Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fall Semester Begins: Bring on the popular culture and politics


The fall semester begins tomorrow at Towson University and I'm very excited to begin teaching my new Towson Seminar -- Popular Culture and Politics: Comedy, Entertainment, Celebrity, and Democracy.

In anticipation of the semester, I spoke with The Towerlight, the Towson Campus newspaper about what we'll be doing in the course.

In getting ready for the course, it seems that new items are popping up daily. Just today, David Brooks offered his humorous version of the Romney narrative over at The New York Times. As the parent of a young one myself, I found the following portion most funny:

Romney was a precocious and gifted child. He uttered his first words (“I like to fire people”) at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months. The school, highly leveraged, went under, but Romney made 24 million Jujubes on the deal.

Usually uber serious in his commentary, it seems that even Brooks has decided to jump on the comedy bandwagon.

In related news, it seems that Jimmy Kimmel's comedy is a surer bet for ABC than the old standby, Nightline.

In addition, respected colleagues have been featured in the press lately talking about the intersections between politics, comedy, and celebrity.

For example, do you know the story behind Clinton funny man Mark Katz? If not, check this CNN article with commentary by my colleague, Danna Young.

Been wondering about the connections between Romney, Obama, and Hollywood celebrities as we start convention season? There's some great commentary by Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution (and former Brown University professor), in this new CBS News article. We'll be reading West's book, Celebrity Politics, during the course of the semester.

During the course of the semester, I'll post all of the videos we'll be watching and discussing in class over at our course blog. Feel free to watch along with us. It seems like new videos keep popping up all the time.

Tomorrow we'll take a look back at 2008 but we'll also start with this new parody of that catchy Gotye song:



The video popped up in the beginning of August and already has over 1 million views.

As we'll learn when we study parody this September, it's important to connect the mock version with the original:



All of a sudden, the parody makes a lot more sense, right?

Stay tuned as the semester (and general election season) unfolds.