Defining Popular American Culture The study of culture is very important to our society, as we have been studying our past and identities for as long as we can recall. Studying our cultures allows us to understand each other as a people, so we can comprehend what we have done, and possibly, what we may do. As we study American popular culture, we see something that began as almost nothing, to a group of patterns that has captured the minds of not only the American people themselves, but the whole world, as well.
Popular culture is a set of patterns, beliefs, symbolic structures, and activities that are well liked by a group of people, as a whole. These beliefs could almost be said as being shared by everyone. This popular culture is mostly defined and determined by the mass media. This is because the mass media is most often the medium used to relay ideas, messages, and most importantly, the news of the times. As the mass media expresses its opinions, the people comprehend and adopt their own opinions based on information processed.
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As we start to understand popular culture, it is important that we realize the significance the mass media plays on forming what is known as the popular culture. American popular culture extends over far reaches in our lives. Culture includes how we eat, what we eat, where, and even when. Culture dictates how we go to work, what type of work we do, and what we do to enjoy our time away from work. We as people may not realize the patterns that we follow in our day to day lives. As we study how our cultures came about, hundreds of years before, we can learn why we partake in the activities we choose, at our present.
As part of this assignment, students were asked to examine their day to day routines, and making notes of all contact with popular culture. In doing so, we can begin to see how deeply it affects our lives. A log was made over the course of three days, documenting all of our regular and irregular activities. Of course, not all of our common and uncommon activities could be logged. However, the few that were clearly show a pattern that exists over a much longer range than the three day period that is noted. The main patterns detected in my log was eating, and working. The relationship between the two is somewhat humorous.
A saying my father had me commit to heart, if a man doesn’t work, that man won’t eat. My days usually begin, as probably most people in any cultures would, where I wake up, eat a breakfast, and commute to my place of employment. During this drive, I of course, along with all of my fellow drivers on the road, obey all traffic rules, including the required speed limit, and drive very calmly to work. This of course, is another part of our culture, which is sarcasm. As part of my employment, I offer people the chance to engage in another important part of our culture, which is dining.
As a server in a fine dining restaurant, I am exposed, and also expose others daily to the culture of dining. On Monday, our establishment hosted an event for the NCAA tournament committee. The NCAA as an organization is also a huge item in our culture, as it relates to sports, and college education. Being that our restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Detroit, and is known as one of the better places to dine in the metro area, we cater to a huge crowd of cultural icons and organizations. Usually doing my breaks, I may eat in the cafeteria, where there is an assorted variety of fast food dining establishments.
The process of fast food is an important part of American pop culture, created as Americans desire for speed and promptness grew past their slower years. One of my favorite places to pick up food is called Bahn Thai’s which is an Asian type of cuisine. Another popular theme in American popular culture dining is the cuisines of other cultures and nationalities. Only in America is Chinese or Mexican food as American as food ideas that originated in America. After work, I may try to head to the grocery store. Grocery stores are another huge part of our culture, where we can buy food of all types and quantities to satisfy our needs.
Healthy eating is a newfound craze in American pop culture, even along with the unhealthier fast foods. Upon reaching my home, I may relax with a drink of spirits. I prefer to head immediately online, which is where, besides television, all culture meets in a crash. The internet and television are the most useful tools in shaping our culture. The internet is maybe more successful, because the mass media is not directly influencing its subscribers, the internet users are. Examining our culture can teach us a lot of values. We pursue happiness and wealth, through employment.
We achieve satisfaction by using our money to feed ourselves, and purchase items needed or desired. We reproduce and understand our duties of providing for our offspring, which becomes our main responsibilities. Popular culture exists everywhere in our lives, and is a very integral part of our decision making. Because we understand the needs for food, shelter, and other things, we decide to go to school and work. As we realize we are responsible to the children in care of us, we decide to make wiser choices, instead of choices that could lead to problems, such as loss of wealth or incarceration.
In conclusion, after examining American popular culture, I realize how important our culture is in our own decision making. Our mass media does a highly effective job of influencing the people to a popular opinion, and many of these opinions are not always the best for that individual. I personally, have always been aware of these influences. While I try to make my own choices and decisions, because of popular culture and its definition, any step we take must be in its accordance.