Popular Culture & Cultural Artifacts

Popular culture appeals to the public on a basic level, offering images, character, and stories that fit with the prevailing mood and which further reflect a nation's underlying values and predispositions. This process can be seen in a wide variety of popular culture artifacts. Most people would see movies, popular music, and television as elements of popular culture, while they might fail to note the equally important role of such things as advertising and even political discourse which borrows from popular culture for imagery and associations--George Bush saying "Go ahead--make my day," for instance. The power of popular culture can be seen in the concerns often raised about certain types of expression, notably that involving sexual material or violence, and the belief that repetition of such things as violent images in popular culture leads to violent behavior by viewers. In a broader sense, popular culture both reflects prevailing attitudes in society and shapes those attitudes for the future. The makers of popular culture are aware of the issues raised by such a reality, and popular culture is often self-reflexive, meaning that it examines itself and its effects even as it produces those effects in a social setting. Popular culture also examines the wider issue of cultural conflict which is prevalent in a diverse society such as that of America, and this sort of examination again takes place in a reflexive way because many of the makers of popular cu



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