My Journey Through Pop Culture

28 Apr

With the topic of this English class being about perception of popular culture, I must say that from beginning to end my entire view has changed a little bit on pop culture. Through readings from Quicksilver, Hunger Games, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and The Sandman or from playing a video game like Assassin’s Creed 2, or from watching music videos, all of these have two things that jumps out to me: creativity and variability. If I have learned one thing about popular culture this semester, it is that works can be adapted into many different mediums for many different purposes.

A book that jumps to mind that is a very creative representation of pop culture is Quicksilver. Neal Stephenson uses his creativity to kind of bring back the scientific and mathematical discovery era in a fictional fashion. The book has a great deal to do with the discovery of Calculus, particularly included the controversy over who actually invented it. Stephenson accurately displayed certain concepts but included minor fictional tweaks. Most notably was the made-up school called “Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technological Arts”.

Another book that enhanced my view about pop culture is Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This book had a lot to do with the present’s relationship to the past. By conveying this, Clarke used the past English culture and inserted the idea of magic actually working back then. In addition, this book also proved to me that pop culture pieces of work don’t have to be short in length by any means. Both this book and Quicksilver are amongst the longest books I have read in a while, since the last Harry Potter book was released to be exact. I will no longer associate long works with just high culture, I can guarantee that.

The piece of work that really proved something to me though was the video game Assassin’s Creed 2. This was the perfect example of a pop culture adaptation. The game took aspects of Italian history and produced an educating and riveting video game simultaneously. I must admit that while playing this game for the time I was not only entertained by the non-stop violence and action, but I did learn a lot about certain things about Italian culture that I never learned in past history classes. Moreover, I honestly can’t remember the last video game I enjoyed playing but also learning something valuable at the same time. I think these game producers are really evolving the purpose of video games and proving the whole “video games are solely for entertainment” stereotype wrong.

Before coming into the class and studying any pieces of work, my understanding of pop culture was simply just making material more modernized so that the work would be accepted in the modern day culture. While that understanding still remains true, I have gained a much further understanding on top of that. I did this by looking much deeper into the works and grasping the concepts that are there and comparing them to the previous work or material that it derived from.

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