Monday, April 22, 2019

The Proliferation of Popular Culture References

My wife and I subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime and watch regularly.  Maybe I'm just feeling out of it these days, but it seems to me there are more and more popular culture references in what we're watching, more and more of which I don't get.

Sometimes it's musical, which since I've not kept up with popular music since the Beatles it's understandable I'll miss them.  Often it's what critics like to call "homages" or "call-outs" to other programming.  Those I miss as well.

I think it's "Billions", the third season of which we just finished, which made me particularly aware of this.  It's possible it's just the writers of that show who are especially into references to other pieces of popular culture, but it seems more pervasive.  Although there are fewer directors' commentaries these days now that Netflix is shifting from DVD's to streaming, they're another way I become conscious of things I'm missing.

It seems a logical trend in our culture: the more time people spend watching and listening, the more likely creators will cross-reference things.  I suspect the trend also means fewer references to the older sources of reference material: the classics and the Bible. 

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