The Critical Essay: Popular Culture

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The Critical Essay: Popular Culture
Writing Course
Course CodeWR2B, WR4B
Years of Operation1988-2010
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Course Description

Popular Culture is a critical essay course in which the students analyze today's popular culture, searching for underlying meanings and implications on today's values, ideas, and other nuances of the modern world. The course consists of writing numerous essays on different subjects in modern America. Such topics may include MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, magazine advertisements, movies, songs, college campuses, television shows, etc. The class is intensive, more so than Crafting the Essay, but is manageable. The class is known for many digressions into watching modern TV shows and movies or listening to music. Instruction in writing focuses on style and content rather than structure.

Class History

In 09.1 at Lancaster, Robin taught the course with TA Mike.

There are also rumors that Lady Gaga took this class at CTY to focus her analysis of popular culture. Lady Gaga went to Skidmore. Some TAs and RAs have relations to "Stefani". It is unlikely that Gaga took Pop Culture essay, for during her teenage years the singer was much less focused on pop culture and its evisceration as a whole than on writing love songs; she discovered Andy Warhol and pop art at 20-21. RANDOM FACTS!

In 10.1 at Lancaster, Robin returned to teach the course with TA Sarah Kolb. The class became known for their love of grass orgies/tummy parties and holding hands. The students frequently held grass orgies during breaks on the grassy areas outside Stager. When Pop Cult's break coincided with Etymologies' break, TA Caroline often yelled at the students for violating PDA rules and even yelled at TA Sarah for not "controlling the children properly". However, TA Sarah and teacher Robin did not care about PDA rules. In fact, Robin encouraged grass orgies in the middle of the classroom. However, she prohibited spooning and heads in laps. Pop Culture often stirred fear in fellow CTYers through their excessive use of the phrase, "GET SOME!" (thus, creating awkward moments) and PICTURE TIME! During this class, many dance offs occurred in the middle of the classroom along with awkward games of charades and the viewing of random TV shows such as Arrested Development and The Simpsons. Students in Pop Culture often referenced the objectification of women, harems, the Grapist, and the idiosyncrasies of fellow Pop Cult-ers (the nose fetish, the knowledge of the molestation of cows, etc.) in daily conversation. The Pop Culture class was often targeted by the RAs during the dances as well. SRA Kirsten especially loved to point her flashlight at Pop Culture's many grind lines and dancing circles. Only this class could have discussed gun porn, POWERTHIRST, and Cats monologues while still staying "relevant" to the class syllabus.

At LOS.10.1 Pop Culture was taught by Lupe Escobar and TAed by Derek. The girls in Pop Culture were in the same hall as the girls in Physics, and since both were classes with prerequisites their hall had almost all of the female nevermores on campus. The class was extremely fun and several people in the class agreed it was one of the best CTY classes they'd taken. They started every class with a music video and had discussions on everything from feminism, hip hop, Harry Potter, and Twilight. The class was probably one of the loudest at lunch everyday, thanks to the hilarious Alex H. practically yelling inappropriate jokes everyday. One of the highlights of the class was watching Twilight together and finding it absolutely hilarious during study hall, then spending most of the next morning bashing Twilight and talking about why Harry Potter is better. A highly recommended class.

At LOS 11.1 Pop Culture was taught by CTY Princeton instructor Mara Drogan. Derek Gray returned to TA the class. It was a small class with only 11 students. The students in this class enjoyed singing the songs "Air Force Ones" by Nelly and "Vans" by The Pack after watching them and analyzing them one day. They also had a love/hate relationship with the song "Friday" by Rebecca Black: though they said they hated it, some reference to the song showed up in all of their idea webs. The pop culture class was filmed for a CTY promotional video after doing a unit on branding (in this case specifically, educational branding and how CTY brands itself).

At Lancaster 2011 session 2, Pop Culture was taught for the 3rd time by Adam Renchen, and TAd for the 4th time by Sarah Kolb. There were 15 girls and 2 boys. Everyone loved the class and at the end accumulated MANY inside jokes (12 women of the Senate, disagreeing with Noah, the gnats, and Sarah's disqualification of all scientific studies, etc). The class watched the 2009 Star Trek film twice, wrote 4 essays, and played 4-square, 6-square, and at times 8-square during breaks. The class contained the new Satan (Becca Teich) and the Passionfruit Empress (Jessie Weber). The class had a sad number of no-mores/nevermore (more than half!). The class also enjoyed to sing "Stay on the Sunnyside" much to the annoyance of awesome TA Sarah. There was also a very feminist-leaning stance in the class that very much feminized the 2 boys in the class. Additionally, in the making of advertisements, one group created "Hotel Dollhouse" where people can buy prostitutes.

LOS 14.1

Our class was taught by "tiger" Leland and our amazing TA Hannah (who is a future pro ultimate frisbee player) The students in the class were Ryan, Brian, Anna, Sofia, Leslie, Isaac, Jamie, Jessica, Josh, Kobe, Johnny, and Katherine. Throughout the course, the class developed many insider jokes. After watching a Jimmy Fallon skit about hashtags, we began making hashtags for our insider jokes, such as #thxjosh, #jessica'shoodies, #blackbeannoodles, #mudmakesthetearsberollin', among others. We also created parodies of different items such as Apple (our version was called myPear. It was a pear-ody) We watched three films: Mud, Castaway on the Moon, and Moonrise Kingdom. This arose the awkward 12 year old dance and us analyzing various film techniques even outside of class. Including analyzing shots from Pacific Rim during an ISO. At the end of the session, we created a small commercial for our class. We were Pop Cult (ure). We got Leland to dress up in a banana suit which was pretty epic! Also included were our "cult" readings, the class dancing to the awkward 12 year old dance in Moonrise Kingdom, and our amazing hashtags. The class was so much fun and I definitely recommend it to CTYers. You'll be in for a lot of writing but it's fun! To the pop cult, thanks for making my last year at LMU amazing and you guys are the best! Hopefully at least half of us go to Advanced Fiction at Skidmore next year! -Leslie

WR4B.LAN.14.1 - As of Lancaster 14.1 this class was taught by Robin de La Llata Aime and Kenna Day (KENNA IS LOVE. KENNA IS LIFE. KENNA IS GOD. ALL HAIL KENNA). We watched Star Trek. And did other cool things. It's a cool class in general. Pop Cult 14.1 recieved an unsolicited series of unfair demands from Topi 14.1, which resulted in counter-demands from Pop Cult and a series of skirmishes. All skirmishes were won by Pop Cult, and included such combat tactics as prolonged eye contact and a sing-off between Kate Berwind and Victoria Provost. Pop Cult took an unattended Topi hard drive hostage and left the foolish Topis a serial killer note. The two classes ended this war with a mutual truce on the last day after Passionfruit.

Pop Culture was removed from the Summer 2017 course listings and replaced with "Digital Revolution". A moment of silence for this class which brought so many together and was loved by scores of students.