So long, thanks for all the hits

Like everyone else, I have a love-hate relationship with pop culture. There are always good and bad things in every generation of pop culture, but people love to talk about how everything sucks now. When people go full-on nostalgia mode, they only remember the good parts of old pop culture, and so obviously today’s trends can’t compare. So for my last column, I’d like to talk about some of the best things in pop culture today.


When people talk about how terrible music is today, they&rsquo;re almost exclusively talking about pop music. Now, if you like pop music (and a lot of you probably do, which is why it&rsquo;s called &ldquo;pop music&rdquo;), don&rsquo;t feel bad &mdash; it can still be pretty catchy. Hell, &ldquo;Blurred Lines&rdquo; was playing in my head entirely too often last year.

But there&rsquo;s a lot more to 21st century music than pop. The greatest thing about music in this day and age is that it&rsquo;s easier than ever to gain access to sources of music that are specific to your tastes. There&rsquo;s something to accommodate whatever weird music you&rsquo;re into, whether it&rsquo;s listening to your favourite obscure band&rsquo;s Youtube videos or using music apps to find new music that you like. Even 10 years ago, if I heard a song playing on the radio but the DJ didn&rsquo;t mention the name, I was out of luck. Today any time I hear a song I don&rsquo;t recognize, I just use Shazam to find out almost instantaneously. Score one for modern pop culture.

<strong>Video games</strong>

Back in the day, my Super Nintendo could, with great difficulty and no small amount of blowing, run a couple of crappy-looking games. These days, my 3DS can have a dozen SNES games on it, and it can run pretty sweet graphics for current-gen games ... in 3-D. Gaming has come a long way.

People have a few common complaints about modern games. A lot of people say that games aren&rsquo;t as hard as they used to be, which is true, but I don&rsquo;t really mind being able to actually complete my games. Because games are made with less difficulty and higher rates these days, some people say video games are made with less love than they used to be, but I don&rsquo;t know about that. As video game technology has improved, fans have come to expect more from their games &mdash; cutscenes, voice acting, innovative gameplay, compelling stories, stuff that you wouldn&rsquo;t find in old-school games. The amount of effort that goes into games today is significant, and it&rsquo;s something that probably doesn&rsquo;t get enough recognition.


As far as TV goes, you&rsquo;d really have to be trying to complain about the state of TV dramas. TV shows like <em>Breaking Bad</em>, <em>Game of Thrones</em>, <em>True Detective</em>, <em>House of Cards</em>, and the mountains of other incredible TV shows, are just overwhelming in terms of quality and quantity. TV shows on FX, AMC and HBO in particular are getting a lot of love, and for good reason &mdash; their shows are freaking awesome. Online TV services have become pretty big too, with Hulu and Netflix being major names, and, along with making it easier than ever to binge-watch, Netflix has changed TV by giving viewers exclusively online shows to watch, like <em>Orange is the New Black</em>, or the delightful Season 4 of <em>Arrested Development.</em>

A lot of people complain that kid&rsquo;s shows aren&rsquo;t as good as they used to be, but A) some of the cartoons we watched when we were younger are garbage, on account of kids having very low standards; and B) there are some fantastic kid&rsquo;s shows on air right now. <em>Adventure Time</em> is easily my favourite cartoon of all time, although shows like <em>Regular Show</em> and <em>Phineas &amp; Ferb</em> are also hilarious. Also it&rsquo;s not exactly for kids, but <em>Rick &amp; Morty</em> is a pretty new cartoon on Adult Swim and it&rsquo;s easily one of the funniest shows I&rsquo;ve ever seen.


I won&rsquo;t lie, there are some problems with movies today. A lot of the big movies are sequels, because that&rsquo;s what sells, and there are lots of repetitive or derivative movies out there. Still, I don&rsquo;t think you can say that there aren&rsquo;t any good movies that come out. I&rsquo;ve already talked about how so many comic book movies are getting made today, which is awesome, but even if those aren&rsquo;t your cup of tea, there&rsquo;s no shortage of great films.

To list a few that have come out in the last year, you have <em>Her, Twelve Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Wolf of Wall Street, </em>and<em> American Hustle</em>. As far as family movies go, we obviously have <em>Frozen,</em> which can charm all but the most cold-hearted people, and my personal favourite <em>The LEGO Movie</em>, which made me feel things I haven&rsquo;t before or since.

So to wrap things up, there&rsquo;s a lot to love about pop culture, and really, in a world where it&rsquo;s cool to hate popular things, they could probably use a little bit more love.

Writing this column for the last eight months has been a writing nerd&rsquo;s wet dream, so thanks to everyone who&rsquo;s put up with my crap and read my columns. I hope that some of you have learned something, or at least had a laugh or two during the duration, because otherwise I&rsquo;ve wasted my time.

JK I love you kthxbai.


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