If you’ve never seen Community, you’re missing one of the most heavily pop culture-laden shows on television (also: Psych). The show itself mimics, mocks and references TV and movies, and it also features its own resident pop culture expert. The character of Abed is obsessed with all things pop culture, and finds that to be the easiest way for him to relate to the word around him. He frequently compares his life and the circumstances around him to plot devices, character archetypes, and often to specific TV shows, movies, and characters.
I wanted to share this clip from the show because it illustrates some of my reasoning behind this blog. In conversation with another character, Jeff, Abed discusses the need that we have to filter our lives through pop culture (while at the same time attempting to make Jeff believe that is the exact opposite of what he wants). Jeff and Abed both make some interesting points about using pop culture to express ourselves and make sense of what goes on around us:
For more examples of pop culture references in Community, check out these links:
Now that we’ve got some background information out of the way, I want to get the ball rolling with The Catchphrase and start looking at where the expressions and phrases we use come from, and how they make their way into common usage.
|Community: Pierce coins a new phrase.
This blog is still new, so it’s difficult to say what exactly it will become, or what sort of format will be most suitable, but my hope is that it will combine longer posts about the background of different trends and technologies that affect language, supplemented with brief, “lighter” posts showcasing specific examples of how pop culture and media — from literature to broadcast news, sitcoms, game shows, movies, comics, social media, and viral videos — get into our collective consciousness and change the way we communicate.
|Mean Girls: “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen!”
Because I am ultimately influenced by my own life experience, the content (at least to start) will reflect the media that has been significant for me, and hopefully for my peers. That means that a lot of the references will be related to things that have come around since the late ’80s, or that I have been exposed to through my own experience.
So, I apologize if I reference something that makes no sense to you; after all, we all experience the world from our own perspective, and the things that have made their way into my vernacular might not be a part of yours and vice versa. But, I’d love to get suggestions as things get going about references that have slipped my mind or that I may not be immediately familiar with.
It’ll be streets ahead!
When was the last time you said you’d “Google” something? Or that you would “YouTube” a video? Or posted a song lyric or movie quote as your Facebook status? You’ve probably done at least one of those things within the last month, or maybe even the last week. Because no matter what, the technology and media of the world we live in seeps into the words we use.
I know, I know. English is boring. It’s all about stupid rules of “i before e” and never quite knowing when to use “whom.” And, yep, there is a lot of that stuff involved in studying language. But! Did you ever stop and think about why we use the words we do? Or where your favorite expression came from? Or the last time you actually spelled the phrase “I’ll see you later” instead of using an abbreviation? No? Well, those probably aren’t the kinds of issues that you ponder in your free time, but I think they’re worth wondering about.