Friday, April 14, 2006

Future VH-1 commentators

Like we need more of those. Stanley Roper said it best in a recent post about the showbiz bottom feeders who make a living commenting on their more successful contemporaries:

Who are these television commentators who discuss "101 Celebrity Oops" and, say, the year 1996? How are they able to judge anything a celebrity does, while they are apparently in the same game, but not doing so well. The world appears too full of comedians. Is comedy becoming like dentistry, a flooded market?

Atlanta is currently playing host to the annual convention of the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association, a collection of about 2,000 "academics" studying the truly insignificant.
"In the culture, there's such a swarm of information running over us every day, and you have to pick and choose what to pay attention to. And you have to do that at this conference," said Rhonda Wilcox of Gordon College, who's presenting a paper on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

You think the Chinese are wasting their time dissecting cult television shows?

As you'd expect, sci-fi geeks dominate the conference.

One of the suddenly popular topics this year is the TV series "Battlestar Galactica," which Georgia State University's Daniel Vollaro called a "richly plotted, socially conscious science-fiction TV series with textured narratives and interesting characters." It is that, but it's also, as Shawn Krause-Loner from Syracuse University acknowledged, "a soap opera about people being chased through space by bloodthirsty robots."

Among the curriculum topics:

*"Guts and Glory on the Felt: Poker's Popularity and the Crisis of Masculinity"

*"Achtung Bono: New Celebrity Activist or Same Old Song and Dance?"

"Dames, Babes, Battle-axes and Tomatoes: Women and the Three Stooges"

*"Here be Ronsters: Gender Trouble in the 'Scooby-Doo' Movies"

I wonder: is the "Scooby-Doo" scholar proud of his/her work?

1 comment:

  1. While I can't bring myself to take this stuff seriously, I must confess that I enjoy it. Academic theorizing is a strange and self-important enterprise, and I think part of why it tends to fly off into la-la land is that there simply aren't enough truly good ideas in the world to satisfy everybody's need for tenure. Adherents of various schools of analysis organize themselves and campaign for the value of their particular approach, and given that scholars are rarely called to account for their ideas in relation to what the rest of us consider "the real world," it's ultimately less important that their ideas are "right" in any meaningful sense and more important that other academics find them interesting or, in this case, fun. I for one applaud any intellectual movement that strives to make a scholarly virtue of bad puns.