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April 16, 2007 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-16

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8C - Monday, April 16, 2007



The Michigan Daily - michigandailvncom


Consume, ye.
How pop culture has defined
your time at the University
By Paul Tassi and Jeffrey Bloomer ( Daily Arts Writers

Selected pop-culture
"The Da Vinci Code"
Dan Brown's middling novel
appears on the scene and instan-
teously rivalsthe "Harry Potter"
series on The New York Times
Best-Sellers List. Brown's still
-middling book is now the lith


ou may not have noticed,
you may not even remem-
ber half of it, but pop cul-
ture has dominated your
time at the University. Things have
changed - now we have Netflix
accounts and TiVo hard drives,
iTunes playlists and Nintendo Wiis
- but the Internet has made reality
the dream of every Hollywood con-
glomerate and multi-media ad agen-
cy. If Paris Hilton has a new line of
clothing, it's a banner above Gawker
and on every morning talk show by
the end of the week. The message is
simple: Consume. Now.
What no one tells you is that
being a consumer of entertainment,
especially at our
age, is actually alot
of fun. Pop culture
is everyone's vice.
Whether you're
among the "Fight
Club" faithful or
stick your nose up.
at anything that's
not pre-2000
Radiohead, every-
one has a thing,
and everyone takes
part. We at Daily
Arts have spent
the past four years
telling you what it
all means. We've
done all we can do.
Now all we can to
do is reminiscence,
and if ever, this is
the time.
Four years is a long time, and
our average collective memory only
covers about half of that. Yes, we all
remember the "Crash" and "Broke-
back Mountain" controversy that
surrounded the 2005 Oscars, but
what were the movies that really
mattered to the lay college student?
The "Donnie Darko" and "Garden
State" cure-alls deserve a mention
here, but the Frat Pack probably has
it. Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince
Vaughn and the Wilson brothers
are the principle members of this
jocular boys' club, and the past

four years have brought us such
self-anointed new classics as "Old
School," "Anchorman," "Dodgeball"
and "Wedding Crashers." Though
theynow appear to be adoptingnew
members - Macvs.PC'sJustinLong
and Jon "Napoleon" Heder most
recently - it was this core group
that created the most memorable
comedies of your collegiate years.
The rest of the popular film
industry can be summed up in two
words: pirates and superheroes.
Johnny Depp alone deserves credit
for making pirates cool again star-
ring as Captain Jack Sparrow in the
"Caribbean" films, which began in
2003 and, if there is any mercy in
this world, will
producers scored
so handily with
the first film that
they didn't even
see fit to end the
second, and no
one seemed to
And oh, the
Inspired by the
success of "Spi-
der-Man" and
"X-Men," a tor-
crusaders flood-
ed the screens,
which included
some scarce
gems ("Bat-
man Begins," "Spider-Man 2"), a
few mediocre movies ("Superman
Returns," "The Punisher," "X2")
and absolutely too many awful ones
("Daredevil," "X3," "Catwoman,"
"Elektra" and dear God, "Ghost
Rider"). With the film industry
nearly out of titles to adapt, even
"Iron Man" is currently filming.
The music scene is somewhat
more difficult to penetrate, if only
because it has more insistent sub-
cultures. Most visibly, mainstream
rappers like 50 Cent, The Game,
Juelz Santana and Sean Paul con-

Courtesy of
Sony anne
tainment Tonight
Will Ferrell in
'Old School,
50 Cent drop-
ping rhymes
and Paris Hil-
ton being Paris
guarantee someday you'll look
back and reminisce. Seniors, bon
voyage, and don't forget to deac-
tivate your Facebook accounts on
the way out. You no longer live in
a world where the most important
book is "The Da Vinci Code" (No. 2?
"The Bible") and DMB can explain
the mysteries of the world. It's time
for real life.


tinued to infuse massive bass with
rhymes like "chedda" and "Beret-
ta" to the delight of frat partygo-
ers everywhere, not to mention the
freak dancing inspired by a newly
solo Justin Timberlake bringing
sexy back, among other things. The
best rapper you've heard of, TI.,
released the chart-topping King
while the best rapper you might not
know, J Dilla, released his phenom-
enal Donuts just three days before
his early death.
Elsewhere indie bands like Death
Cab rocketed to popularity, many
helped along by "The OC." which
routinely featured unknown art-
ists (including our own Tally Hall)
on the show and propelled them to
fame. If Death Cab became too pop-
ular for your liking, there's always
Sufjan Steven's Greetings from
Michigan and Illinois, which are far
superior in all aspects melodic.
Surprisingly, with the aid of TV
on DVD and TiVo, television has
become nearly as popular a college
medium as film and music. The birth
ofnew touchstones like "Entourage"
and "The Office" were in contrast to
the very public deaths of old favor-
ites like "Friends" and "Will and
Grace," effectivelysignalingthe end
of the laugh-track sitcomera.And of
course there was the nearly simulta-
neous rise and fall of "Family Guy"
and "Arrested Development." One
made us laugh with insanely idi-
otic humor while the other included
some of the smartest comedy ever
written. Can you guess which one
Fox brought back from the dead?

Rupert Murdoch is going to hell.
Speaking of hell, our generation
continued to do its part in fulfill-
ing the prophecy that we'd all grow,
up to be serial killers. We played
"Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas"
for hours at a time, taking breaks
only to log onto Xbox Live for some
"Halo 2." We won't even go into
"World of Warcraft," whereby mil-
lions of users log on to fight, trade
and quest with each other, often
while ignoring those petty annoy-
ances of everyday life like eating,
sleeping and maintaining personal
All of these mediums were held
together by our culture of the celeb-
rity. We love this shit. Here's where
it gets hard even to remem-
ber everything that went
down: Janet Jackson's
nipple flaunting, Tom
Cruise's couch jump-
ing, Britney Spears's
husband's mooch-
ing, Brad Pitt's '
wife dumping,
Angelina's child
collecting, Paris
Hilton's tape
leaking. We
could only
watch in awe,
and how we -
enjoyed it.
The memo- F
ries might not be
old enough yet to
inspire nostalgia like
Nickelodeon shows and
*NSYNC songs, but we

"Arrested Development"
The epically dysfunctional
Bluth family debuts in a blaze of
chocolate-covered bananas and
"The Final Countdown," and
TV comedy would never be the
same. Too bad FOX prematurely
canceled the show three seasons
later. "AD's" coltish fans still
The rise of Paris Hilton
The first episode of "The Sim-
ple Life" airs, thus signaling the
beginning of Paris Hilton's inex-
plicable popularity and a trou-
bling devolution of social values.
Britney gets hitched
No one saw the teen-pop idol
making a fool of herself in her
drunken Las Vegas wedding to
a childhood friend. Luckily, we
caught glimpses of her second
wedding just six months later,
this time to E-fed. That was a
serious step up. -
Zach Braff scores big in his
New Jersey-centric directorial
debut, and99.9percentofcollege
students proceed toown it. Even
when Natalie Portman wgs igs
we all loved her.



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