Ryan Seacrest. The host of American Top 40, American Idol and E! TV. He’s a celebrity and being such, he is no stranger to having stalkers. As I was reading the Pop Matters blog, I noticed that fans classify stalkers as “obsessed loners.” Ryan recently had a problem with an obsessed loner when he took out a restraining order on the person on October 30. Ryan went through with the order after his stalker attacked his bodyguard while Ryan was doing a charity event at a hospital. The stalker was later arrested outside of E! Studio Headquarters. He was carrying a knife. (E! News)

However, my thought is what draws the line between fandom and stalker like behavior? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines stalking as “to pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment” and they define harassment as “(1) : to annoy persistently (2) : to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.” A fan is “2 : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit).” So, definitions aside, the line between fandom and freak is apparently drawn with the idea of harm- physical or mental.

As I was reading the stories about Ryan Seacrest and seeing the pictures, I was able to tell exactly where he was and what he was doing. I can follow him on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook and read all about him in the blogs. I could even make an attempt to follow him around as long as I remain on public property and make no attempt to harm. The obsessed loner, but no one would know I was a nut since his life is so public. So, with all the media coverage I think celebrities almost make themselves vulnerable to stalking. 

Medina, Cynara. “The Changing Face of Fandom.” Pop Matters (2009): n. pag. Web. 3 Nov 2009. <http://popcultural.wordpress.com/&gt;.

 Merriam Webster. 2009. Web.

“What’s Happening.” Ryan Seacrest:Entertainment2009: n. pag. Web. 3 Nov 2009. <http://www.ryanseacrest.com/&gt;.

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            C.C. makes a valid point in his blog about the culture of the undead surfacing in popular culture. Has anyone else noticed the recent fascination with zombies and vampires? C.C says “There is a very extensive and complex vampire culture that has been growing stronger as the years go by.” I completely agree. The “Twilight” fascination only adds to the desperate cultural desire to be something different.

         “Whatever your taste, the phenomena of vampires has existed for centuries, and is so common a theme in our movies and literature because it raises questions about mortality, morality and most importantly, death.” (Suck My Blood)

This video shows how desperate Bella was to be like Edward. Now, many girls are looking for their perfect Edward.

 

            Zombies also follow this trend too. The recent movie “Zombieland” is taking teens all over the nation. Some people want to fight the zombies, some want to know how to survive an attack. Whatever the reason, people seem to be interested.  

            I am fascinated by the idea of hordes of mindless zombies because I want to test my physical and mental power in more than just talking and reading, I want to be there rather than talk about it. And I want to prove myself to a certain some one that I will not say.”(Finnbarr, Zombie Survival Guide)


            Other than the fact that I find this video absolutely adorable, I also agree with Kelly that even something as simple as Putnam Pig will create an internet meme. After we watched this video in class,  I posted it on my Facebook to see how many hits it would get. Several people watched this video and someone commented saying “I don’t even know why I like this-it’s just adorable!”

            “At its most basic, an Internet meme is simply the propagation of a digital file or hyperlink from one person to others using methods available through the Internet (for example, email, blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc). The content often consists of a saying or joke, a rumor, an altered or original image, a complete website, a video clip or animation, or an offbeat news story, among many other possibilities. An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, and parody versions, or even by collecting news accounts about itself. Internet memes have a tendency to evolve and spread extremely quickly, sometimes going in and out of popularity in just days. They are spread organically, voluntarily, and peer to peer, rather than by compulsion, predetermined path, or completely automated means.[2]”(Wikipedia)

            As Wikipedia says, this meme became popular because people spread it. Why? Because it’s a popular song? The tune is catchy? The pig is adorable? H1N1 is becoming a scary issue? Even though this questions may never be answered, it’s clear that spreading a meme is as easy as clicking repost.

In John’s blog, he discusses how women in the media are portrayed. They are either incapable of mastering technology or being overly sexualized in modern lyrics. The woman is often portrayed as a joke in the media or as a target of criticism. For example, Lois on “Family Guy” often receives threats from her youngest son Stewie.

John also says that since the portrayals are inaccurate in most cases (I know I don’t keep a Donna Reed type house, nor am I one of Weezy’s women) that they are offensive. As a woman, I do not find these ideas offensive. Popular culture creates this image of a woman that is clearly not how most women are, but as we said in class “pop culture reflects what is popular at the time.” So, now it is popular for women to be sexualized and then it was popular for women to be perfect housewives. However, these images aren’t offensive- they just are. According to Carlisle History, that just because stereotypes exist does not mean they are untrue. (Carlisle History, Gender Stereotypes, 1)

Although I agree with John to an extent, I believe that the media created stereotypes are a reflection of the time. In the 1950s, women were more involved with their homes and family lives. Even though this could have given women an image that was hard to live up to because their house isn’t quite clean enough. Today, women are trying to be sexy and that is what is shown on TV. Once again, this may create body issues, but it is still true.

The tabloids of today have broken free of three legged children with bat ears and moved to juicy celebrity gossip as Kelly said in her blog  “the cover is the key to selling your product.” I must agree with Kelly.  According to howstuffworks.com, tabloids grab readers’ attention by covering things outside the realm of serious journalism. Since they are not serious journalistic magazines they do sometimes make their stories up from thin air and can even pay up to two sources.  (TVparty.com)

As Kelly said, celebrity couples are on the forefront of tabloids now.  I think tabloids exploit the lives of celebrities for money. It does not matter to the magazine if the information is true. I’m a strong believer in honest journalism and I also think that doctoring photos of people to sell magazines is wrong.  It can ruin the image a person has created for himself or herself and it is lying.  An example below is the “Brangelina” scandal. Even though they did eventually end up together, this image was proved doctored by MSN.com. The stigma of tearing up a marriage was already attached to Jolie. Things like this bring up the idea of “guilty until proven innocent” in reference to the media.

Star_Magazine

The idea of the “hegemonic man” man may never change but the idea of differing masculinities is on the rise. Is it possible for men to enjoy other thing besides beer, sex and football? The topic of men with differing tastes while still being men is becoming popular in pop culture. Such popular shows as “Will and Grace,” “The Office,” and “Glee” all contain openly homosexual male characters.

“Glee” which is new to Fox this season has a newly openly homosexual character in the cast. Kurt Hummel played by Chris Colfer is the homosexual character in “Glee” who just came out to his friends and father. Kurt is such a good example of the idea of masculinities. For so long he fought to cover up the fact he was homosexual, but everyone seemed to know anyway. When his father caught him and two girls dancing to “Single Ladies,” Kurt lied and said it helped him loosen up for football. He had to find a way to make the team and pulled a favor to try out from (or “audition for the role of kicker” as Kurt said) another Glee Club member who also captained the football team.

“…does Glee transgress prime-time network representations of gender and sexuality because it highlights straight men as comfortable being associated with a glee club or a cappella group and provides us a supporting young gay male character who is struggling to come out publicly, not to mention that the show’s creator is the openly gay Ryan Murphy, who also brought us the simultaneously homoerotic and homophobic Nip/Tuck? Or does Glee reinforce hegemonic masculinity by comforting straight audiences with tired heteronormative love triangles in not one, but two subplots as well as narrate the pressures on middle-class husbands to provide for their over/under-sexed wives?” (Pop Academy, 1)

Personally, I think that “Glee” is showing different types of masculinity and how it’s OK to be different and sometimes it helps others.  It turns out that Kurt kicks the winning point in the football team after he teaches the team to dance to loosen up.  The team carries him off the field and he makes his father proud. So, even though he wasn’t the stereotypical football player, he still brought the team together and let them achieve victory. Isn’t that masculine of him?

All the while Kurt is playing football; two of the football team’s members are participating in “Glee” club and not afraid to associate with a potentially non-masculine activity. They are showing that it’s ok for men to like music, but still play football and enjoy women. “Glee” covers how the media’s perception of men is changing. I think this change is for the better.

The image of the woman in pop culture is portrayed in many different ways. There is the quintessential mother figure, the woman who tries to balance work and career, the cougar and the woman who just tries to get by and do what she thinks is best for her kids.  All of these roles are encompassed in the popular show “Desperate Housewives” that airs on ABC. The main characters are middle aged, upper class, and with the exception of Gabrielle they are all white. They live on Wisteria Lane and try with all they have to keep up appearances and portray what appears to be the perfect life, but at the same time give very empowering images to women.

Bree Van De Kamp’s goal in life is to maintain the perfect appearance. Her clothes are neatly pressed, she cooks magnificent dinners but does not provide a loving environment for her children. She abandons her son when she finds out his true sexuality and because of her not so stable state of mind she fails her children. This would be considered not of the hegemonic values of women. (Gender & Housewives, 2) So, Bree’s character leaves the impression that sometimes there are more important things than keeping a BH&G home.

Lynette is the mother that we discussed in class. In Stephenie Empey’s article she defined motherhood as a discipline. (Empey, 60) They must bathe, cater to others, meet deadlines and provide. This is how Lynette runs. She manages the household affairs, but in keeping with the motherly image must do what is best for her family even if that includes going back to work to out earn her husband. The spheres switch and her husband must stay home “Although it is relatively common for a woman in the United States to be employed, it is not very common for a man to be the primary caregiver while his wife works.” (Gender & Housewives, 4) The empowering image here is that women can be the bread winners for the family.

An overall image of empowerment can be seen in the fact that the women are still being sexualized in their forties. Gabrielle Solis has an affair with a boy in high school who mows her lawn. Edy has flings with anyone and Susan still has fire with her husband who she divorced. Even the marketing for this show was based on how attractive older women can be. “The ads focus almost entirely on the ‘hotness’ of the cast as does the show (well, at least for the women – anyone notice how shabby Tom looks most of the time? And how Carlos is the only one who appears to have aged in the 5 year flash-forward with his graying locks?” (Professor, What If?, 1)

Check out the promo for season 4 and notice how sexualized all the women are.

Defined by urban dictionary, a meme is  “a pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means; a parasitic code, a virus of the mind especially contagious to children and the impressionable” (www.urbandictionary.com).

Memes surround us everywhere we go. Who can’t remember a few years ago when the YouTube hit “Shoes” was being quoted all over the internet. Recently Kanye West has turned himself into a meme with his little interruption during the VMAs. This video of Kanye has become a viral video. Members of Facebook and Twitter were eager to repost the video and share with their friends.

From that, the Internet took hold of Kanye’s outburst and turned him into the newest meme. As we discussed in class, memes are infectious. This one had an incredible breeding ground of nine million viewers (Rock and Roll Daily, Rolling Stone). People immediately started making fun of Kanye. It was airing on all the major TV stations and reportedly even President Barack Obama was caught using profane language in reference to the star.

Dawkins said that memes compete with other memes to carry in their traits. Right now, it appears that Kanye’s meme is outdoing any of the other memes out there. Bloggers have created Photoshopped pictures of Kanye interrupting everyone from Pink to Patrick Swayze. So whether this meme is going to outlive other popular ones like “The Dramatic Chipmunk,” is still up for debate, but it has made a definite mark on pop culture. Enjoy and please take no offense to the lyrics.

   I went to the movies today. If you’re curious, I saw “9,” and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. However, that is not where this is going. While sitting in the theatre and waiting for my movie, I was submitted to endless previews. Then it hit me; I was experiencing a déjà vu flashback type moment. I watched the teaser trailer for “Toy Story 3,” then the trailer for “Where the Wild Things Are” and finally a trailer for “Cloudy, with a Chance of Meatballs.” Now, I imagine that most of you have heard of these titles, if not grown up with them.

   These works were huge hits when I was young. I still know the lyrics to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from my incessant watching of the “Toy Story” movies in my youth. After mulling this over for some time and trying to decide why the movie industry would try to appeal to this now adult audience with children’s movies- it hit me. We were the main consumers for this product when it came out. They made millions of dollars off these products and we formed an emotional connection to them. The first time I saw the “Where the Wild Things Are” trailer I got chills thinking back on how much I loved that book.

   It seems that while we grow up, so does pop culture.  We demand that it does. I know that when I read a really great book I cast and set it in my head. After making a connection to that book, even if it’s years later, I’ll shell out to be one of the many consumers of that pop culture product.  The same with “Toy Story,” sure it’s a kids’ movie, but I’m still curious what happens to Woody, Buzz and the gang now that Andy’s packing up for college. I will go see it. Plus the kids who are seeing “Toy Story” for the first time will insist their parents go rent or buy it so they can be all caught up.  

    Aside from the idea the movie industry is trying to drain poor college kids from their money, I think adapting these books to film and creating a trilogy out of a great animation is a wonderful idea. Emotional ties are strong and we’ll pay just about anything to reminisce.

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