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Pop culture is transmitted via mass media and aimed mostly at younger people. TV, video games, and the internet are the most commonly used forms of media. Pop culture never stays on the same thing. The material is always different and is only what the public demands, such as political debates, odd phenomenon, entertainment, and anything else celebrity-related. Pop culture moves on from the one big thing and onto another, and is always a never-ending cycle of interesting news. The public is always gathering new info from it, whether it is important to the viewer or not. The ever-moving forward pop culture is good for you.
The television set, in the beginning, only had one channel and now has multiple channels, remotely and hand movement controlled, and able to record many programs at once. However, the content of these programs have changed, as well as giving the audience what they want to see. Steven Johnson, a journalist and the author of Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (2005), says, “[The] 24 episode suggests [that] the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less” (278). Those who love to watch television want something more than just mindless shows. TV Networks are now wanting to show programs like 24, but not by plot. Just like in Johnson’s article, the audience wants a program they can think throughout, make inferences, and to try educated predictions.
Video games have always been considered child’s play, intending to be only another play-thing for children. Whether it’s Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, or even an old Sega console video games have been one of the most entertaining inventions for the past few decades. These games, however, have gone above and beyond when it comes to the storyline. To make a game appealing to the player, the story within the gameplay would have to stay interesting and continue to be interesting until the very end. Tom Bissell, a teacher at Portland State University and author of the book Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, says, “In a world as large as Fallout 3, which allows for an experience framed in terms of wandering and lonesomeness, story provides, if nothing else, badly needed direction” (Bissell 359). Story telling has always been the one concept that keeps the player involved. The individual not only would have to pay attention to the strategy of the gameplay, but also the puzzles, clues, and possible predictions of how the game will end. It is not always bashing buttons in hopes that it will help you move on to the next level, but complete focus on the controls and story is what helps the individual continue on and always anticipating what will come next.
The internet is one of the few inventions that is used by many people around the globe, which makes it rather valuable by today’s standards. There are many reasons why people use the internet: research, communication, entertainment, and creating. Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker, says, “This is the second crucial distinction between traditional activism and its online variant: social media are not about this kind of hierarchical organization…[They] are tools for building networks” (Gladwell 323). The internet helps create a different kind of structure that, Gladwell says, is resistant and have the ability to adapt in “low-risk situations.” Which means, almost anything can be done over the internet. If it were to be taken down, more than likely it will come back up. Hence, the saying that nothing is ever truly erased in the internet. The creativity from a single mind make remarkable creations when combined with others. An actual group of individuals that have not a leader among them, but that can still function amazingly without having them needing to be physically near each other.
Incidentally, the amount of time, focus, and potential sites or channels that are being accessed are what worry parents the most. If it is a major concern to the parent, then it is possible to block certain channels or sites, and check what games they would deem as inappropriate. Other solutions could be monitoring the amount of time the child is on a device. Family time or a simple outside play with friends could help the child spend less time inside. Focusing on more important tasks such as homework, chores, or other hands-on projects could help the child not sit in front of a screen all day. The temptation of sitting down and using anything electronical is strong, but can be overcome with other important tasks around the child or adult.
Of course, there are others who have a different, opposing view of pop culture. Most would disagree with the opinion of TV being beneficial to the average viewer. Take Dana Stevens, a movie critic for Slate magazine, who writes in her article, Thinking Outside the Idiot Box, that “… if I understand I understand correctly, watching TV teaches you to watch more TV–a truth already grasped by the makers of Teletubbies” (Stevens 296). In her article, she writes of how Steven Johnson’s article does not prove the point of how television makes someone smarter.
Pop culture has been around for many years, centuries even. The only thing that has changed is the topic on hand and how it is passed around. Television always had a bad reputation, but was always useful for when people wanted to know what was happening at that moment. Video games were always a distraction meant for kids, but is now highly used by almost anyone who wishes to spend some of their free time on well thought out adventure. Like the television, the internet has its up and downs with the public, but eventually is a place where people can come to create, research, or interact at any given moment. Whether it is through the internet, television, or video games society will always find a way to pass along the latest info on whatever is deemed popular.
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