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Pop Culture References

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. ARD

    ARD Member

    Even worse, adding that didn't explain the reference. The reference is Oliver Stone+conspiracy, not just Oliver Stone.
  2. Ensign Pulver

    Ensign Pulver Member

    I have a problem with the desk being the arbitrary gatekeeper. I've been hosed many times by copy editors who figure, if I don't get it, nobody gets it. Not everybody has to get it. If a reader can either a) infer the meaning, or b) skate through it without being confounded to the point of annoyance, there is no problem. It's worth taking the chance to give a story some legs. If you never take a chance, what do you have? A memo written by Sgt. Joe Friday? (Oops, pop culture reference. Sorry.) I, for one, am tired of having the life lyposuctioned out of my copy. (Oops, pop culture reference. Sorry.)
  3. How about referring to Goolgle Earth?

    Like if a player came in, excited after learning to find his house in Cuba on Google Earth and you wanted to write about that... would print readers understand the reference or would you have to explain it?

    I guess its just a pop culture yay or nay question...
  4. fmrsped

    fmrsped Active Member

    Sean Taylor is as cool as the other side of the pillow.
  5. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Don't think I didn't point that out to the (guy on the) copy desk.
  6. ARD

    ARD Member

    ATM? Referring to Asynchronous Transfer Mode, I presume?  ;) That's my first thought. Not everybody gets -- or, importantly, wants to get -- the latest references.

    For one thing, there is no longer a pervasive cultural common ground. Throwing a Clerks reference out there by no means assures even a small percentage of your audience will get it. Isn't the idea to communicate and not just to show off how -- God forgive me for using this word -- hip you are? Too often when I see one of these pop-culture references, it's clearly more of an inside joke to the writer than a service to the reader. Sort of a "Look what I can get past the desk" kind of thing.

    Pop-culture references can be done well, of course, just like any other style. But just because veteran Writer A can manage it does not mean writers B, C, etc., can do it as well. Too often it's a speed bump in the copy of the less-skilled. And saying, "But Writer A does it!" doesn't mean your attempts at the same thing will show the same mastery.  

    I'd never say never to this style, but H-Man is pretty much on the mark.
  7. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Hell, all these years I thought an ATM was an automated teller machine. Who knew?
  8. ARD

    ARD Member

    Yeah, I'd make 'em reimburse you for all the Pulitzers those gems undoubtedly would've won.  ;D
  9. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    I rarely watch movies and I don't have cable, so most of the pop cuture stuff goes right over my head. They can work, but I'd say occasionally rather than often, and you'd better do it deftly. The biggest problem I have with pop culture references is that the vast majority of them are forced and feel as though they are clumsily wedged into the story, as opposed to flowing naturally and illustrating a point.

    Again, I might not be the best judge because I don't get a lot of them.
  10. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    And by the way, Ensign Pulver, I heard you just threw my stinkin' palm tree overboard. [old school pop culture reference]
  11. ARD

    ARD Member

    How many users does Google Earth have? Enough that you wouldn't have to explain what it is to the print readership? I doubt it. I wouldn't say it's a self-explanatory term. I think blog is easy to grasp because it's still basically just another way of writing. But much of the Web still needs to be explained to a general audience.
  12. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    But was it a Nintendo curveball?
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