The Internet as subject: referencing pop culture in works of art

In slowly trying to finish off my Draft posts queue, I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I saved an article to writer about later on. I think I liked this article mainly because of the confluence it depicts regarding the rise and acceptance of the Internet in our daily lives and the need for writers to address the existence of the Internet.

I often wonder how writers of a certain generation choose to deal with the popular culture of the time. For example, how did writers in the 60’s address the hippie movement, free love, all of that jazz? Was it something that they focused on, or was it mainly some throw away comment that no one will ever really remember? Notice that I mention Popular Culture, because culture itself should be mentioned and addressed in works of art. I mean, look at the works of art that were created during World War II – they were mainly reactions to the big cultural event at the time.

I wonder why we place less emphasis on Popular Culture and it’s effect on art – by definition, popular culture is the more widespread and accepted form of culture. Referring back to the article I link below, I can’t believe there is even a question about how to address the rise to importance of the Internet on our daily lives. As something that affects our actions and decisions every day, it is imperative to address it in art. I can understand the worry that referencing something that is constantly evolving could be seen as something dangerous – what if your reference becomes outdated quickly? What do you do? But at the same time, it seems negligent not to discuss something that we are all familiar with. Crafting a novel that is set in the present time, and to ignore the effects of the Internet, just seems odd and outdate – like the author is a Luddite.

As one commenter pointed out, the issue with referencing the Internet is that the vast majority of it is textual – it’s a little boring to mention text in your novel, I guess. Anyway, things to ponder regarding this topic: what other popular culture movements have you noticed there being a lack of in works of art? Do you think not recognizing the effects of the Internet, and not referencing it in works of art, show that the author is out of touch with reality?  I’ll wait to hear back from other regarding this, before I put up my own thoughts and ideas as a comment.

How novels came to terms with the internet | Books | The Guardian.

One thought on “The Internet as subject: referencing pop culture in works of art”

  1. Novels are one thing, since you have extra space and time to develop the context for the technology in the prose, but TV shows and movies often approach this stuff with a ham-handedness that falls flat.

    One of my favorite shows is The Big Bang Theory on CBS and this is one area where they fail their true geek audience. Watch a few episodes and note when they reference things like Twitter, Facebook, or other brands. There is a noticeable tiny pause in their use as though they were spliced in as an afterthought or as a laugh line but often the characters do not sell the line because it comes across as a gimmick and not a natural part of the dialog.

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