Pop Culture

Here you will find our writers' latest stories about everything Pop Culture
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As another holiday season has passed us by, Zach Vasser reflects on Thanksgiving feeling left out.



During the entire month of October, everyone has their Halloween decorations set up, and everyone is in the Halloween mood as they should be. Everyone has their spooky costumes and his ready to be frightened. Right after Halloween on October 31, it is November and the nearest holiday would be Thanksgiving. But now, people are starting to forget about Thanksgiving and get into the Christmas spirit in early November.  

Thanksgiving is a family holiday where families get together and give thanks to each other by saying what they are grateful for and by having a nice, big feast. And one of the reasons on why people are forgetting about Thanksgiving is because of Black Friday, which comes the day after Thanksgiving. Some people now, ruin their Thanksgiving by trying to be first in line at a Walmart or Target to get amazing deals on Christmas gifts for themselves or others. This completely ruins Thanksgiving for many families as they will not be able to see some of their loved ones, as they will be at a Walmart or another store, waiting for the best deals on a new flat screen TV.  A pumpkin next to a cornucopia of fall vegetables and flowers

Thanksgiving is probably the most important American holiday. It is only celebrated by us Americans, which gives it a reason to be special for every American. It celebrates our history by telling a story of how the Pilgrims and Indians met, and became friends back in the 1600s. This was the first moment of togetherness in America between different cultures, and it should very well be celebrated by every family. Thanksgiving shows who Americans are, people who will become friends with one another even if we are very different. There are also many great things you can look forward to on Thanksgiving. The main thing that people look forward to is of course, the feast. Who doesn’t love stuffing delicious food into your mouth with all your family? Also, for those sports fans, you can look forward to 3 different Thanksgiving Day football games which is very entertaining. In the mornings, people can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade which is fun for the entire family. You can also have fun with your family as well by playing various games and activities. And for those still in school, you get at least 2 days off school for it, which pretty much everyone is happy with. 

I get why people get excited for Christmas though. The feeling it gives everyone is something that no other holiday can compare to. But completely skipping over Thanksgiving is just ridiculous. Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday that only Americans celebrate, which makes it very special to all Americans. Families get together and have great times socializing with each other. Also, who does not like a nice big feast. Everything about Thanksgiving is special and it should not be pushed away by a great deal on a new flat screen television on Black Friday.


Image credit: https://thejigsawpuzzles.com/img-puzzle-6466994-1024/Thanksgiving-Season 

 Is it true that reality television has an impact on our society today? Some argue that there is no effect on people's behavior while others believe reality television shows a bad influence. There is no right or wrong answer because it is all about how you interpret the show you have watched, but is reality tv so much of reality?  

According to Brad Gorham of Syracuse University, “People are easily influenced by reality television because they eventually the behaviors portrayed on television shows and use them in real life.” Gorham argued that reality television, he believes, has an affect on society and a big one.  Philip Ross of International Science Times also believes reality TV affects our society. For example, Ross states “Reality television has a detrimental impact on our perceptions of the world.” This can be proven since a study at the University of Wisconsin, which included 145 students, showed that the argumentative and conniving acts shown on these television shows is portrayed as being normal in everyday life. Another study done by Jamie Riccio a student at Syracuse University also concluded that, “Reality TV causes problematic behaviors in people, especially towards the younger generation.” This shows that many studies and lots of research has in fact proven reality TV can be a bad influence on other people's behaviors and mindsets. Some say that this reality TV is confusing people with what is real and what is not real. In 2000 there was a study shown that 70% of the population from ages 4-65 have stated that they do end up watching reality TV at some point in their day.  

Two of the major aspects that seem to be affected the most with reality TV are the change of self – esteem and the lack of focus on important things in life. For example, a study the the Girls Scouts Research Institute showed that reality TV effects the way teen girls value  themselves and how they act in real life situations. This may impact the way they think of themselves and holding them up to standards of how their physical appearance is “supposed” to be and also what to do in real life problems since all reality TV shows have some sort of drama involved. Another way these reality TV shows can be affecting not only tern girls but teens in general is by the fame and attention this actors get. Dr. Adair a clinical physiologist and school consultant states, “Reality TV plays into a huge shift in our culture where kids say what matters most is fame.” This proves that teens are not caring about genuine things such as school and hanging out with friends such as kids earlier on did. Unlike children from before reality TV became such a big piece in our society today children today are too busy and caught up with focusing and  trying on how to act like these standards hold them accountable for. Society should be focused on more important things instead of making others feel like they have to act a certain way to fit in or to feel comfortable with themselves because this is making society change drastically. So next time you are watching what is called reality TV think about if it is actually reality



*Editor's Note--The following websites were researched for this story:




Sixty years ago, a new music sensation started sweeping the country. Rock music, a new genre, started to take over the music industry. Artists like The Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors started taking over the charts. Rock bands started selling out shows. The legendary Woodstock music festival began, bringing crowds of over 500,000 people to a dairy farm in New York to see some of the biggest bands in the world. In the 1970s, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Deep Purple, and KISS dominated the music industry. As time went on, the standard rock genre started to split into multiple sub-genres. Those included heavy metal, grunge, alt rock, and glam rock (aka hair metal). Bands like Metallica, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Guns and Roses all were successful bands from those subgenres. But once the 2000s hit, new styles of music started to become more popular. Pop and rap music started to take the charts from rock. Now, in 2019, rock music isn’t anything like it used to be. Much fewer young people are into rock. It might seem like rock music is dead, but it isn’t. 

When I was 7, I was first introduced to the genre though my dad. When he was in college, he was a big grunge fan. In the car, he had this Pearl Jam playlist that would be played every time we were in the car. As I got older, I realized that I liked the music. When I was old Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performsenough to finally get a phone and a Chromebook around 7th grade, I started to listen more and more to Pearl Jam. I also started to discover other bands that I liked, Including Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Soundgarden, Metallica, and many others. That music shaped who I am and how I feel about many things, including how I feel about the genres that overtook rock.  

Today’s dominant genres are pop and rap. Rap music, in my opinion, is barely considered music. Now, in 2019, the background music is all computer generated. All the artist does is perform the song to the pre-recorded music, and the producer does everything else from there. If anything, the producer should get more credit than the artist. The producer has to make the electronic background, add any needed autotuning or effects to the singer's voice, all while making the song hook to whoever is listening to the song. Pop music is so repetitive it’s almost sad. Most pop songs are done by playing simple chord progressions. There is also very little variation in a pop album, while rock bands would have multiple genres fit into their albums. There are also artists who either use autotune when recording their songs, or during their concerts they lip sync. Multiple major artists including Ariana Grande and Beyoncé have been caught lip syncing during a concert. Newer music today is ruining the musical culture set up by rock bands 30 years ago. 

A wide shot of a sold out Slipknot showThe main point of this article was to prove that rock isn’t dead. I’m going to just let these numbers speak for themselves. This year, a popular heavy metal band named Slipknot went on tour. Their tour started in Europe and later moved on to the United States. In every show, so far, Slipknot drew at least 15,000 people. If that’s not enough, both Slipknot and Tool, another metal band, both had albums at number 1 on the Billboard Charts. To make an even better point, the new Tool album beat out the extremely popular Taylor Swift's new album. If rock was dead, rock bands wouldn’t be pulling 15,000+ every night at their concerts and reaching number 1 on the charts. Also, more and more movies are starting to come out about artists, including Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and many others. Those movies have introduced many new fans to the genre of rock music.  

In conclusion, rock music is not dead and won’t die anytime soon. There is still a ton of diehard rock and metal fans out there, and it will most likely continue for many years to come. Now, I’m not saying rock is the dominate music genre, but it is still relevant. It doesn’t dominate the charts like it used to, but every once and a while rock music does get to number 1. As Brian Johnson of AC/DC said, “Rock n’ Roll will never die!”  



Social Media is the newest way that people communicate and spend their daily lives. In schools, students are often on social media and use it every day in the classroom and outside. Teachers even use it for learning purposes and use it as a way for students to communicate. Social media can be used positively to share opinions and ideas, but sometimes these get out of hand and can end up hurting people. Social media has negative effects and positive effects in places including school and sometimes can end up being too much.   

Social media is affecting society also by creating an atmosphere where people are judged and controlled. Everyday people look through social media and its does in fact affect everyone’s lives. It determines who people want to be, what they do, how they react with certain opinions, and more. Although social media has its benefits like communication and becoming more social, there are negatives. Some of these include the derogatory comments, the bullying, and the way it is shaping society for the worst. People are either steered towards or away from the social networking social media has formed. 

Some benefits of social media include growing a company's business, growing social life, and more communication with each other. Social networking can form communities and create bonds that could not be formed otherwise. Many teachers and students find the use inspiring and helpful in their everyday lives. At the Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication, it has been found that 96% of students that have Internet access are using at least one social network. Some are even using social media for their own personal reasons. This included to spread the word on certain events or activities they are working on or companies that are starting. Social media also gives people the ability to say their opinions and what they are feeling at any time which in some cases could lead to harmful events but can also be very helpful and teaching. In schools, social media is also used to spread the word on school news and events coming up that are important. Social Media is also becoming the main source of communication due to the new fast paced way of living. 

Social media is also however getting some hate due to many believing it is causing people to become antisocial and become drifted away from one another. This includes teachers that have even complained about social media causing students to be distant with one another. Cory McAbee teaches 11th grade English in Rutherford County, North Caroline and states that “social media has crippled my students when it comes to interacting with one another in person. Their very ability to communicate is deteriorating.” She is just one example of the number of teachers who believe social media is harmful to the students. People are becoming less social now that they use social media and they don’t do many activities that were done before.  

Social media has impacted many lives in a negative way and a positive way. This includes the ability to grow a business, more communication through technology, and to spread the word on certain news. Some negative factors include the fact that people are becoming less social, real life communication skills are lessening, and people are spreading harmful rumors. Although there are negatives and positive, social media is changing how people spend their everyday lives. This is the future and people are either scared or looking forward to seeing what social media can do.  






Editor's note

Statistics and quotes were sourced from the following websites: