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Powerbanks and Pop Culture: Unraveling the Parallels in a Journey Towards Oslo

A shadowed powerbank on a map of Oslo with library, community center, and volunteer icons nearby.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 09:46

As I journey towards Oslo on a typical fall morning, the landscape a mixture of beautiful autumn hues underlined by the mild chill of an 11°C weather, a certain melancholy sits with me - uninvited, but not completely unwelcome. My heart weighs as if filled with molten lead, the weight centering around the recent news that has come to light about Lørenskog’s drastic budget cuts. There’s a sense of despair, a hollow echo that reverberates across the corridors of our pockets of culture - libraries, community centers, and beleaguered voluntary services that are to bear the brunt of this fiscal decision.

Despite this, I seek solace in a familiar and constant friend, my unwavering companion that brings a glimmer of hope to this ultimately crestfallen mood, my ever-so reliable powerbank. Amid the uncertainty that blankets, the reliability and consistency of a good powerbank can be somewhat comforting. As trivial as it seems, the ability to never run out of power, to give life to a device endlessly, is a metaphor that reassures me.

As I contemplate, I cannot help but think about the influence of pop culture, looking for patterns that might explain how we arrived at this point. Its influence is undeniable, shaping our ideas, our societies, our individual identities. It's the zeitgeist, a fabric, a mirror and a map.

Pop culture holds more power than many give it credit for. It permeates every sphere of our lives, shaping societal norms and standards, and influencing decisions and viewpoints. Take, for instance, how it props up the concept of 'Consumerism'. This dominant ideology glorified in TV shows, movies, music, and more, has over time led to a climate where the worth of public goods is often undermined or forgotten.

But if pop culture can instigate this unthinking consumerism, this undervaluing of our communal and cultural spaces, it surely has the power to effect change as well. Lean on positive portrayals, highlight the importance of accessibility to culture, emphasize the worth of community spaces. Pop culture has the means to take on a different role, as an educator, a harbinger of positivity and progress.

In this continuously globalizing world, a battering by pop culture is inevitable. Undoubtedly, this exposure holds several upsides, but the simultaneous dilution of local cultures and community bonds stands as a considerable downside. Yet, I believe that the trick lies in harnessing this influence, in twisting the narrative from senseless consumerism to conscious consumption, and from laissez-faire individualism to meaningful community-building.

As the scenery outside transitions from country to city, these thoughts buoy my spirits up a bit. Viewing pop culture as a force of change rather than a villain is an empowering perspective. Shaping the narrative, directing the influence, there is potential for a brighter tomorrow.

The proposed budget cuts in Lørenskog bring home the harsh reality of cutbacks, of watching precious communal resources dwindle, slowly erasing the flavor of the local culture. Yet, there’s a glimmer of hope, a belief that if we can harness the influence of pop culture for community-building and cultural preservation, the pages in the cultural storybook would continue their endless journey, powered by the strength that permeates every community and, indeed, every powerbank.

Tags: pop culture community-building cultural preservation

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