‘Thoughts on Pop’ lecture series continues

Kaely Holloway

“Thoughts on Pop,” a biannual lecture colloquium series on pop culture topics, held their second event of the year Tuesday afternoon.

Elizabeth Alsop, English professor, and Sam Ford, director of Digital Strategy for Peppercomm and part-time faculty member, spoke on their opinions of certain aspects of pop culture.


Alsop opened the lecture with her topic, which focused on teachers, and how they are depicted in a bad light in pop culture many times. This was based off an essay she wrote on the same topic for The New York Times Magazine.

The emphasis of her essay focused on her growing suspicion that the current media was suddenly putting more bad teachers on air. She built her theory from arduous research and, according to her, watching lots of television.

In her presentation, she brought up the examples of Walter White, from AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” Ray Drecker, from HBO’s “Hung” and Kenny Powers, of HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.”

“Wonderful as these shows may be, and I should emphasize that I’m a huge fan of several of them, I think there’s something a little disturbing about this trend,” she said.

Alsop went on to say that the Hollywood version of teaching depicts it as something that can be triumphant, like the movies “Freedom Writers” and “Dead Poet’s Society.” She also defends that in some cases, however, the title of teacher is given to characters more down on their luck and in need of a fallback position.

She closed her discussion with a question and answer session and opened the floor to Ford, who’s presentation dealt with creating value and meaning in a networked media culture.

During graduate school, Ford started a research project with a group of colleagues that dealt with how the marketing business and similar businesses were dealing with relating to the audience, and how the audience was dealing with new pop culture content.

“We started that research presuming that the most marked change in the pop culture landscape was the ability we all had to be publishers,” he said “As we got more into our research, we discovered that not everybody wants to be a publisher. There was still a small percentage of people actually producing the content and most of us were just passive recipients of that.”

Frankfort sophomore Angela Conway attended this lecture for a class requirement, but was also interested in the topics discussed and had attended other lectures in the “Thoughts on Pop” series.

“It addressed a couple of more subtle issues that end up making large impacts,” Conway said. “It’s crazy to see what spawns from something so minute.”