Monday, September 8, 2014

Pop culture then vs. Pop culture now

I remember in class when we read about someone trying to compare pop culture today to something of more "depth" like Shakespeare. Then someone made the point that during his time, Shakespeare's work was considered pop culture. I think it's amazing how much of past "pop culture" has remained today in our media and society. But then I ask the question, if works from Shakespeare are being celebrated today, does it still make it pop culture? Or is it something that should be separated from pop culture?

Today, people all over the world still read and perform Shakespeare, as well as the works of many other artists. Another great example would be Jane Austen's works. Many of her works have been adapted for more modern audiences and many movies have been made out of her books. I believe there is also a youtube vlog/series that is set in present day about Elizabeth Bennet from Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I think it is great that writers from centuries ago are still remembered and celebrated by all audiences. But if there had to be someone who won an award for most things adapted out of their works, it would have to be Shakespeare.

The great thing about Shakespeare is how versatile his works are. You could literally take any of his works and you would be able to adapt to any time period. Many acclaimed directors have taken his works and made them their own. For example, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet and Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. There have even been musicals based off of Shakespeare's works! Such as West Side Story. Even I adapted Romeo and Juliet when I was in high school for a project. The point is that his form of "pop culture" left such a huge impact on society that his works are still relevant 500 years later. So do we still consider works like these pop culture? Have they always been considered pop culture? Or does pop culture just go in circles until we're back at the beginning?

(P.S. The theatre department is putting on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing starting September 17th. It's a modern take on the piece so if you're intrigued by his stuff, come check it out!!)

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