A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

The power of pop culture

Posted by 1minionsopinion on November 11, 2009

This is a cross post from my own blog:

If the entertainment world was a billiards table and every pop culture reference were a stripe or solid sitting on it, I’d be the cue ball that careens around the table yet drops into the dark corner pocket of cluelessness without ever knowing what I missed.

That’s not an entirely accurate analogy, but it’s close enough. I see movies (eventually), I watch some television (albeit a season or seven behind everyone else), and I have the internet. I’m never totally unaware of what’s popular in any given moment, but it might require a very annoying internet meme to be passed around the interwebs like a plague before I find out why.

What I do notice is that notoriety has become more interesting to our culture than behaviour that would actually be deserving of praise. On the rare occasion when I flip through a gossip mag or check a site, they’re all reporting on who’s doing drugs, who’s the babydaddy, and who flashed the camera flash again. She looks fat, he looks homeless. She’s still trying to “collect the whole set” of World Children, and he slept with someone who’s only reknown by proxy. So how come we still have to get news about him and a reality TV “star” who fell from grace? Who really gives a damn about any of them?

Although Andy Warhol is credited with saying “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” I’ve discovered he later refined the concept. He’s referring to Studio 54 (the actual club, not the movie based on it) here:

It’s the place where my prediction from the sixties finally came true: “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” I’m bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is, “In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous.”


But will we be famous for any worthwhile reason? Will it be our choice, or random unexpected happenstance? What is the Star Wars kid doing these days? Did Ghyslain Raza’s parents have to sue the parents of the kids responsible for his unwanted infamy? Maybe, maybe not. But those jerks did not ask Gaza’s permission to take something he made for fun at school nor did he know they’d post it online so the whole world could mock his high nerd factor. Those kids didn’t even know who Gaza was. Newsweek has a great article about Gaza’s experience (among others) and how the internet is proving Warhol right.

For people who use blogs and social-networking sites like diaries, putting their personal information out there for the world to see, this presents a serious risk. “I think young people are seduced by the citizen-media notion of the Internet: that everyone can have their minutes of fame,” says Barry Schuler, the former CEO of AOL who is now the coproducer of a new movie, “Look,” about public video surveillance. “But they’re also putting themselves out there—forever.”

Shaming victims, meanwhile, have little legal recourse. Identifying posters often means having to subpoena an anonymous IP address. But that could lead nowhere. Many people share IP addresses on college networks or Wi-Fi hotspots, and many Web sites hide individual addresses. Even if a victim identifies the defamer, bloggers aren’t usually rich enough to pay big damage awards. Legal action may only increase publicity—the last thing a shaming victim wants. “The law can only do so much,” warns Solove.

We are long past the point where people will forget what we’ve done. We may sink into blessed oblivion for a little while, but everyone, everywhere, may be only one click away from the world’s attention.

How do you want to be remembered?


6 Responses to “The power of pop culture”

  1. Enkill_Eridos said

    I feel sorry for this kid, but there are people that saw this and decided to make their own funny videos. So much that some actually thought the StarWars kid did it on purpose. I now feel ashamed for watching that video. Note: If you wonder what goatse is you really don’t want to know. Trust me you don’t want to know. I want to put it this way, has anyone ever tricked you into watching 2 girls one cup? Its another on the list of you don’t want to know.


  2. 1minionsopinion said

    Yes, there are things I’m better off only hearing about. I thought the rickroll was bad, but yikes.


  3. dorian said

    minion, feel free to cross post from iminionsopinion anytime! always a good read and discussion topics from you.

    even for those who don’t want fame or infamy, blogs on facebook and myspace, et al. can go viral anytime – it just takes one best friend or family member to send a link to your blog and… princess was right, andy warhol was a prophet.
    here’s a san francisco gallery window with the famous prediction:


  4. 1minionsopinion said

    Last year on this date, my stats went through the roof. An article on CNN listed my blog in their “See what bloggers have to say” part and my popularity skyrocketed.


    It didn’t last, of course. My big day on the wordpress page far surpassed that one but I have no way of telling how many readers have bothered to stop in again.

    It doesn’t matter though. I don’t do this for them. I just do it as a way to express myself because I don’t want to make youtube videos…


  5. princessxxx said



  6. princessxxx said

    NEW YORK (Nov. 12) – A painting by pop artist Andy Warhol, “200 One Dollar Bills,” brought $43.8 million at auction, more than three times its highest presale estimate of $12 million.
    The piece, one of Warhol’s first silk-screen paintings, sold at Sotheby’s on Wednesday evening. The auction house did not reveal the names of the buyer and seller.
    Bidding for the seminal work was spirited and fast. Auctioneer Tobias Meyer opened bidding at $6 million, which was immediately doubled. Five more people in the room jumped in, competing until a phone bidder was declared the winner.
    The current record for a Warhol is $71.7 million for “Green Car Crash,” sold at Christie’s in 2007.
    Executed in 1962, “200 One Dollar Bills” was once owned by taxi tycoon Robert C. Scull, who purchased it directly from Warhol’s dealer. The current owner bought it in 1986 for $385,000.

    200 1 DOLLAR BILLS


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