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Pop Culture Paradox: Its Sway over Society and Politics

A collage of pop culture figures, political leaders, protest signs and social media icons, in bold colors.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, October 17, 2023, 16:57

As the Norwegian countryside passes by my train window, bathed in a pallid autumnal hue, I find my mind continuously returning to the overwhelming influence of pop culture in our society. Underneath it all, I can't help but ponder how this seemingly trivial phenomenon has the power to shape our perspectives and decisions, influencing us in ways we don't even realize.

One can't even browse through the latest news without being struck by pop culture's subtle fingerprints. Take, for instance, the recent controversy involving Anette Trettebergstuen and her missed vote. Regardless of the validity of the statements made by Støre and Trettebergstuen, there's a quiet assertion underneath the argument — an unspoken allusion to the influence of pop culture in politics.

Elected representatives face a growing need to become more relatable, more 'pop culture' friendly in order to make headway in their respective political fields. Trettebergstuen's media presence is a classic example of this metamorphosis. She, like many others, follows a method not completely alien to influencers of pop culture. Pop culture no longer strictly belongs in the realm of music charts and Netflix—they’ve breached the barricades of politics.

Yet as the sun dips lower in the sky and my train journey home from Oslo continues, I can't help but take a wistful note. Pop culture, a concept birthed from the simple notion of entertainment, has seeped into the deepest fabric of our society, influencing everything from politics to perceptions. I can't help but question the implications of this.

Pop culture, with its relentless celebration of individualism and ego, often thrives on controversy. This reckless approach, combined with its overwhelming influence, might push society towards encouraging discord for the sake of amusement or brief, fiery moments of fame.

But then again, it could also be an incredible force for good. Pop culture has the unique ability to shine a light on social disparities and dark corners of society often ignored by more traditional forms of media. It stands to validate the underrepresented, to change stale narratives, and perhaps even inspire a more mindful world.

Wrapping my scarf tighter as the temperature outside hovers at a chilly 11°C, I realize that my musings remain open-ended. The influence of pop culture, like the fiery autumn leaves cascading down outside, is a paradox of beauty and destruction. It carries the power to both influence the masses and foster division. But in understanding this, perhaps we can take the steps necessary to harness this influence, channeling it into mechanisms for positive change, and reshaping our collective narrative.

The soft rumbling of the train lulls me back into reality, leaving me with these fractaled thoughts on pop culture's influence—a conversation that, I believe, has more depth and urgency than ever before. Even in the face of recent political mishaps, I hope that we, as a society, learn to appreciate, shape, and utilize this influence to pursue a world that mirrors the colorful vibrancy and nuanced storytelling that lie at the heart of pop culture.

Tags: society influence pop culture politics society

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