Special Features

Popular Culture Special Features

Popular culture or pop culture is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society. The most common pop culture categories are: entertainment (movies, music, TV), sports, news (as in people/places in news), politics, fashion/clothes, technology, and slang.

Vaudeville and Music Hall

At the opening of the twentieth century the decisive influence of the ragtime pianists fell on white audiences tiring of the minstrel show and willing to pay to hear black performers. At the same time the American band was being heard everywhere, promoted by John Philip Sousa, the most successful musician of his time, and testifying among other things to pugnacious nationalism. Both phenomena would modulate into dance bands playing vigorous dance music.

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Charles Lindberg: The Challenge of the Air

In June, 1927, Charles Lindbergh received 3,500,000 letters, 14,000 parcels, and 100,000 telegrams. The New York World got two bushels of Lindbergh poetry. While he was having dinner in New York, a woman broke through his guards to peer into his mouth and determine for herself whether he preferred green beans or green peas.

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The New York World’s Fair

The pleasures of vacation touring were depicted with even more fulsome praise of the joys of the open road. Every section of the country invited the growing army of motorists to visit it. Chambers of commerce, resort proprietors, and oil companies united in publicizing the attractions of seashore and mountain. New England was a summer vacation land, and Florida a popular winter resort. The national parks and forests, especially those of the West, drew hordes of visitors.

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Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Disneyland

Mickey Mouse symbolizes the small, invincible, invulnerable, utterly victorious and triumphant, old and omnipotent child. He follows blindly, persistently, and trustingly the pleasure principle. Like Ferdinand, he enjoys no love affairs, and his body would be ill-adapted to such activities. With a man’s voice, he would embarrass us; with the eunuch’s voice, he is exceedingly funny and lovable. His smallness enables him to do the forbidden things we wished to do as children but were not allowed to.

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Coca Cola: The Real Thing

Coca-Cola is an all-American product and its Classic Coca-Cola beverage recipe has withstood the tests of time, even shaking off efforts to make an improved “New Coke” formula. The American public wasn’t having any of it. “Classic is better” and “Keep the original” were cries that could be heard from across the country, as well as around the world.

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The Royal Family and the Media

In Europe today there are only ten monarchies left: The Kingdom Belgium, The Kingdom Denmark, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, The Principality Liechtenstein, The Grand Duchy Luxembourg, The Principality Monaco, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Kingdom Norway, The Kingdom Spain, The Kingdom Sweden.

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The Light Fantastic

Modern technology has changed many things in our lives, including the way we communicate, travel and entertain ourselves. Electronic instruments and computer simulations have revolutionised science. Computer graphics, computer-aided design, lasers and video technology came together in the 1980s to create a new visual world, in which the new possibilities of electronics were enthusiastically celebrated, and the imagination stimulated by the sheer power of the silicon chip.

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