Contemporary Pop Culture
Every society, in any period of its history, has its own culture, which has a great effect on people and defines a direction in which humanity moves. In a modern society, people have contemporary pop culture that forms tastes and views of the present generation as well as reflects the current situation of it. The main components of popular culture include movies and music. At the same time, they carry out the role of an educators, entertainers, and reflectors of a modern lifestyle as well as its creators. Some musicians create completely new music genres that determine our tastes, style of clothes, and even our views. Therefore, movie characters and singers create pop culture, alter society, and change opinions of people.
In particular, musicians have a strong influence on pop culture and society through their work and lives. One of the biggest revolutions in pop culture was Elvis Presley. He was not just a singer and an actor, he was the person who made the 180-degree turn in the culture of the 20th century; people usually refer to him as the “King of Rock and Roll.” His songs, dance moves, movies, openness of the lifestyle, energy, and even hairstyle changed norms that had existed in the society and showed what it was like to be free, wild, and full of life. He was one of the first who presented his private life to the public and let fans associate themselves with him. His rebel spirit inspired social and cultural revolutions. As Wallace mentions, he was the one who opened Afro-American music to white people and opened many doors for Afro-American singers, which resulted in the bigger acceptance of Afro-American culture in general. Consequently, Elvis Presley’s figure is a key point in today’s culture. Many people would agree that if it were not for Elvis, we would never know what rock and roll was. Similarly, modern pop culture would not be familiar with gangsta rap if it were not for Niggaz Wit Attitudes, American rappers. Their revolutionary lyrics of the songs brought them many troubles as well as worldwide fame. Their performances were strictly forbidden in many states of the United States. Their songs were full of hate towards police’s power abuse and racism in the society. They were freely expressing their opinion in their music and presenting it within the new revolutionary style, which gave people boost to say what they thought. Therefore, N.W.A. is a huge part of rap and pop culture, creators of gangsta rap, and encouragers of the liberty of speech. The significance of music for pop culture is difficult to overestimate, but it is not the only way to affect pop culture.
Besides musicians, there are other means of influence on pop culture; in particular, movies have a profound effect on the modern culture and society. For example, Some Like It Hot movie directed by Billy Wilder is a hilarious comedy and real challenger of pop culture. Undeniably funny dialogs, questionably intelligent jokes, and main men characters dressed as women hide the reflection of society and predict future of pop culture. Some Like It Hot also presents gay theme in a funny way; in practice, the movie pushes forward gay question that exists in society, but people do not want to accept it. However, subjects that the movie brings up, but norms forbid, soon became a big part of pop culture. Jeff Saporito in his article says that Some Like It Hot ruined the Motion Picture Production Code by breaking gender and moral norms of the era. Nevertheless, this comedy is not the only one popular-culture-changing movie. The dramas Rebel Without a Cause and A Stranger Among Us also had the capacity to affect society and culture. A Stranger Among Us is not just a detective story; it opens another culture and shows that something we would never be able to imagine as a part of our lives can be just what we need. The movie’s main character, Emily Eden, who infiltrates Hasidic community, does not only investigate a murder but also finds out that this community is very friendly and open. She finds her own comfort there, a friend and her love. This movie brings understanding that different does not mean bad, just as Rebel Without a Cause shows that to be a rebel is not bad if your rebellion makes things around better. In Rebel Without a Cause, the father of Jim, a protagonist, says, “You cannot be idealist all your life,” but it is not true. The idealism of Jim make things right in the end and helps his father to grow to a man he should be. It also allows Judy to find her comfort and helps Jim become a better person. In addition, Rebel Without a Cause promotes the idea that none of us is perfect, but it is normal. Even though, these movies are very different, all of them affect pop culture through their main characters, which actually have something in common.
In all three movies, we see completely different main heroes: Sugar who tries to run from her past and find love; Jim who struggles to make his father a real man and attempts to make right decisions; and Emily who investigates a murder and falls in love with rabbi’s son. All of them are different, but each of them brings up the same theme in popular culture. These characters are lost and miss something in their lives. They also are feeling unaccepted, running from something, and trying to find their place in this society. Jim, Emily, and Sugar tell us that it is normal to be lost and that it is possible to find your place. Sugar finds her safe ground with a man dressed like a woman; Jim manages to help his father grow and finds a real friend and a girlfriend; and Emily discovers family and peace in the Hasidic community. Therefore, these movies make popular culture open to people with faults and bring understanding that anyone can be lost, whether it is a cute singer, a youngster with his own ambitions and believes, or a rough detective.
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In conclusion, as was previously stated, popular culture to a great extent depends on movies and music. They are the reflection of culture and its creators. For instance, the rap group N.W.A. created the completely new music genre – gangsta rap, inspired people to express their opinion, and showed, in their lyrics, power assault by police, bringing this question on the surface of popular culture. At the same time, essentially, Elvis Presley rewrote music history and gave people completely new style of life. He changed people’s opinions about fun, privacy, dancing, hairstyle, and clothes style and channeled popular culture in a new direction. Besides music, movies also affect people’s opinions and form pop culture. Some Like It Hot, A Stranger Among Us, and Rebel Without a Cause brought up the idea that every person can be lost and needs to find himself or herself. In addition, Some Like It Hot broke gender and moral norms of society and opened new ways and subjects in popular culture, and Rebel Without a Cause showed that it is good to be idealistic as it may help improve people’s lives and support them in finding themselves. Therefore, every society is a reflection of popular culture, and such means of expression as music and movies form this culture.