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Can the study of pop culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary subjects?

Prompt 2

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many colleges now offer courses in which students study television programs, comic books, magazines, advertising, and other aspects of popular culture. Critics complain that schools should not replace serious literature and history courses with such fluff. They claim that courses in popular culture present material that is trivial and inconsequential. But the study of popular culture can be just as important, demanding, and instructive as the study of traditional subjects.

Assignment: Can the study of popular culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary and historical subjects? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.


2013-6-4 10:15:36

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(2) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:Can the study of pop culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary subjects?

Our lives are surrounded by popular culture. In almost everyway we are symbolized and formulated by the popular culture. More than anything else, including traditional literary study and historical study, pop culture provides us with a value that can not be matched.

Let’s take a look of the education of our youth.

Popular culture is a more significant, penetrating, educational force in youths’ lives than school. Culture exposes us to the outside world, which is something school attempts to do, but always fails miserably. What teachers call ridiculous and useless information, is actually educational if you to were look down deep enough. Pop culture shows us many life long skills in many different forms, and shows us this in a way we can understand. Unlike school, which forcedly shoves knowledge into your mind, that the staff believes will be useful for you, no less. Popular culture not only educates us on values that will be useful, but it reveals this to us in many different forms that we enjoy. It has been proven that when you learn about something you enjoy, you are apt to pay more attention. Culture is no exception, since it teaches us through TV, music, and the most important, most often used, the internet.

Let us take a look into TV for an example of popular culture. While some adults claim TV have little to no educational value, the shows with educational value greatly outweigh them. For example, the famous show Jeopardy. It pits three people against each other and the host asks them trivia questions. Needless to say, it is very fun to watch, and has a great amount of value. In nearly every sentence spoken you learn something, whether it be from the trivia board or when Alex Trebeck is interviewing the contestants after the first commercial. Another example is the equally educational, though not as popular show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? This features one adult contestant being asked grade level questions, which are surprisingly difficult to them, and to some of the viewers. Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? combines comedy (as in laughing at the adults difficultly in answering some easy question) and education as you relearn what you already knew, but subconsciously learn something new. TV is just as educational as school, if not more.

Music is just as popular with teenagers as TV is, and it opens our eyes to a knew way of thinking, and yet we don’t even realize it. With music it is always the lyrics that young people enjoy the most. Lyrics get us thinking, yet we don’t even realize it. An example would be American Idiot by Green Day. Some may say the lyrics are offensive, but it gets young people thinking about our country and their own opinion about it. Plus, songs which are made in different languages, such as Disney songs in Japanese, help you learn about new languages. Learning without meaning to learn, and very entertaining none the less.

Last, but certainly not least, the internet. Many different websites teach us many useful skills, but there are two websites that stand out. One is Mibba.com. Mibba is mainly a fan fiction site, but that is not all it contains. Mibba also features articles and news stories, written by the very teenage users that inhabit the website. Though some people may protest that news stories written by ‘children’ are not informative or accurate, it is just the oppisite. Every article and news story is carefully reviewed by the website administrators who can and will reject them if the article/news does not meet the website’s standards. The same applies for the fan-fictions written there as well. Obviously, anyone can trust this website for high quality news and articles, and learn more from it than if you were to read abut some news in school because it is written in a way you can understand. Plus, the articles written there have a comment section in which users can state their opinions and fellow members of the website can comment on whether they agree or disagree, sometimes sparking vicious debates between users. Another example of users, of other websites, showing their talents is YouTube.com. Users, or even non-users, can watch videos made by others, but only members of this site can comment and make their own videos as well. This is one of the ultimate expressions of creativity, something that school could never express. It takes skills, focus, and expert creativity skills to make a video such as an AMV (anime music video). Some people like to tape themselves and post it, which is usually funny to watch. Plus you can watch the news, thereby increasing your knowledge.

All of these topics have one thing in common. That is, that they are all pieces of the puzzle that fit together to become popular culture. School may give us the basic skills for life, popular culture expands it in a fun way. Fun like the summer, not boring and tedious like school, fun like typing the thrilling conclusion to article, hoping that others will enjoy it just as much as you enjoyed writing it, not boring like writing an essay, hoping you get an A and won’t have to read it out loud. From popular culture, comes more education than school could ever provide.


2013-6-4 12:19:23

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Can the study of pop culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary subjects?

Like it or not, popular culture is all around us and it is inescapable. You can’t go anywhere without seeing it. Everything from sayings such as “Here’s looking at you kid” from the landmark film “Casablanca” to lyrics that had such a profound impact among women and feminists such as “Like a Virgin” by Madonna. It is these types of actions and words that have now engulfed, helped formulate, and in many ways defined the whole world and that I have such a profound respect for that it is what I have come to believe in.

Take pop music as an example. I am a huge fan of the music by another person that has broken barriers and has been the subject of enormous controversy in just a mere three years: Lady Gaga. To me she is simply a force to be reckoned with because of what she has accomplished, not just her freaking great music. From her outrageous outfits, such as the infamous meat dress to her protrusions on her face, to the cans in her hair, she certainly knows how to make almost any everyday item into a fashion accessory. And not just her fashion, but also her reputation as an iconoclast. She takes religion into her own hands and just drills it into society’s consciousness. Her religious symbolism in her music videos for “Alejandro” and “Judas” has caused uproar among religious groups. And that is exactly what I love. Uproars, revolutions, record-breakers, trend-setters and controversies are what I live for. People like Elvis Presley, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jimi Hendrix, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Nixon, The Beatles, David Bowie, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Ronald Reagan, Prince, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, Steven Spielberg, Obama, and countless others have had a huge and lasting impact on today’s cultural perceptions. They have either crossed and even at times blurred and erased gender barriers, given parents sleepless nights on what their teens listen to, have had a change in racial matters across the globe, and have each contributed milestones to their respective professional fields.


2013-6-4 10:25:52

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

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