Tag Archives: popular culture

Their music is timeless

Here’s a quickie quiz for you: How many popular music acts can you name where children generations removed from their time in the spotlight can remember every lyric to every song they seemingly ever recorded?

Time’s up. I can think of one: The Beatles.

OK. Maybe there are others.

Still, it makes today such a special day in popular culture history. Sixty years ago this evening, TV variety show host Ed Sullivan introduced John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to America: Here are … The Beatles!

I was among the millions of youngsters who watched ’em that night in our living room.

I’ve been singing their songs ever since. So have my sons and maybe one day so will my granddaughter.

In ‘tat world,’ what is with those drawings you can’t read?

Popular culture is an ever-changing world that occasionally boggles the minds of old folks, such as me.

One element of contemporary culture involves the stunning proliferation of tattoos. Yep, damn near everyone seems to have ’em.  I want to discuss briefly an element of “tat world” that baffles me in the extreme.

We attended a Fourth of July party the other evening at Lake Bob Sandlin, a beautiful area about 90 miles east of us in East Texas. There was plenty of food, fun, fellowship — and fireworks.

I also saw my share of tats. Young folks were inked up. Some not-so-young folks were, too. One woman had a tat that caught my attention, and it brings me to the question of the day: Why put something on your body that contains text that you cannot read?

She had inked up the calves of both legs. One of the designs contained some sort of written message. I wanted to read what the message was on her leg, except that I had this problem that got in the way: She is a total stranger; I don’t know her from the woman in the moon. I couldn’t possibly feel comfortable asking this individual, “Pardon me, but what does the message say on the back of your right leg? May I stoop down to read it, or will you just tell me what it says?”

Look, I don’t begrudge those who ink up their bodies with tattoos. That’s their call. To each his/her own … that’s one of my mottos of everyday life.

I made a solemn vow to my late father back in 1968 while I was preparing to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Dad implored me, he begged me, to please do not get a tattoo. He wore a tat on one of his arms that he acquired in the Navy during World War II. As I recall his story, he was on liberty in Tunisia and decided to get a tattoo after consuming too many adult beverages one evening.

He regretted it every day of his life. Dad didn’t want me to scar my body. So I agreed then and I will keep that promise to him for as long as I live.

However, were I to get one I would want it to be recognizable from a distance so that I could avoid questions from perfect strangers.

Ahh, that element of pop culture will just have to evolve without me.

Popular culture overwhelms public policy


A friend and I were visiting at Amarillo College earlier this week.

I was there to talk to a journalism class about trends in modern journalism and politics. My friend broached the subject of Donald J. Trump’s astounding success in the Republican Party presidential primary.

He calls himself a “conservative,” and then offered this piece of wisdom: It is that we are now witnessing a campaign in which popular culture is determining which candidate might become the nominee of a major political party.

It’s celebrity worship, my friend said. Voters have become smitten with the idea that a pop culture icon actually can become president, he said.

Does this explain the allure that Trump has cast over a Republican primary electorate? I believe my pal is onto something.

Other friends of mine who actually support Trump keep harping on his willingness to “tell it like it is.” They are swept away by his tossing aside what they call “political correctness.” They just love how he is able to say what he wants, when he wants and to whom he wants.

Is this what where we’ve arrived? Are some Americans actually willing to throw their support behind a candidate who demonstrates zero understanding of how government actually works? They’re willing to line up behind someone who believes insulting his opponents passes for legitimate political debate? They are actually going to vote for an individual who sounds very much like someone who believes he is bigger and more important than the office he seeks to occupy?

Popular culture has its place. I grew up during a turbulent time in this country where we all witnessed massive changes in the country’s popular culture. Remember when dead-pan comedian Pat Paulson ran for president — as a joke?

Well, these days we have a bombastic carnival barker seeking to become the head of state of the greatest nation in world history. Forget the crap about how he wants to “make America great again.” We’re still the greatest nation on Earth and his assertion we are not denigrates all the public servants — military and civilian — who pledge to defend us.

Several of the candidates for president keep saying how frightened they have become since Barack Obama became president more than seven years ago.

They’ve persuaded many Americans to join them in that fear.

Other Americans — such as myself — worry what might happen if this election produces the worst result possible.

That would be the election of Donald J. Trump.

I will maintain my hope that reason and rational thinking will overtake this infatuation with popular culture.


Odom saga … amazing in the extreme


Allow me this brief comment on the saga of Lamar Odom.

He’s married — in a fashion — to Khloe Kardashian, yes, one of those Kardashians.

He once played pro basketball. He was quite good at it. He made millions of dollars. He married the young reality TV “star.” Got his face plastered on tabloids all over the country. He was a fixture on that E! network TV show featuring his in-laws.

Then the marriage hit the skids. He and his wife split up, sort of. Then he goes on his way.

Odom this past week was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel. I presume he went there to pay for a good time with one — or more — of the hookers. He took some illegal drugs and passed out.

The reaction from his still-wife? She’s at his bedside, telling the media how much she supports him.

Maybe there’s something I don’t get. If I had done that while married to my wife … hmmm. Let me think. She’d wait for my recovery — probably from some distance — and then file divorce papers on my sorry behind.

There’s something really and truly amiss with today’s popular culture.

Don’t misunderstand me. I want Odom to recover. I just don’t get the family reaction to what this guy was caught doing.

Your thoughts?