Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:02 PM
Honestly, I don't like them. I don't like it if a book mentions the name of a band, a movie, a show, a brand name anything, or even another book. In books I've read where there are multiple references, I feel like it dates the book or is going to date the book. Take for example the Princess Diaries Series. Good books, but there was a lot of popculture references and as I read them I feel like it really dates the book. And I've read books from the 70's that I didn't even realize were from the 70's until I looked at the copyright date because they didn't use a bunch of popculture references that tell you how old the book is.
In my writing I don't use any.
I was just wondering what anyone else thought.
Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:21 PM
Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:09 AM
Posted 29 September 2009 - 09:29 AM
Posted 04 October 2009 - 04:57 AM
Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:35 AM
Personally, like it has been said, I think it adds a more realistic tone to the book. Teenage girls talk a lot about popculture. And it doesn't really matter to me that it "dates" a book. Every single book has something that dates them in a way, and that's not going to make me like them less. It's even kind of funny when I reread the Princess Diaries book and come across a really outdated popculture event. It makes me laugh every time
Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:37 AM
Posted 04 October 2009 - 09:07 AM
I know what you mean. They don't really annoy me, but I see what you mean about making the book dated. And you're completely right, it does. At the same time, most people our writing for their generation and probably don't expect to make a classic out of a YA book. xD
I try to avoid putting them in my writing. I might put something a little looser, like a band without a song name. Saying something like "a Britney Spears song" gives away a time period, but it's a lot more open than saying "sang along to Toxic by Britney Spears on the radio". Britney Spears has been around for years and she still has music coming out, so while it does give you an idea of the period, so do mentioning computers and cell phones.
I think it really depends on the author and what they want to do. I don't mind them, but I try to avoid putting them into my work.
Posted 04 October 2009 - 12:58 PM
...Eeh. It really depends on the kind of book you're reading. For example, in the book The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (oh god, if you haven't read that, you mustmustmust) there are multiple pop culture references. To things such as songs (mainly by The Smiths) and to books, like To Kill A Mockingbird. They fit, because the book is written in the perspective of a fiteen year-old boy. But then again, references used to describe characters themselves (for example "she looked just like Greta Salpeter, only she had black hair!") are really annoying to me. >.<
Posted 04 October 2009 - 01:01 PM
<3 Mrs. Merrick
Posted 04 October 2009 - 01:18 PM
Okay, I sound like a weirdo. I shall go now.
Posted 04 October 2009 - 07:58 PM
Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:08 AM
Posted 15 May 2010 - 03:34 AM
Posted 14 July 2010 - 03:30 AM
Pop-Culture items in Literature
All of my favorite writers are doing it. Ms Cabot is doing it. I sometimes do it. But should we? For example:
"This morning my husband texted my palm trio to make sure I wasn't going to sleep all day. I microwaved a cup of starbucks, poured in store-brand, not-organic, half and half into it and took the cup and set it down next to my mac. I turned itunes to catpower's moonpix and checked my various emails, as an adjunct, every school gives me a different address, then facebook. And on facebook I started looking for the writer who has become my number one guilty pleasure --more than bummed camel crushes --more than Giradelie dark chocolate --more than $30 concealer from Sephora and I started to wonder if I should consider this writer a guilty pleasure."
Could this paragraph, if it had a time machine, go back 20 years and be understood by anybody? If it ventured 100 years into the future would anyone remember what facebook or any of the above mentioned brands were? Right now though all these brands, all these pop-culture items, dress up the narrator like a barbie doll.
palm trio: smart phone but not top of the line: middle class
Starbucks: liberal elitist
mentioning cheap half and half in great detail: aspires to someday buy all organic food stuffs, also not vegan
mac/itunes: independent from the dominate establishment
catpower's moonpix: college was a longtime ago and it included weed
adjunct: not yet established in her field
bummed menthol cigarettes: at odds with her own health consciousness, possibly from a black urban setting
giradelie dark chocolate: serious, sensuous, doesn't ef around with her pleasure
$30 concealer: possibly less than middle class if she is choosing between make-up and books and calulating the cost of each.
So there. A character based on her popular culture brands. But is it popular culture branding that keeps Meg Cabot a chic-lit writer instead of a Pulitzer-prize winning one? Sure she is much better paid than those academic achievers, but will she be remembered like they might be? _An American Childhood_ by Annie Dillard or _All American Girl_, which is more likely to show up on a reading list 50 years from now? And is it only Pop-culture brands that separate them?
Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:57 PM
A story really ought to be about feelings, people, etc. Not useless crap and references that add nothing, and I mean nothing, to the story. Certainly, however, this is all very subjective. There are different types of writing and all should be pursued. But speaking personally, pop culture references add absolutely nothing to the story and if I may say so, at some level it feels like it 'cheapens' the story.
Pop culture is added into a story regardless. It's something we can't help. "She took the train and rode all night." Maybe 200 years from now people will go like, "Oh yeah. They had trains back then. Now we have... flying cars." You know what I mean? It's broad, it gives a feel, it is what it is. That's good. That's preserving a time period. We can't escape it. But adding crap about facebook and... like, brands and itty bitty tiny details is ridiculous.
But to each his own.
Posted 16 July 2010 - 03:44 PM
We were supposed to having flying cars by now. This is such a rip off.
Posted 16 July 2010 - 11:16 PM
Posted 17 July 2010 - 12:09 AM
I don't want to sound like a *%^## but who do you think Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot will be remembered like Virginia Wolf, Mark Twain, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, etc?
I mean this is a very very minor thing. I'm sure there are great novels with teeny tiny details. But few classics actually do. Why? Because they're irrelevant and add nothing to the story.
But I don't know. I sound really pretentious. I should not be giving advice on writing. There are no rules to it and I should shut the *#&$%% up, really. It's all a creative process which no one really should have a say in it but you. So at the end of the day, please disregard all that I'm saying, because it's you and your writing. I have nothing to do with it.
It all depends on the kind of writer you want to be and writing style that you choose for a particular book. There's no right or wrong.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 12:42 AM
I also think that most authors these days don't worry about becoming classics. It's become an entertainment business, and less of a "I'm high and mighty, look how educated and witty I am" business. Writing used to be completely male dominated because they were the only ones allowed to get the education required for it. The women who are considered classics are considered so because there weren't all that many women writers around at the time. For all we know, there could very well be references to things going on at the time (well, except for the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen who are known for living under a rock in the first place). But how would we know, since we didn't live back then?
Popculture in a book can still allow it to be a classic, just with added nostalgia. I'm also not writing the next Great American Novel, so I don't particularly care. I'm here to entertain, and if I can make one girl who's trying to get away from the screaming voices of her parents escape into my books, and then laugh when I make a popculture reference, well. That's a classic to me.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 12:45 AM
Posted 17 July 2010 - 01:09 AM
So yes. I think I'm done now. Finally, lol.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 01:17 AM
Posted 17 July 2010 - 10:40 AM
I read a book a long time ago (sixth grade I think) that was supposed to take place in the future. It was written in, like, the sixties, and it was hilarious how it dated every event that happened. "In 1994 they discovered a way to inhabit Mars. In 2002 they started shipping people to Mars as extra living space. This book is taking place in 2015".
I know that has nothing to do with popculture, I'm just saying hat if you're looking for something that really dates a book, go for years.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 01:12 PM
Are Meg Cabot's books not taken as serious works of literature because?
A. She's a women
B. She uses too any pop culture items
C. She only aspires to be a chic-lit writer
D. the whole deep thoughts vs delight ratio thing.
E. Something else entirely
Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:13 PM
Posted 22 July 2010 - 11:10 AM
Posted 03 October 2010 - 05:25 PM
Posted 29 August 2011 - 04:49 PM
Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:26 PM
Posted 03 July 2013 - 08:07 PM
Oh, I LOVE pop culture references! I use them a lot, mainly because that IS my character. She's obsessed with music - LIKE ME! I write for myself. I don't TRY to write for other people, nor am I trying to write a "timeless classic." I'm just writing to write, and that may involve pop culture references! =D
Past Me, I have some issues with this. I understand you used to write in a completely different genre and it was 100% fluff, but you must know that pop culture references are not going to make your writing all the much more personal. You do not love them. Believe me. In two years you will see that you will avoid them as much as possible. Just wait...
Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:59 PM
If you consider some classic books and mention to different social events they will be attending, the dances that they would preform etc its all a cultural reference for that time period.
Now however those scocial events have been replaced with prom, the music has diversified.
If you consider Anne Rices Interview With A Vampire. The journalist used a tape recorder. That piece of technology is out dated now as are the cars etc mentioned in the book. That in itself can address a book more than a pop culture reference.
As well as those writing a vampire novel, the moment you definitively say that he's/she's 113 born in the 1900's you have just dated the book. Take the original Transformers cartoon movie, the opening line is "in the year 2005" (yes incredibly sad that I watch these things and I won't even pretend to use my son as an excuse I genuinely watch them) that film is very out dated but still enjoyable to watch.
Pop culture references are harmless in moderation, however books that are loaded with them I absolutely won't read.
A reference to a band or a film has no impact to a book for me. A paragraph long description to why the character finds , Ryan Reynolds, attractive however will put me off.
So I guess it's like chocolate really, a little is good but eat too much and you don't feel right.
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