Thursday, October 7, 2010

Forbes Recognizes the "Power" of Pop Culture

     For those readers who are unaware, Forbes recently released its list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. Some of the choices on that list seemed fairly obvious (e.g. Michelle Obama [#1], Oprah Winfrey [#3], and Hilary Clinton [#5]), while others were pleasant surprises (specifically, the inclusion of Ellen DeGeneres [#10] and Chelsea Handler [#33] brought a big smile to my face). Perhaps the one name that shocked me the most, though, was that of eccentric recording artist Lady Gaga. Filling the #7 spot, her status was ranked superior to Beyonce Knowles (a far more established veteran singer who narrowly trailed at #9) and even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (#11)!
     I will not attempt to justify the supposed “powers” of Lady Gaga or her placement on this list (yes, some of her music is great, but I’m not buying the half-hearted political messages behind her work/stage persona, like her absurd meat dress at the 2010 Video Music Awards and its alleged commentary on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the dangers of human objectification). However, I will say that this is a surefire sign that more and more serious intellectual discourse needs to start tackling the topic of “pop culture, “ and it needs to be seen as a legitimate area of study. The fact that there were as many entertainers as there were politicians in the top 10 alone might be an indication of where many Americans’ interests, sociopolitical or otherwise, are truly falling.

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