Popular culture (also called pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced in modern times by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of culture such as folk culture, working-class culture, or high culture, and also through different theoretical perspectives such as psychoanalysis, structuralism, postmodernism, and more. The most common pop-culture categories are: entertainment (such as movies, music, television and video games), sports, news (as in people/places in the news), politics, fashion/clothes, technology, and slang.
Popular culture is sometimes viewed by many people as being trivial and "dumbed down" in order to find consensual acceptance from (or to attract attention amongst) the mainstream. As a result, it comes under heavy criticism from various non-mainstream sources (most notably from religious groups and from countercultural groups) which deem it superficial, consumerist, sensationalist, or corrupt.
The term "popular culture" was coined in the 19th century or earlier. Traditionally, popular culture was associated with poor education and the lower classes, as opposed to the "official culture" and higher education of the upper classes. Victorian era Britain experienced social changes that resulted in increased literacy rates, and with the rise of capitalism and industrialisation, people began to spend more money on entertainment. Labelling penny dreadfuls the Victorian equivalent of video games, The Guardian described penny fiction as “Britain’s first taste of mass-produced popular culture for the young.” A growing consumer culture and an increased capacity for travel via the invention of railway (the first public railway, Stockton and Darlington Railway, opened in north-east England in 1825) created both a market for cheap popular literature, and the ability for it to be circulated on a large scale. The first penny serials were published in the 1830s to meet this demand.
From the end of World War II, following major cultural and social changes brought by mass media innovations, the meaning of popular culture began to overlap with those of mass culture, media culture, image culture, consumer culture, and culture for mass consumption. Social and cultural changes in the United States were a pioneer in this with respect to other western countries.
The abbreviated form "pop" for popular, as in pop music, dates from the late 1950s. Although terms "pop" and "popular" are in some cases used interchangeably, and their meaning partially overlap, the term "pop" is narrower. Pop is specific of something containing qualities of mass appeal, while "popular" refers to what has gained popularity, regardless of its style.
According to author John Storey, there are various definitions of popular culture. The quantitative definition of culture has the problem that much "high culture" (e.g., television dramatizations of Jane Austen) is also "popular." "Pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "left over" when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle the boundaries, e.g., William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
A third definition equates pop culture with "mass culture" and ideas. This is seen as a commercial culture, mass-produced for mass consumption by mass media. From a Western European perspective, this may be compared to American culture. Alternatively, "pop culture" can be defined as an "authentic" culture of the people, but this can be problematic as there are many ways of defining the "people." Storey argued that there is a political dimension to popular culture; neo-Gramscian hegemony theory "... sees popular culture as a site of struggle between the 'resistance' of subordinate groups in society and the forces of 'incorporation' operating in the interests of dominant groups in society." A postmodernist approach to popular culture would "no longer recognize the distinction between high and popular culture."
Storey claims that popular culture emerged from the urbanization of the Industrial Revolution. Studies of Shakespeare (by Weimann, Barber, or Bristol, for example) locate much of the characteristic vitality of his drama in its participation in Renaissance popular culture, while contemporary practitioners like Dario Fo and John McGrath use popular culture in its Gramscian sense that includes ancient folk traditions (the commedia dell'arte for example).
Popular culture is constantly evolving and occurs uniquely in place and time. It forms currents and eddies, and represents a complex of mutually interdependent perspectives and values that influence society and its institutions in various ways. For example, certain currents of pop culture may originate from, (or diverge into) a subculture, representing perspectives with which the mainstream popular culture has only limited familiarity. Items of popular culture most typically appeal to a broad spectrum of the public. Important contemporary contributions for understanding what popular culture means have been given by the German researcher Ronald Daus, who studies the impact of extra-European cultures in North America, Asia, and especially in Latin America.
Adaptations based on traditional folklore provide a source of popular culture. This early layer of cultural mainstream still persists today, in a form separate from mass-produced popular culture, propagating by word of mouth rather than via mass media, e.g. in the form of jokes or urban legend. With the widespread use of the Internet from the 1990s, the distinction between mass media and word-of-mouth has become blurred.
Although the folkloric element of popular culture engages heavily with the commercial element, the public has its own tastes and it may not always embrace every cultural or subcultural item sold. Moreover, beliefs and opinions about the products of commercial culture spread by word-of-mouth, and become modified in the process and in the same manner that folklore evolves.
Many people say that popular culture is a tool that higher ranking people in a society and elites (who often control mass media and popular culture outlets) use to control the people below them in society. It's also said that popular culture dulls the minds of the "common man", making them more passive and easier to control, although popular culture can also be used as a means of rebellion against the ways and culture of dominant subcultures.
Sources of popular culture include:
Films started massive popular culture.
A television program is a segment of audiovisual content intended for broadcast (other than a commercial, trailer, or other content not serving as attraction for viewership).
Television programs may be fictional (as in comedies and dramas), or non-fictional (as in documentary, news and reality television). It may be topical (as in the case of a local newscast and some made-for-television movies), or historical (as in the case of many documentaries and fictional series). They can be primarily instructional or educational, or entertaining as is the case in situation comedy and game shows.
Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.
Sports include all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators.
Personal branding includes the use of social media to promotion to brands and topics to further good repute amongst professionals in a given field, produce a iconic relationship between a professional, a brand and its audience that extends networks past the conventional lines established by the mainstream and to enhance personal visibility.
I see that it is impossible to attain this end without founding the means of popular culture and instruction upon a basis which cannot be got at otherwise than in a profound examination of Man himself; without such an investigation and such a basis all is darkness.
Pop Culture-although big, mercurial, and slippery to define-is really an umbrella term that covers anything currently in fashion, all or most of whose ingredients are familiar to the public-at-large. The new dances are a perfect example... Pop Art itself may mean little to the average man, but its vocabulary...is always familiar.
It is tempting to confuse pop music with popular music. The New Grove Dictionary Of Music and Musicians, the musicologist's ultimate reference resource, identifies popular music as the music since industrialization in the 1800s that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban middle class. This would include an extremely wide range of music from vaudeville and minstrel shows to heavy metal. Pop music, on the other hand, has primarily come into usage to describe music that evolved out of the rock 'n roll revolution of the mid-1950s and continues in a definable path to today.
Catherine of Aragon (Spanish: Catalina; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England from June 1509 until May 1533 as the first wife of King Henry VIII; she was previously Princess of Wales as the wife of Henry's elder brother Arthur.
The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was three years old when she was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. She held the position of ambassador of the Aragonese Crown to England in 1507, the first female ambassador in European history. Catherine subsequently married Arthur's younger brother, the recently ascended Henry VIII, in 1509. For six months in 1513, she served as regent of England while Henry VIII was in France. During that time the English won the Battle of Flodden, an event in which Catherine played an important part with an emotional speech about English courage.By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter, the future Mary I of England, as heir presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. He sought to have their marriage annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was consequently declared invalid and Henry married Anne on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Catherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church in England and considered herself the King's rightful wife and queen, attracting much popular sympathy. Despite this, she was acknowledged only as Dowager Princess of Wales by Henry. After being banished from court, she lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle, and died there on 7 January 1536. English people held Catherine in high esteem, and her death set off tremendous mourning.The controversial book The Education of a Christian Woman by Juan Luis Vives, which claimed women have the right to an education, was commissioned by and dedicated to her in 1523. Such was Catherine's impression on people that even her enemy, Thomas Cromwell, said of her, "If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History." She successfully appealed for the lives of the rebels involved in the Evil May Day, for the sake of their families. Catherine also won widespread admiration by starting an extensive programme for the relief of the poor. She was a patron of Renaissance humanism, and a friend of the great scholars Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More.Dryad
A dryad (; Greek: Δρυάδες, sing.: Δρυάς) is a tree nymph or tree spirit in Greek mythology. Drys signifies "oak" in Greek, and dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, but the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. They were normally considered to be very shy creatures except around the goddess Artemis, who was known to be a friend to most nymphs.Erebus
In Greek mythology, Erebus , also Erebos (Ancient Greek: Ἔρεβος, Érebos, "deep darkness, shadow" or "covered"), was often conceived as a primordial deity, representing the personification of darkness; for instance, Hesiod's Theogony identifies him as one of the first five beings in existence, born of Chaos.Extraterrestrials in fiction
An extraterrestrial or alien is any extraterrestrial lifeform; a lifeform that did not originate on Earth. The word extraterrestrial means "outside Earth". The first published use of extraterrestrial as a noun occurred in 1956, during the Golden Age of Science Fiction.Extraterrestrials are a common theme in modern science-fiction, and also appeared in much earlier works such as the second-century parody True History by Lucian of Samosata.
Gary Westfahl writes:
Science fiction aliens are both metaphors and real possibilities. One can probe the nature of humanity with aliens that by contrast illustrate and comment upon human nature. Still, as evidenced by widespread belief in alien visitors (see UFOs) and efforts to detect extraterrestrial radio signals, humans also crave companionship in a vast, cold universe and aliens may represent hopeful, compensatory images of the strange friends we have been unable to find. Thus, aliens will likely remain a central theme in science fiction until we actually encounter them.Familiar spirit
In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as "familiars" or "animal guides") were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal, but also at times as a human or humanoid figure, and were described as "clearly defined, three-dimensional… forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound" by those alleging to have come into contact with them, unlike later descriptions of ghosts with their "smoky, undefined form[s]".When they served witches, they were often thought to be malevolent, while when working for cunning folk they were often thought of as benevolent (although there was some ambiguity in both cases). The former were often categorised as demons, while the latter were more commonly thought of and described as fairies. The main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for them as they come into their new powers.Since the 20th century a number of magical practitioners, including adherents of the Neopagan religion of Wicca, have begun to use the concept of familiars, due to their association with older forms of magic. These contemporary practitioners utilize pets, wildlife or believe that invisible spirit versions of familiars act as magical aids.Harpy
In Greek mythology and Roman mythology, a harpy (plural harpies, Greek: ἅρπυια, harpyia, pronounced [hárpyi̯a]; Latin: harpȳia) was a half-human and half-bird personification of storm winds, in Homeric poems.Peregrine falcon
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the peregrine, and historically as the duck hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey (raptor) in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head. As is typical of bird-eating raptors, peregrine falcons are sexually dimorphic, with females being considerably larger than males. The peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 320 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high-speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. According to a National Geographic TV programme, the highest measured speed of a peregrine falcon is 389 km/h (242 mph).The peregrine's breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand. This makes it the world's most widespread raptor, and one of the most widely found bird species. In fact, the only land-based bird species found over a larger geographic area is not always naturally occurring, but one widely introduced by humans, the rock pigeon, which in turn now supports many peregrine populations as a prey species. The peregrine is a highly successful example of urban wildlife in much of its range, taking advantage of tall buildings as nest sites and an abundance of prey such as pigeons and ducks. Both the English and scientific names of this species mean "wandering falcon," referring to the migratory habits of many northern populations. Experts recognize 17 to 19 subspecies, which vary in appearance and range; disagreement exists over whether the distinctive Barbary falcon is represented by two subspecies of Falco peregrinus, or is a separate species, F. pelegrinoides. The two species' divergence is relatively recent, during the time of the last ice age, therefore the genetic differential between them (and also the difference in their appearance) is relatively tiny. They are only about 0.6–0.8% genetically differentiated.While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects. Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, on tall human-made structures. The peregrine falcon became an endangered species in many areas because of the widespread use of certain pesticides, especially DDT. Since the ban on DDT from the early 1970s, populations have recovered, supported by large-scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild.The peregrine falcon is a well respected falconry bird due to its strong hunting ability, high trainability, versatility, and – in recent years – availability via captive breeding. It is effective on most game bird species, from small to large.Pinocchio
Pinocchio (; Italian: [piˈnɔkkjo]) is a fictional character and the protagonist of the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) by Italian writer Carlo Collodi. Pinocchio was carved by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a Tuscan village. He was created as a wooden puppet but he dreams of becoming a real boy. He is notably characterized for his frequent tendency to lie, which causes his nose to grow.Pinocchio is a cultural icon. He is one of the most reimagined characters in children's literature. His story has been adapted into other media, notably the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio.Pokémon
Pokémon (Japanese: ポケモン, Hepburn: Pokemon, English: ), also known as Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター) in Japan, is a media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company, a Japanese consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. The franchise copyright is shared by all three companies, but Nintendo is the sole owner of the trademark. The franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, and is centered on fictional creatures called "Pokémon", which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other for sport. The English slogan for the franchise is "Gotta Catch 'Em All". Works within the franchise are set in the Pokémon universe.
The franchise began as Pokémon Red and Green (released outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue), a pair of video games for the original Game Boy that were developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo in February 1996. Pokémon has since gone on to become the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, with $90 billion in total franchise revenue. The original video game series is the second best-selling video game franchise (behind Nintendo's Mario franchise) with more than 300 million copies sold and over 800 million mobile downloads, and it spawned a hit anime television series that has become the most successful video game adaptation with over 20 seasons and 1,000 episodes in 124 countries. In addition, the Pokémon franchise includes the world's top-selling toy brand, the top-selling trading card game with over 25.7 billion cards sold, an anime film series, a live-action film, books, manga comics, music, and merchandise. The franchise is also represented in other Nintendo media, such as the Super Smash Bros. series.
In November 2005, 4Kids Entertainment, which had managed the non-game related licensing of Pokémon, announced that it had agreed not to renew the Pokémon representation agreement. The Pokémon Company International oversees all Pokémon licensing outside Asia. The franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006. In 2016, The Pokémon Company celebrated Pokémon's 20th anniversary by airing an ad during Super Bowl 50 in January, issuing re-releases of Pokémon Red and Blue and the 1998 Game Boy game Pokémon Yellow as downloads for the Nintendo 3DS in February, and redesigning the way the games are played. The mobile augmented reality game Pokémon Go was released in July. The latest games in the main series, Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, were released worldwide on the Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018. The first live action film in the franchise Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, based on Detective Pikachu, began production in January 2018 and is set to release in 2019.PopMatters
PopMatters is an international online magazine of cultural criticism that covers many aspects of popular culture. PopMatters publishes reviews, interviews, and detailed essays on most cultural products and expressions in areas such as music, television, films, books, video games, comics, sports, theater, visual arts, travel, and the Internet.Siren (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the "flowery" island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa, is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae. All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks.Tiger (zodiac)
The Tiger (寅) is the third of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Tiger is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 寅.Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks is an American mystery horror drama television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch that premiered on April 8, 1990, on ABC. It was one of the top-rated series of 1990, but declining ratings led to its cancellation after its second season in 1991. It nonetheless gained a cult following and has been referenced in a wide variety of media. In subsequent years, Twin Peaks has often been listed among the greatest television series of all time.The series follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the fictional suburban town of Twin Peaks, Washington. The show's narrative draws on elements of detective fiction, but its uncanny tone, supernatural elements, and campy, melodramatic portrayal of eccentric characters also draw on American soap opera and horror tropes. Like much of Lynch's work, it is distinguished by surrealism, offbeat humor, and distinctive cinematography. The acclaimed score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti in collaboration with Lynch.The series was followed by a 1992 feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, that serves as a prequel to the series. Following a hiatus of over 25 years, the show returned in May 2017 with a third season on Showtime, marketed as Twin Peaks: The Return. The season comprised 18 episodes written by Lynch and Frost, and was entirely directed by Lynch. Many original cast members, including MacLachlan, returned.Will-o'-the-wisp
In folklore, a will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp or ignis fatuus (pronounced [ˈfa.tu.us]; Medieval Latin for "fool's fire") is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. The phenomenon is known in English folk belief, English folklore and much of European folklore by a variety of names, including jack-o'-lantern, friar's lantern, hinkypunk and hobby lantern, and is said to mislead travelers by resembling a flickering lamp or lantern. In literature, will-o'-the-wisp sometimes have a metaphorical meaning, e.g. describing a hope or goal that leads one on but is impossible to reach, or something one finds sinister and confounding.Will-o'-the-wisp appear in folk tales and traditional legends of numerous countries and cultures; notable will-o'-the-wisp include St. Louis Light in Saskatchewan, Marfa lights of Texas, the Naga fireballs on the Mekong in Thailand, and the Hessdalen light in Norway. While urban legends, folkore, and superstition typically attribute will-o'-the-wisps to ghosts, fairies, or elemental spirits, modern science often explains them as natural phenomena such as bioluminescence or chemiluminescence, caused by the oxidation of phosphine (PH3), diphosphane (P2H4), and methane (CH4) produced by organic decay.