Popular Culture and Political Discourse

In a society where film stars become political leaders and politicians appear in television sitcoms, politics and popular culture have become inextricably linked. In order to understand this ever-evolving relationship, we must first understand that each is a form of the other. Popular culture involves the organizing of our pleasure, and therefore our values, interests and identities. At the same time, our pleasure depends on a series of political decisions and processes, which in turn define our socio-moral standards and, therefore, society as a whole.

Popular culture has increasing played a part in the political campaigns of many countries worldwide and politicians who can skillfully navigate the use of pop culture references have a direct connection through which to influence their voters. This form of campaigning has sparked debate between those who see the political nature of popular culture as a form of manipulation and those who see it as populist self-expression. This debate begs the question how does pop culture influence the development of ideologies outside of politicians and how does popular culture create feelings of compassion, empathy, or affinity?

I believe that popular culture, perpetuated by social media, is a pivotal factor when dealing with modern politics and this gift of interconnectedness is mostly squandered by the use of small strings of sentences explaining our current mood or activity. We are wasting the infinite potential to change our society, our reality. The general populace now has a more influential voice than ever when it comes to political affairs and the future of our nations, but we use it to share simple joys rather than telling our needs and expectations to those who could use this information. Despite its primary motivation of mass communication, social media sites encourage self-promotion and a narcissistic mentality, by manipulating how they are represented to others. The problem with this aspect of social networking is that nearly everyone presents an unrealistic portrayal of themselves. Although this is not always the case, the misrepresentation of politicians can be misleading and therefore damaging to not only their political agenda but also the voters. If these uses continue and, more importantly, increase I wonder where our society is heading: too proud to admit our failures, too entrenched in ego to even see them, or too corrupt to care?

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