately be drawn to it. Ways to do this:

  • Anti-authority, ads must bash figures of authority
  • Attractive people doing "cool" things
  • Appeal to the depths of these peoples' souls (not too hard, for they are shallow) and show their paragon using the product. Ka-ching! (cash registers going crazy)

    There are probably many more ways to do this, but I am no marketing major, so I will not dwell on this issue.

    Magazines, such as Seventeen, Y&M, Playboy, Maxim and others, despite claiming to have other content, are corporate vehicles to prominently display their products. Proof? What is in 90% of the pages of Vogue or Seventeen. What are they? Ads. THe other 10% are filled with brainless pseduo-articles on what to buy (indirectly, ads) and columns on sex. In men's magazines, Playboy, etc., all contain many men's status symbol ads. In addition to the regular ads. Ads ads ads ads. It's always there.

    The entertainment industry is the ultimate weapon for these corporations when it comes to mind control. Since the industry is filled with icons (sic), models and many people whose examples are followed by herds of brainless youngsters, so all they have to do is to throw products to these pawns to display. This is seen by the many corporate endorsements seen today in the entertainment industry.

    Corporations that have succeeded wildly beyound their imaginations in twisting culture are (ones that are prominent in Cornell University anyways and I can flip off the top of my head):

  • Gap and subsidiaries (Old Navy, Banana Republic, et al.)
  • Nike
  • Abercrombie and Fitch

    In today's brainless consumer culture, these companies have exploited it admirably well. Congratulations.

    Yes-Man: The heathen unbelievers, The "Out" Crowd, will be converted shortly, Mr. Chairman. We will not be denied our market share and the sweet, sweet profits.

    Chairman: Excellent.... (clasping hands in satiscation)

  • Popular culture is not a creation of the twentieth century, nor of capitalism. It has existed in one form or another as long as has the notion of entertainment.

    The pop culture of one era is the high culture of the next, a process that has repeated itself over and over in societies from China to North America. Yet, academics, literati, critics, and wannabe intellectuals persist in automatically denigrating anything popular. Yes, every era also has its corny trash (witness boy bands, Britney Spears, codpieces, Tiny Tim, and platform shoes). But if you look askance at the notion that, say, all science fiction is junk and can never be literary or thought-provoking, then take a pause when you dismiss everything that is popular culture. Mozart, Shakespeare, the ci form, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Alphonse Mucha, Hiroshige: all elements of the pop culture of their day.

    Pop culture works on many levels and isn't always the culture of the masses--though when it is, it's particularly valuable to historians, anthropologists and sociologists. Unfortunately, due to its stigma, popular culture has only been rising in the academic radar since the 1960s, and is still viewed with distaste and distrust by the old-fashioned faculty of many instutitions of higher learning.
    Wintersweet has a point. One of my favourite things to do in museums (yeah, yeah. Whatever.) is to go and look at the thousands-of-years-old pop culture artefacts. In the museum of the Roman baths in Bath, and in the Egyptian museum in Cairo, and in the Roman Britain rooms in the British Museum, you can find hundreds of little, mass-produced votive objects which were thrown into the water or left at shrines. Row after row of tiny, cheap cat gods and women with their tits out. I imagine those are the goddesses.

    We didn't invent pop culture. I'd have to kill myself if I said this was kind of like buying Buffy action figures, so I won't. But maybe the point about it being pop culture is that we're always going to think we invented it, like sex and quoting that Philip Larkin poem

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