Why We Talk about Pop Culture

In the the middle of his dismissal of Robin Thicke’s new album, the Washington Post‘s Chris Richards gives a damn fine explanation of why many of us talk so much about pop culture:

In the social-media age, pop culture has become a safe place to talk about the most difficult subjects. We might flinch at reading about rape on our college campuses or in our military, but we’re eager to talk about it through the lens of ‘Game of Thrones’ or a Lady Gaga video.

In pop music, those tough discussions seem to take place more frequently around race — such as when country alpha-male Brad Paisley pens a song called ‘Accidental Racist,’ . . .

. . . or when rapper Kanye West puts a Confederate flag on a T-shirt, . . .

. . . or when pop singer Lily Allen makes a feminist music video that viewers deem racist. . . .

. . . The messages sent out can end up mutating into very different conversations.

Artists are struggling to catch up to this reality, often flustered by their inability to control the debate while frequently failing to grasp the tremendous impact their work has on shaping our collective cultural life. When the entertainment industry douses the world with your art, it’s the world that gets to sort out what your art means.”

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