:: what i learnt in school today ::

Popular culture (or pop culture) is the culture

Patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance — which are popular, well-liked or common. This is often defined or determined by the mass media. Popular culture is deemed as what is popular within the social context — that of which is most strongly represented by what is perceived to be popularly accepted among society. It comprises the daily interactions, needs and desires and cultural ‘moments’ that make up the everyday lives of the mainstream. It can include any number of practices, including those pertaining to cooking, clothing, consumption, mass media and the many facets of entertainment such as sports and literature. Popular culture often contrasts with a more exclusive, even elitist “high culture”, that is, the culture of ruling social groups.Today, most adults, their kids and grandchildren “participate” in pop culture directly or indirectly.


Popular culture, in view of, “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”. How school justifies itself for dealing with popular culture and television.

  1. You have to teach students to deconstruct what they watch, to see through it in order to demystify it and limit its impact.
  2. You teach students how to make the media better THEMSELVES, in order to enable them to become the producers of a better, more democratic, more politically active media which would inevitably bring about the next glorious socialist revolution.
  3. You use popular culture in the classroom to seduce students into paying attention in order to get your message across about whatever it is you were trying to teach. Which probably wasn’t anything to do with the media in the first place.

The idealogy of gender. Girl power. Feminism. The idea of being strong and vulnerable at the same time. Schoolgirl by day. Vampire-slaying machine by night. Girls don’t always have to wear skirts. Would’ve been mind-blowing in 1997. Not so much now, where house-husbands exist. And Xanders are aplenty. Fyi, i do not agree on emasculation. God made men, MAN. Warts and all. I acknowledge that it DOES exist, but do not agree that it should be a norm just because the TV says so.

The idealogy of good versus evil. Humans are good. Vampires are bad. La di da. What i found funny : Buffy and Angel (yes, the *good* boyfriend ex-vampire who has his own spin-off) did “it”. He achieved the PERFECT moment of happiness during “it”. And became bad (read : lost his soul). Underlying conclusion : good men don’t exist. A particular episode on Buffy in season 2, showed that once you give men what they want, they won’t want you anymore and then, you have to go and kill them.

The idealogy of homosexuality. Lesbianism was featured rather heavily (in my opinion) in the later seasons of Buffy where Willow got a lil’ closer to fellow witch, Tara. It seems ironic how someone who was very much straight (she liked Xander in the very beginning) could end up having a same-sex relationship. Maybe it was because Xander turned her down. Hrm. I think it would’ve been so taboo 11 years ago. But you know, i do acknowledge that it happens in today’s generation. It being a *popular* culture and all. But an observation i found interesting, both Willow and Tara remained feminine during the course of the series. Nowadays, we have girls taking on different gender roles in a relationship. To the extent of a girl dressing up as a boy to BE the boy in the relationship.

The idealogy of fantasy. Vampires. Demons. Shape-shifters. They don’t exist. But there are people in the world that make-believe they do. Who is to say that vampires are always gonna be portrayed as the dashing Louis played by Brad Pitt in An Interview With A Vampire. They could be as ugly as Count Orlok from Nosferatu. Who is to say that vampire fantasies cannot be localised? Think pontianak or even, jiang shi, those Chinese-hopping undeads that gave me nightmares when i was 7.

This, is what i learnt in school today. Interesting, no?


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