Question of the Day: What does vox pop mean to you?

YOUNG WOMAN WITH FAKE TAN: Isn't that, like, that new club stuff?

MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH COMBOVER: Ah. Quite. Vox Pop. From Vox populi, the voice of the people.

GUY IN BASEBALL CAP: Vox Pop. Oh, that's the name of a student newspaper in Aberdeen.

TOUSLE-HAIRED KID: I haven't. I haven't tried that flavour. Is it like ginger beer?

MAN IN TRENCHCOAT: Vox Pops are "average person in the street" segments, typically brief commentaries on topical issues.

GRANDPOP: That fella had the Tonight Show, all those years ago. Di'n't he invent that? Oh, now what was the fella's name?

GRANDMA: Steve Allen.

GRANDPOP: Steve Allen! Sure, he did those "man on the street" interviews. And prank calls. Didn't he start that Prince Albert in Can gag?

JITTERY MAN: No! But Steve Allen's were, were staged. Yes. Staged. He used, he used actors.

GRANDMA: It helped popularize the thing.

GRANDPOP: Popularized.

SOME GUY: The Pythons did a parody sort of thingy on Vox Pops.

REPORTER: Well, er, let's ask the man in the street what he thinks.

FRENCH AU PAIR: I am not a man you Silly Billy.

MAN ON ROOF: And I'm not in the street.

MAN IN STREET: Well, er, speaking as a man in the street, I... (he is at once struck down by a car) Waugh!

MAN IN BOWLER: The typical vox pop has a reporter, possibly in a trench coat, heading into the street and asking usually simple questions about hot-button issues. (All of a sudden, a pale-looking douche leaps in front of the camera).

PALE-LOOKING DOUCHE: Vox Pop was a band spawned in LA in the late 70s! They tried to be punk rebels against punk! They--

MAN IN BOWLER HAT: See here! This was my topic! It's Speaker’s Corner gone video. Everyone has a chance to pipe in their opinion.

MAN IN TRENCHCOAT: A lot of newspapers do something similar. They’ll have question and a little thumbnail piccy and they’ll take reader responses. This was long before it became ubiquitous on the World Wide Web.

GREEN-HAIRED WOMAN WITH BABE-IN-ARMS: Oh, now the Chat Shows do that. Sorta makes people feel like what we have to say is important-like, don't it?

MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH COMBOVER: Back in late late 60s, Phil Donahue jumped spontaneously into his audience and took feedback. The next day, the tiny fence that separated the stage—he had a fence separating the stage from the audience—well, they took that fence away. Vox pops became integrated with the show's format.

WOMAN WITH GLASSES: Some newspapers feature sporadic editorials by non-journalists called "Vox Pop" columns.

MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH COMBOVER: Everyone quickly cloned the format, Oprah assuring everyone that their every littlest feeling is worthy of approbation, and Springer cheering and jeering and trolling you for every feeling of elitism you don't want to have. But you do.

SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN: Significantly, the classic Vox Pop permits only a brief response. They don't lend themselves to thoughtful responses. It's democratization and empowerment, but of a very limited sort.

SOME GUY: I don't want to sound elitist, but damn. The internet has shown us what the voice of the average person can sound like, unfiltered, unrestrained, untrained. Youtube gives every idiot in the world a chance to be his or her own broadcaster, and every idiot and the world has obliged. And the comments section...!



NECKBEARD IN UNDERSHIRT: It was controlled demolition, probably. But we'll get those bastiches come November 5.

FATBEARD IN UNDERWEAR: I don't know about Dave Sim's contribution to art, but I’ve seen nothing to contradict his views on women.

STRIDENT-LOOKING WOMAN: Well, I, too, am outraged to hear Corey Feldman's statements on pedophiles in Hollywood. But you know, the school board will look after its own! It’s like my son, he had all of these absent and late reports, but then I learned the teacher took attendance after the bell but before the anthem. No wonder he had all those unfair lates! What do you expect, when our schools tolerate this?


BARBIE-LOOKING WOMAN WITH VACANT STARE: It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact.

SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN: Hey! When I said I wanted to empower women’s voices, I meant the ones that agree with mine!

LITTLE RED-HAIRED GIRL: If Facebook has done us a service, it's the Facebook Wall, which has helped drag a fair percentage of loudmouths to places where, once again, only their friends have to hear them. Think of it as the corner pub, where--

REPORTER: Sorry. That's all the time we have.