Pop culture is one of those vexed terms that we
all use, but that means different things to different people.
A recent article in College English, "Why Teach Popular Culture,"
by Bethany Ogdon, takes sixteen pages to discuss the evasive and
polemical nature of the words "popular" and "culture."
Since my aim is not to pin down what I mean when I use the term
"pop culture" versus what others have meant when they
use "pop culture," I will stick to just providing a
few definitions that I think outline a working understanding for
the purpose of this paper. The Mercury Reader, a book used
in first year composition at Illinois State University, defines
pop culture as "everything except the particular interests
of the most educated and affluent members of society, whose tastes
we refer to as high culture" (97). Common Culture,
a pop cultural reader, defines it as "the shared knowledge
and practices of a specific group at a specific time [
pop culture both reflects and influences people's way of life
] pop culture is transitory, subject to change, and often
an initiator of change" (4). Thus when I say "pop culture,"
I mean the culture of the masses, including popular music, television
shows, commercials, brand names, advertisements, sports, the Internet,
movies, fashion, etc.