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Quackcast 695 - Pop Culture

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, July 9, 2024

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Pop-Culture, and the way it's always changing… We fall in love with pop culture but it's constantly changing and new pop culture is always being created, which means that as time goes on less and less people will care about the same pop culture as you. And what you were into will become niche and obscure, even though at the time you fell in love with it, it was massively mainstream and all over the place!
There are exceptions to this with things that are SUPER popular like Star Wars, DC and Marvel comic characters, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, who's new versions facilitate a life support for the old stuff or sometimes even a revival of it, but they also have an issue where they try and replace their classic stuff with the newer versions.

The term “Pop-culture” started as a sort of critical description of what was thought of as a low quality, disposable alternative to “true” culture, but we've long since embraced it and no longer see it as something lessor. Pop-culture is simply the universal, current, contemporary culture that we all have access to. The two biggest factors in popculture are time and money: Time, because there's a constant turnover of content, people lose interest in things constantly so we always need new things; and Money, because the more money put into something the bigger it will get in pop-culture and also the more something can earn (because it's part of a popular concept) the more likely more of those things will be made (i.e superhero movies, Isekai anime etc). Older, previously created popculture still continues to exist but rapidly loses popularity and availability the older it gets. By its nature there is an extreme bias towards the new.

Here we're talking about how massively popular and universal things become niche and unknown. It can revive because mining older popculture to make new popculture is very lucrative and easy, but it's never the same when it does. Even perennially popular things like Star Trek, Marvel and DC constantly change with each new iteration. Companies like Disney re-release their older IPs in their original forms but the purpose of that is to maintain the popularity of their brand (and now the streaming service) to help market their newer stuff. Pop-culture is a ravenous beast that must consonantly be fed with the new and money.

What are some Pop-culture things you love but no one else does anymore?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by The Scourge of Ninepoint - A mournful yet extremely respectful funerary sounding tune ramps up quickly into a furiously paced call to action and a desperate race against time!

Topics and shownotes


Featured comic:
Snake in the office -

Featured music:
The Scourge of Ninepoint - - by BonesMcKay, rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -

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Ozoneocean at 8:37AM, July 11, 2024

@Paul- what you were saying reminds me off how people say that the Beatles were the best bad of the 1960s because they sold so much and they're still so popular, Conversely people say that Led Zeppelin were trash because they were just a poplar band as opposed to something more arty that not as many people loved. Neither idea is true of course- Both the Beatles and Zeppelin were great and that made them popular, they did arty things and trashy things, but they were popular for a reason. But then bands who were never as poplar were also just as good. LACK of popularity doesn't mean something was in any way bad it just means it lacked cultural traction for any number of reasons (bad luck, lack of promotion, wrong place wrong time etc)

Ozoneocean at 8:31AM, July 11, 2024

More popular things get more traction because they generate more money. Space 1999 wasn't as big as Star Trek, but then neither was Blake's 7, or the Tomorrow People, or Quarks, or Buck Rogers or Sapphire and Steel, any number of other great quirky SciFi shows. They weren't higher culture though, it's just that the smaller popularity doesn't justify spending the cash to promote them, reboot them, or even license them like star Trek.I know that's not what you were saying Pau but it helped to make a point. I remember it but I never really watched much of it. I still have an Eagle 1 toy somewhere.

PaulEberhardt at 10:41AM, July 9, 2024

Of course culture is culture, even if many people won't believe it. There is this funny fallacy among some people that anything entertaining can't be actual culture, as if good entertainment wasn't something valuable that in fact takes a huge load of skill. I guess this might be the actual reason why prize committees and experts are so bad at telling what will have a lasting impact and what won't. As so often, gut feeling is the best advisor here. Btw. does anyone remember Space 1999? Granted, it does have its flaws, especially concerning the science part of science fiction, ruined by a tussle between the authors and the producers, and what was presented as the future is of course a very alternate past now, but the characters and execution totally make up for it.

marcorossi at 8:51AM, July 9, 2024

What irks me is that what is remembrered is not usually what was better. For example Akira is from 1988, Dragonball from 1984, and in my view Akira is way better than Dragonball, but it is less remembered. The reason is that Akira is a "heavy" comic/movie, whereas Dragonball is much more lighthearted and family friendly. But it still irks me, so from this point of view I can't completely dismiss the idea of an "higer" culture which is not always the most popular.

Ozoneocean at 8:41AM, July 9, 2024

@ironscarf- there are so many things that can not as easily be found since their pop-culture debut for too many obvious reasons. Even in the world of streaming now you cant as easily find you shows and movie online from legitimate sources for example because of distribution licenaing and the fact that as the things becomes less know it doesn't make sense to pay for more distribution licenses wtc

Ozoneocean at 8:36AM, July 9, 2024

People, people! You're missing the pony if you're comparing pop-culture to high culture, that's NOT what any of this is about and the two things are not any different 🤣 culture is culture. So pleaeeeeeese no more comparisons. I only mentioned the two things to show where the name came from.

marcorossi at 8:35AM, July 9, 2024

@ PaulEberhardt - I've read works by 8 of them (some of them for school) and recognize the names of other 19. The citation in my first comment is from Herman Hesse, one of those nobel laureates. I'm SOOOO cultured.

Banes at 7:51AM, July 9, 2024

@PaulEberhardt - Dang it! "Pop Goes the Culture" should have been the title of this episode! Nicely done!

PaulEberhardt at 7:14AM, July 9, 2024

It seems to be easier in pop culture, either because it's less complex or because it's less elitist which in turn means that a million time more people pass their judgement on it, largely unencumbered by any brainy highbrow ideas from some ivory tower in cloud cuckoo land. Your choice which explanation you like better, but please note that one is plain wrong and the other is too harsh. ;) Pop goes the culture!

PaulEberhardt at 7:05AM, July 9, 2024

With so-called high culture it was once remarked to me that we generally seem to be crap at telling the timeless masterpieces from the rest while it's still contemporary. As a point in case, just have a look at [url=]Wikipedia's list of Nobel laureates in Literature[/url] and tell me how many of the names you recognise that you know and of whose works you've read at least one, ideally more than that. There will be some, but not very many compared to the total of 120 people on the list, even if all of them have been awarded for a highly influential contribution to literature. It's 19 with me, by the way, not even 10%, and that makes me feel quite sophisticated.

Ironscarf at 4:55AM, July 9, 2024

I can't think of an example of pop culture that no else loves anymore. Like nineties Britpop is long dead thank goodness, but people are still writing books about it and pretending it's relevant. On the other hand I'm a big fan of the (original) Prisoner TV series and if I wanted to, I could still go on a Prisoner themed weekend to Portmeirion with other Prisoner nuts, to dress up as a No.2 and take part in a giant chess game. Like them or not you can't make them go away and that's more the case now than ever before. But as you point out, mainstream pop culture will simply chew them up and spit them out in some new form.

marcorossi at 4:43AM, July 9, 2024

The consequence of this oversaturation is that stuff has to leave an impression immediately, so shorter and shorter songs, music that rely on a single jingle, movies with characters/actors that have to be immediately recognizable etc., while stuff that requires a bit more of attention is relegated in niche markets. This is the reason pop culture is in fact quite shallow. On the other hand, "high" culture only exists because some gatekeepers choose what is "high" and what is not, so it will often be quite backwards in terms of what is considred "high".

marcorossi at 4:39AM, July 9, 2024

If we compare pop-culture of today with the culture of the past, there is a perspective effect because a lot of the low quality stuff from the past was forgotten, so if we think to the 18th century we think of Mozart but not of all the other minor authors, or the theatre actors/opera singers who were famous at the time. Moch of this forgotten stuff was the pop-culture of the time, but we instead only compare our modern pop culture with the stuff that withstood the passing of time. That said, it is evident that there is much more economic energy in the media today, due to the way higer productivity in essential goods that frees up labour for the media market. This creates a situation of mediatic oversaturation.

marcorossi at 12:47AM, July 9, 2024

The age of the feuilleton! Bonus points for who gets this citation.

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