Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pop Culture and Role Models

I know a lot of kids (who am I kidding? kids and adults) idolize athletes, pop singers, and movie stars, but we are kind of clueless at our house about the sports world (I know the Super Bowl was last week, but I couldn't even tell you who played . . . Giants and ??? what cities were the teams even from? I have no clue . . .) and I am REALLY selective about which parts of pop culture I let into our home.  I may even go so far as to call myself a pop culture SNOB. I don't know where this came from since I was the girl who had posters of Sylvester Stallone and Tom Howell all over my bedroom (does that date me or what? who speaks my language? Outsiders anyone?), and one of my favorite birthday presents in 8th grade was Prince's "Purple Rain" LP given to me by Christina Nielsen, but I find I have this general disregard for most things in pop culture that I arbitrarily designate as shallow, lame, or generally unintelligent. I felt very full of myself the other day when I made a joke about the Kardashian sisters and Kate didn't even know who I was talking about. BAM! Score one for Mom. 

Okay, I just googled "pop culture" and found this on Wikipedia. I'm officially a snob: 

Popular culture is often viewed as being trivial and dumbed-down in order to find consensual acceptance throughout the mainstream. As a result, it comes under heavy criticism from various non-mainstreamsources (most notably religious groups and countercultural groups) which deem it superficialconsumeristsensationalist, and corrupted.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]
The term "popular culture" was coined in the 19th century or earlier[11] to refer to the education and general "culturedness" of the lower classes, as was delivered in an address at the Birmingham Town Hall, England.[12] The term began to assume the meaning of a culture of the lower classes separate from (and sometimes opposed to) "true education" towards the end of the century,[13] a usage that became established by the interbellum period.[14]

Lovely. (I still stand by my snobbishness . . .)

No, I don't make my kids sit around and read "The Secret Garden" in between etiquette class and chess club. Luckily, you don't have to indulge in what I would deem "stupid" pop culture to have fun and be entertained. There is SO MUCH out there that is both smart as well as entertaining. (Would someone please put a stop to the production of the Monster High dolls? Please?)

Our current favorite is 

Will came running out of orchestra a couple of weeks ago utterly beside himself because his current idol, Steven Sharp Nelson, was in the house taping his latest youtube video with The Lyceum Philharmonic.  He wanted his autograph, so I took him back in and encouraged him to go up and talk to him, have him sign some of his music, and then (after quoting the end lines from THIS youtube video back and forth to each other ) I took these horrible yet awesome iphone pictures:

I love having cool, smart role models for my kids. (One last pianoguys youtube video you really need to watch right now. In fact, why don't you just go subscribe and help make these guys famous instead of snoopy poop dog or whoever the heck is out there making the big bucks these days . . .) (Brandon just told me that guy died, so I'm sorry if that was disrespectful. How he knows that I have no idea, because he is currently reading about the rice planting and harvest festivals in Japan. So pop culture.)


  1. Boy, I bet Prince was spinning in his bedazzled, purple-striped bunker slash recording studio when he learned that you carelessly lumped "Purple Rain" in with Rambo and Ponyboy.

    Also from Wikipedia: "'Purple Rain' is regularly ranked among the best albums in pop music history."

    Perhaps Chris Nielsen sensed you were slumming a bit in your pop culture followings when she offered you that cassette which contained none other than the second-best album of the 1980's, according to Rolling Stone. ("London Calling" was the first - no arguments, there, I guess.) Chris always did know Art, after all. Even during her "dressing-like-Madonna" phase. Who, coincidentally, was the half-time performer at the Super Bowl this year. Full circle, Allyson, full circle.

  2. Hilarious! We like the piano guys too.

  3. I am frequently made fun of by friends and family because I have absolutely NO IDEA who most actors and actresses are, I have never seen any of the movies they are talking about and I haven't the slightest what singers are "in" right now. I listen to talk radio. The only tv I watch is the news. Even the Comcast guy that showed up on my driveway the other day said, "What do you do?" when he asked why we only had phone and internet and weren't the least bit interested in any television besides the basic channels we get from our converter box. We own two televisions that are both older than my 13 year old.

    Our family--sat around YouTube the other night and watched a video about a 12 year old boy who has written several symphonies. Yeah-we're like that.

    Although I did know who Whitney Houston was in 1987 and I memorized the words to "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna in 1988, that was about it for my teenage years of knowing any popular music! Now Janice Kapp Perry? I can list nearly everyone of her songs.

    Sorry-yet another long comment on your blog. Yes! I always have a lot to say. Welcome to knowing me.


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