Cindy Nguyen

Research Log: Is pop culture actually good for you?

#1

Source: Hudson, P. (2015, August 06). Pop Response: I thought this article was pretty
Culture: Making Society Stupid. Retrieved April accurate on explaining American society today
6, 2017, from http://elitedaily.com/life/pop- and how it revolves around “pop culture.” I liked
culture-making-society-stupid/ that it was very opinionated because I felt like I
could relate with the author in comparison to my
Direct quotes: views of this topic. I did think the article was a bit
Whole article was opinionated information. No crude though.
direct quotes from other sources but the author
states “We ought to be priding ourselves as being What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
a nation of intellectuals — not a nation that That pop culture is making society stupid
supports and honors idiots. I am sure that most of
you are under the illusion that you only watch What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
these shows because you enjoy laughing at the answer or investigate?
stupidity of others. But at the end of the day you How has American culture been downgraded?
are an hour poorer and those “idiots” are several
thousands of dollars richer — thanks to people Summary of the important ideas and how they
like you.” relate to the research inquiry.
 People are wasting so much time feeding
themselves with garbage that we define as
“pop culture” (reality tv shows, social
media challenges, etc)
 Entertainment has now become overrated
and people live off the lives of others and
what they’re doing
Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 Living is pretty exciting when you’re not
caught up in dedicating all your time to
social networking platforms
 Don’t feed into the gossip and information
presented in social media, but rather use it
to make a change for the better
Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
 All the garbage that plays a large role in
peoples’ everyday lives leads to the
conclusion that America really is the place
where dreams-no matter how stupid- can
come true
 We have to have a clear understanding of
what is real and what is artificially
produced in order to make us all
complacent in bettering the intelligence of
Cindy Nguyen
our nation as a whole
Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. Will pop culture and social media
platforms continue to stay the same?
2. How can people prevent others and
themselves to not feed into manufacture
virtual reality?
3. Why exactly are people getting paid for
such stupid trends or doing something that
isn’t positively affecting society?
What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
The vocabulary used in this article was pretty easy
to understand. I’d say the audience should be able
to identify the meaning of pop culture in general,
in order to comprehend the reasoning behind the
author’s argument and the negative impact it has
on society.

#2

Source: Taylor, J., Ph.D. (2009, December 8). Response:
Popular Culture: We Are What We Consume. Right off the bat, I could tell that this article
Retrieved April 6, 2017, from definitely contained bias information. I liked that
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the- the article was divided into subcategories and
power-prime/200912/popular-culture-we-are- thought that valid points were made.
what-we-consume
What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Popular culture: We are what we consume
Direct quotes:
Dr. Lawrence Rubin, a fellow blogger who studies What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
popular culture, commented that "If we simply answer or investigate?
consider popular culture as banality, it certainly Pop culture vs. synth culture: Is it a problem?
seems meaningless...even potentially destructive.
However, if instead we recognize that it is simply Summary of the important ideas and how they
an expression of our collective experiences, its relate to the research inquiry.
importance becomes more clear."  Popular culture is grounded in expressions
of shared experiences that are much more
fundamental to our society, including the
values and beliefs that have shaped it, for
Cindy Nguyen
example, integrity, community,
compassion, courage, sacrifice, respect,
hard work, and justice.
 Too many of the problems we're facing
now have been caused by the materialism,
anti-rationality, and lack of compassion
promoted and encouraged by "synth
culture"

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 Popular culture is like fast food for the
soul
 Most of pop culture today is churned out
by corporations with the sole purpose that
we can be converted into consumers
 Although pop culture can have a positive
influence and fundamental values to
society, it can also form the basis of synth
culture, messages of greed, consumption,
misogyny, etc.

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
 In the face of global instability, economic
uncertainty, and unsettling societal change,
synth culture offers us mighty fine
"comfort food;" it's delicious, fills us up,
and makes us feel good.
 “I believe in truth advertising, so we
should stop calling popular culture popular
culture because, well, it no longer is a
reflection of popular sentiment.”

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. What is so bad about synth culture? Synth
culture is manufactured artificially by
major corporations, supposedly to prey on
our desires and interests. Is that not a great
thing?
2. Hasn’t popular culture always been
commercialized though? (Examples being
TV shows, commercials, magazine
articles, etc.)
3. Are we really what we consume? Or do we
determine certain choices to determine the
direction of our life?
Cindy Nguyen

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
“Synth culture” is used quite often and the author
explains it as “a synthetic product created by
corporate conglomerates,” taking over “an
expression of the shared experiences of real
people.” He uses this word to compare synth
culture to processed foods, largely artificial,
unhealthy, and driven by the profit motive.

#3

Source: Benesh, J. (2014, January 15). Examining Response
popular culture and society. Retrieved April 19, Although this article was shorter than the others, I
2017, from liked that it presented a more positive view of pop
https://asunow.asu.edu/content/examining- culture on our society rather than negative.
popular-culture-and-society
What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Direct quotes: Using pop culture as a massive movement to
“There are hundreds of magazines that sell only challenge the way people think
pop culture, e.g. the Vogues, GQs, People, teen
mags. People are spending money to be What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
brainwashed on where to spend their next dollar answer or investigate?
and pay more for whatever that is. It's genius.” Is popular culture a direct representation of the
views of society?

Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
Defining pop culture, the different types, where
we see them and how it affects our society.

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 Psychologically speaking, society creates a
culture that expresses our deepest
yearnings and desires
 Characteristics of race, class and gender
are often constructed on television shows
to help us understand who we are as
people.
Cindy Nguyen

 As society moves toward a more
progressive and accepting outlook,
executives are looking for ways to use
music and TV as a means for change

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
 It can be a beautiful representation of the
human experience
 Pop culture can feed the mind, heart and
soul
 It can engender positive change within us

Connect this source to your other sources.
It’s different compared to the other sources
because it talks about the positive impact it can
have on society and how it makes us more aware
of certain things rather than “becoming more
stupid.”

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. What exactly is considered “mainstream”
in pop culture?
2. Pop culture can be seen as an educational
tool that allows us to be taught through
humor, but how is that true when so much
of the humorous content today seems to be
inappropriate?
3. Would this movement ever get to a point
where it seems as if information is
overloaded, or are we already experiencing
that now?
What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
This article was very easy to understand and the
vocabulary used was simple. Because the whole
article was based on pop culture, it was helpful
that the author went ahead and provided the
definition before he went into his explanation.
Cindy Nguyen

#4

Source: Ellingsen, P. (2005, August 7). Is pop Response
culture good for your brain? Retrieved April 11, I really liked this article because pop culture was
2017, from displayed as a psychological topic rather than an
http://www.theage.com.au/news/science/is-pop- opinionated belief and I found it really interesting
culture-good-for-your- how much things can affect our brain.
brain/2005/08/06/1123125937983.html
What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Whether or not electronic culture is brain food
Direct quotes:
“It is about seeing through the things we consume, What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
so that they do not consume us. It is a choice, but answer or investigate?
to make it, you have to grasp that the new media Is pop culture good for your brain?
is not value-neutral. Nor is the stimulation it
provides to the brain the same thing as a human Summary of the important ideas and how they
education. For that, we need human interaction. relate to the research inquiry.
The other has to be present.”  The latest media technology are not just
entertaining, but a way to boost the brain
 Pop culture expressed in new media is an
enlightening experience (ex. Media games
becoming more complex and intellectually
challenging)

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 Games today are more complex than it was
in the past and revolves around a particular
skill-the ability to make decisions
 Electronic technology is not the same as
reading a book. It is directly related to our
nervous system which is one of the reasons
it is so invasive and addictive

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
 New technologies flatter us with the
illusion of progress to push us further
away from real human interaction and
meaning

Connect this source to your other sources.
This article was very different than the others. It
was written in a more scientific manner and
focused primarily on video games instead of all
social media platforms in general.
Cindy Nguyen

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. How can pop culture be considered good
or bad for the brain when the topic itself is
so diverse? For example, there are plenty
of educational mechanisms shown through
social media that would be considered
good examples for society
2. What are the psychological reasons for
social media addiction?
3. Will new technology and electronic
platforms have the capability to take over
human interaction with one another one
day?

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
“Social intelligence” was used in the article and I
thought the word well represents the way society
thinks of pop culture. Being able to define the
meaning of this word helps the readers understand
how much we are actually capable of navigating
social relationships and environments in the way
they consume our lives.

#5

Source: Sternbergh, A. (2013, September 07). Response
What Was, Is and Will Be Popular. Retrieved I was fascinated by how much pop culture has
April 11, 2017, from actually evolved throughout history. It’s crazy to
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/08/m think how much of an impact we as people have
agazine/the-culture-package.html?_r=0#/#item_01 on what becomes popular and what doesn’t.

What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Direct quotes: The concept of cultural popularity is more
“If you’re of the sour view, that popularity is complex than it once was
inherently linked to mediocrity, then this
development can count only as progress. After all, What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
you can’t be held captive by the terrible taste of answer or investigate?
Cindy Nguyen
the masses when there’s no such a thing as masses What does it mean to be popular when everything
anymore.” is popular?

Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
 It’s a tenet of faith that we no longer
experience culture as one hulking,
homogeneous mass
 Popularity is now both infinitely
quantifiable and infinitely elusive
 Popularity ultimately serves as a form of
validation

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 Popularity is not just about making
cultural products financially viable, micro
popularity encourages creativity in more
ephemeral ways
 Cultural popularity functions best when its
liberally interpreted and freely distributed
 If something is popular, it doesn’t mean its
always good

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
We are now better equipped than at any time in
history to judge, say the most popular song of a
given moment, yet we’re more confounded by
what all this popularity actually means.

Connect this source to your other sources.
Like the other articles, this one talks about the
evolution change of pop culture and how the
choices we make and the things we’re interested
in affects what becomes mainstream and popular.

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. If we put aside a reflexive aversion to the
popular, and discovered something new
that we enjoy, wouldn’t we all be popular
by some measure?
2. When everything is popular to an extent,
how is it possible to keep up with
everything that is popular?
3. Aren’t we all to a unprecedented degree
Cindy Nguyen
the creators of a realm of popularity?

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
“Cultural popularity” was seen throughout this
article. It’s important to understand what it is
because it refers to how culture gets consumed
with ideas that arises from common exposure of
population.

#6

Source: Response
Widawsky, S. (2013, January 24). Does popular This wasn’t an article but it was a question forum
culture reflect society or does popular culture page that accurately addresses the topic of pop
affect society? Both? To what extent? Retrieved culture within a range of different people. It’s
April 11, 2017, from always interesting to see the viewpoints of others
https://www.quora.com/Does-popular-culture- and their say on certain ideas.
reflect-society-or-does-popular-culture-affect-
society-Both-To-what-extent What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Whether pop culture reflect the people or affect
Direct quotes: them
“I'm an American, almost 50. As a kid, re-runs
(replaying for a second time, shows that had What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
already been aired) were a new thing! The best answer or investigate?
pop-culture movies, TV, books and magazines Does popular culture reflect society or does
were very expensive to produce, and they were popular culture affect society? Both? To what
consumed by great majorities of Americans.” extent?

Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
 It depends on which society you are
talking about
 As creating and sharing “popular culture”
becomes democratized through the
internet, its role in society continues to
shift dramatically

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 The more easily accessed pop-culture is,
Cindy Nguyen
the more chance it affects and is reflected
by society
 The more that pop-culture is creatable by
those accessing it, the more popular
culture is affected by society
 Online culture has brought the ability to
create popular culture to the masses

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
Some aspects of popular culture stands out due to
excellent marketing, some get great marketing and
fall flat. Still, some things rise to the top with
unanticipated speed and popularity, and no one
knows exactly why (think of “Gangnam Style”).

Connect this source to your other sources.
Talks about how pop culture can both reflect and
affect our society and influence future production
of new media.

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. Since when has society become so
stratified by age and computer access in
ways that weren’t experienced before?
2. What age group has the most affect on
creating/affecting pop culture today?
3. Does pop culture go beyond what is seen
online?

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
“Post-industrial society” because it compares how
it use to be before the mass media blew up. It used
to be that young people were most affected, and
people from perhaps 25 to 45 were the ones to
create most of culture (through movies, art, and
advertising.)
Cindy Nguyen

#7

Source: McAdams, C., Hammond, K., & Theresa, Response
T. (2014, December 30). The Effects That This article was very well organized and
American Pop Culture Has on Our Everyday successfully covers the topic by sectioning it into
Lives. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from categories. It made it much easier to comprehend
https://www.csub.edu/~bruff/Pop%20Culture because the author(s) goes into detail about pop
%20Articles.pdf culture by first defining it, and then talking about
how the different types of pop culture influences
our country.
Direct quotes:
This whole article was factual based and didn’t What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
provide any specific quotations from the authors The different forms of pop culture and the effects
or outside sources. it has on our everyday lives

What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
answer or investigate?
What is pop culture and how has it majorly
influenced our country and around the world?

Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
 Comprises the tastes, preferences, customs
ad behaviors embraced by the broad mass
of the American public at any given point
in time
 It affects nearly everyone’s daily lives,
allowing individuals to consider difficult
subject matter and provides a strong
economic engine as it encourages new
purchases

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
Pop culture can be viewed from multiple
evaluation points, allowing individuals the
freedom to assess and form opinions about topics
with as much depth as they choose to give the
subject.

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
American popular culture allows people to
consider, express views on and evaluate issues
that they might normally avoid. Considerations
Cindy Nguyen
about sexuality, social propriety and cultural
motifs are exposed within pop culture, forcing
those watching to face these issues and form their
own opinions.

Connect this source to your other sources.
It’s similar to other articles in a way that it defines
pop culture and how it influences the world but it
differs by specifically talking about the various
forms of pop culture and providing examples of
how they are seen in our country and also abroad.

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. How does American pop culture and pop
culture abroad differ when they are of the
same form? For example, how are fast-
food joints like McDonald’s different in
America versus in Asia?
2. What form of pop culture has the most
influence on America? Food, music,
television, ethnic, etc.?
3. Pop culture items can explode in
popularity almost instantaneously through
mobile devices and social media, how
would things be different if we didn’t have
those platforms today?

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
“Cultural identity” seems to be an important term
throughout the compilation of the three short
articles. This word is important because it
resembles part of a person’s self-conception and
self-perception that creates and influences a
distinct culture.

#8

Source: Luger, F. (2011, April 26). Positive Response
Effects of American Pop Culture. Retrieved April This article was different because it explained the
13, 2017, from positive effects of American pop culture in ways I
Cindy Nguyen
http://www.ehow.com/info_8304287_positive- wouldn’t have thought of myself (incorporating
effects-american-pop-culture.html economy and freedom of speech).

What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Direct quotes: Positive effects of American pop culture
This whole article was factual based and didn’t
provide any specific quotations from the authors What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
or outside sources. answer or investigate?
In what ways is American pop culture taking a
positive toll in the world we live in?

Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
 Spread of American pop culture
throughout the world, through movies,
television shows, popular music and other
cultural forms, earns billions of dollars for
producers and artists
 Certain television programs brings
together a wide, varied and appreciative
audience
 Typifies the freedom of speech for which
America is famous and transmits the
values of peoples’ opinions

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 A vast number of people are employed
thanks to American pop culture
 People are taxed, which brings revenue
into the public purse to pay for education,
healthcare, road building, and other
spending programs
 American pop culture typifies the freedom
of speech for which America is famous
 In its cultural transmissions to the rest of
the globe, it represents diversity, racial
equality and tolerance

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
American pop culture transmits the value of a
people who know they have a right to an opinion.
Freedom of speech is one of the key liberties that
people of the free world enjoy. American pop
culture, it could be argued, helps to defend this
liberty.
Cindy Nguyen

Connect this source to your other sources.
This article was a tad bit similar to the last in a
way that it touches base on how American pop
culture strengthens its multicultural diversity.

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. How does American pop culture
specifically have a unifying effect on its
audience?
2. Most cultural forms earn billions of dollars
for producers and artists, but how much of
that money is actually used for public
spending programs?
3. How is American pop culture different
from other pop culture around the world?

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
Understanding “cultural transmissions” or cultural
learning, which is the way a group of people
within a society or culture tends to learn and pass
on information.

#9

Source: Holmes, L. (2014, January 3). Why Pop Response
Culture Matters. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from This audio segment was pretty interesting and I
http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2014/01/03/pop enjoyed listening to it rather than reading it. It
-culture-criticism brought forth a valid point about pop culture and
why we should care.

Direct quotes: What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
"You’re looking horizontally at the society around Studying pop culture has an important social
you and what people are surrounding themselves function
with, because everybody knows that those things
effect the way you think, whether they should or What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
not.” answer or investigate?
Why pop culture matters?
Cindy Nguyen
Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
 Presidential debates, television, movies,
etc. have become so choreograph and
meticulously planned that anything you
know was not plan suddenly has a massive
appeal because people have a craving for
anything that is authentic
 Thirsty for anything that feels real, speaks
in someway to humanity

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 What we pay attention to in pop culture is
how we say what is important to us
 Compares writing about pop culture to
studying monkeys
 If you want to understand monkeys you
have to study both what they should eat
and what they actually eat. The same is
true for people and culture, you need to
look at what they should consume

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
“If you want to understand people, like monkeys,
you have to understand what they’re actually
doing.”

Connect this source to your other sources.
In a way, this article is similar to the one that talks
about how people are what they consume even if
it’s something that is bad for you. Ties in to the
fact that environment is a huge factor that affects
the way a person does or think.

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. Why did she choose to compare pop
culture with studying monkeys, if
monkeys are basically nature’s humans?
2. Is there such thing as the year in pop
culture, if it’s something that we’re
curating ourselves?
3. Why exactly do we need pop culture
critics?

What key term is used in this source that
Cindy Nguyen
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
“Social environment” is important because it
presents how the social setting in which people
live in impacts people and institutions with whom
they interact.

#10

Source: Phillipe, A. O. (2013, July 15). Why Pop Response
Culture?: Alexandre O. Philippe at I personally love watching TEDx Talks because it
TEDxMileHigh. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from helps me grasp the information better when it’s
https://www.youtube.com/watch? being presented from a personal standpoint to
v=u_3UYncNwz4 back up the point the speaker is trying to portray.

What idea(s) are the author(s) responding to?
Direct quotes: “The one thing that makes Pop culture divides people and bring them
America so great to the rest of the world, about together like any facet of human nature
all, is that we are the first civilization in human
history to have made fun important. We must What question(s) are the author(s) trying to
never, ever lose track of that.” answer or investigate?
What is the role popular culture plays in
expressing our values of community?

Summary of the important ideas and how they
relate to the research inquiry.
 Politics divides us, cultural beliefs divides
us, religion divides us, social issues
divides us, but pop culture can bring us
together
 It starts with us to recognize that popular
culture is not just guilty pleasures, it’s
something that truly matters

Paraphrase / Summarize key ideas
 Pop culture is a universal language that
manages in all its trivial glory to connect
us across racial, political, and social
Cindy Nguyen
divides
 Says something about us and our better
nature
 We should learn to respect it and preserve
it

Evaluate facts / claims
Believing: merits of the ideas, agreement
Doubting: questions, doubts, counterclaims
We have lost over 50% of our cinematic heritage
prior to 1950, we don’t want that with our popular
culture

Connect this source to your other sources.
Similarly to the last article, this TEDx Talk talks
about the main idea that pop culture is more than
just fluff, but is something that is of great
importance to our generation.

Write three (3) questions that this source raises
to continue the inquiry.
1. Why must we be so serious about what
divides us?
2. Why do we trivialized what brings us
together?
3. How does something become viral, and
does that always have a positive impact on
people?

What key term is used in this source that
requires an extended definition to help readers
better understand the ideas explored?
Being able to understand “universal language”
because pop culture is referring to a hypothetical
language spoken and understand by all or most of
the world’s population.