The Weakening Merge of Serious and Pop This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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In The Salon Interview: John Updike by Dwight Garner, Updike is quoted saying, “I don’t feel that we have the merger of serious and pop- it’s gone, dissolving. Tastes have coarsened. People read less, they’re less comfortable with the written word. They’re less comfortable with novels. They don’t have a backward frame of reference that would enable them to appreciate things like irony and allusions. Just by observing the world around me, it’s not hard to agree with that statement. Accessible movie series, modernizing technology, and not enough education or appreciation for the art of literature or reading is getting us closer to pop culture and closer to Updike’s statement becoming the truth.
The Harry Potter series and the Twilight Series are perfect examples of why people read less and don’t appreciate the art. Why do people sit down and read books with 400 pages for hours and then wonder why they don’t just watch it summed up on the big screen? Because people don’t have time. They seem to think a movie provides the action, characters, and emotion they imagined come to life, but they’re wrong. It provides the action, characters, and emotion someone else imagined. Popular movies like these, most of the time, provide an easy way out for people to deprive their brains. If our Grandparents had access to the type of enhanced movie technology we view today, the outcome would’ve happened a lot faster. We can’t leave it up to our parents or our teachers to force it down our throats to read and appreciate literature; it’s up to us now.
Two years ago, IOV at Verdugo Hills High School, updated their program and started providing the same feed on the internet. Eye on Verdugo would provide a virtual newspaper to broadcast across school, but like our changing world they modernized and put it on the internet for easy access. This situation is very similar to what is going on in our world today with literature. Take, for example the Nook reading device. Now, you don’t even have to get up out of your chair to purchase and start reading a “book”. Although this may seem to be a handy tool, it is actually a tool that is destroying our physical and mental connection. The virtual world of reading is destroying the traditional view of literature and all that is should be appreciated for. It’s just not the same, is what Updike is trying to argue. He’s right it isn’t, but children today are growing up in a world where that will be the norm. In order for people to appreciate things like “irony and allusions”, every individual has to start setting an example in this changing world to keep at least this one thing the same.
Many schools, colleges, and universities want to be culturally diverse and encourage students to explore those diversities, but in this changing world that’s getting farther from our hands. Literature seems to be one of the foundations of America, but how can we truly teach that to other culture if we ourselves are having a hard time practicing it on a daily basis. As Updike said, “Now we have these cultural developments on the Internet, and online, and the computer offering itself as a cultural tool, as a tool of disturbing not just information but arts-…” It seems as if the internet and technology will become the new foundation that America will modernize itself on. For those of us who still appreciate literature and reading for all it’s worth, the only thing we can do to save the traditional foundation is to carry out the tasks ourselves. To read series and imagine all that we can and to keep our imagination separate from the ones that go on the big screen. To write stories on our own and appreciate and take what we have learned in English class and incorporate it into our own works. There’s so much we can do to keep this world diverse and to show others the culture that has always been ours.
Accessible movie series, modernizing technology, and not enough education or appreciation for the art of literature or reading is getting us closer to pop culture and closer to Updike’s statement becoming the truth. The world of literature, books, and reading seem to be slipping right from our hands. Yes, we can point fingers but the only thing we can truly do to enforce the change we want to see is to run against the grain and keep literature a sacred art that we appreciate and practice forever. Like Updike himself said, “who’s to blame? Well, everything’s to blame”. That shouldn’t stop us though.





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