4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired


There was one question on my job application for Cracked: "How is Space Jam really a convincing argument for communism," and I needed three of those little blue essay books to complete my answer. Arguing about pop culture isn't just fun for me; it's the entirety of my job.

That said, I've been doing this for a while now, long enough that I've noticed the few pop culture arguments that come up over and over and over again. And I'm getting pretty tired of these boring, repetitive, non-Space-Jam-related arguments.

Women Aren't as Funny as Men

4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired
Vanity Fair

What You Say:

"I'm not sexist, or anything, I'm just asking: would Stripes have been as good had it starred Meryl Streep instead of Bill Murray? No, probably not. And I think it comes down to the gender roles that are assigned to us as children; boys are rewarded for being funny, girls are rewarded for being pretty. Society just happens to value- ."

What You (Unconsciously) Mean

"A woman made me laugh in a movie and instead of just accepting that she was funny, I decided to hold this public discussion on the idea of funny women, because one time I read an article that talked about pre-assigned gender roles and I'd really like to tell everyone about it."

People love talking about whether or not women are funny. I don't know why. At some point when I was a kid, I, like you, met a girl who was funny and was like "Oh, case closed," and that should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. Comedy supersite Splitsider hosts this discussion a lot. It was covered in the New York Post as recently as June. 30 Rock did a whole episode about it last week.

I'm just so tired of it.

4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired

"A new study says women can also tell jokes? You don't say."

There are lots of people who are smarter and all around kinder than me, and I'm sure their reasons for wanting to end the "Are women funny?" argument are sensitive and important (sexism, and so on). I don't have any meaningful reasons; I'm just absolutely sick of this argument. It has been covered so often and from so many different angles that everything -- everything -- has already been said on the topic. Every new discussion can't help but being a round-up of past talking points, and if you still need to ask if women are funny, then there is no information that I could possibly bring you to change your mind.

The problem is that the people who have this argument don't actually want to change any minds; they just like having this particular argument. Over and over again. And, to be clear, my problem isn't that the argument is idiotic (though it is); my problem is that it's boring. I'm sick of seeing articles titled "Are Funny Women Finally Mainstream?" and "Finally, a Hangover Movie for Girls" and "Look! Boobs that Joke!" every time a female-centric comedy does well at the box office.

They're Making a Sequel/Remake of ? UGH!

4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired

What You Say:

"Wait, they're making another Ghostbusters movie? Why? Why!? I already saw the amount of Ghostbusters movies that I'm comfortable seeing, so why would they keep making them?! Why don't they just come up with some NEW ideas in Hollywood? Is it because I also complain that the new ideas aren't as good as the old ones? Is THAT why?"

What You (Unconsciously) Mean

"The past is great! Don't ever change or update anything!"

Twice a week for the last six years, someone on the Internet has published an article updating everyone on the anticipated (?) Ghostbusters sequel that will probably never happen.

Ghostbusters UL (2??2)-IMDb ww.imdb.com/title/tt1289401/ Related News. Ghostbusters 3: 10 Suggestions to Make It Not Suck 21 October 9:49 AM, PDT Obse

Sequels, remakes and reboots are some of the Internet's favorite things to be mad about. Check out the Talkback section for AintitCoolNews's post on the latest Die Hard trailer or the comment section on the new Evil Dead teaser. I understand that people like to hold certain pop culture artifacts sacred, but the amount of hatred that they have for sequels/reboots just sounds exhausting. I'm not thrilled that another Die Hard is coming out, but it's really easy for me to not watch movies that I don't want to watch. I do it all the time.

Entertainment Weekly

The above image isn't a fake. No 13-year-old's boner Photoshopped it as a prank; it's a real, promotional one-sheet for the fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise. Sure, that poster is dumb as a bucket of butts, but there's no reason to get into some big "WHY DOES HOLLYWOOD KEEP MAKING SEQUELS" argument about it. Hollywood keeps making sequels because sequels keep making money. No one is attacking you personally, or forcing you to watch it, and a fifth Die Hard doesn't hurt the first three. If you're worried that A Good Day to Die Hard is going to be terrible, then just watch the first or third Die Hard instead. If I don't like the idea of my future kids growing up in a world that has five Die Hards, four Indiana Joneses and six Star Wars, then I'll just brainwash the shit out of them. They'll be 21 before they even hear the word "midichlorians" and can decide for themselves if they want to accept it.

Books Versus Movies

4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired

What You Say:

"The movie was fine, I guess, it's just that, I don't know. I mean I'm sure it's ... good ... clearly, you liked it, and that's fine, it's just ... knowing the books -- like I do -- it's kind of hard to watch the movie without thinking about all of the things they should have done. Maybe if I hadn't read the books and really gotten into them then I would have liked the movie better. Such is my burden."

What You (Unconsciously) Mean

"I read a book!"

One of my favorite things about reading a book is that I can make my own movie in my head while reading it. I can cast whomever I want, and they can sound the way I want them to sound and I'm incapable of getting it wrong, because this particular piece of art only exists if I imagine it.

One of my favorite things about seeing a movie is that it's over in two hours and I don't have to read anything.



I love reading books. And I love movies. And I'd love to live in a world where a discussion about one doesn't have to lead to a discussion about the other.

The problem with people who read and talk about books that become movies or TV shows is that they can't separate the two. I'll give you a personal example. Even though I don't like The Walking Dead, it's a show that I consistently rage-watch, I guess because I kind of like it when a bad thing is still bad ("Has anyone seen Carl? Carl's not in the cell! Carl, stay in the cell!"). Whenever I complain about the pacing of the show, or how underwritten one of the characters is, or how underwritten all of the characters are, one of the show's defenders will inevitably point out that I only have that opinion because I haven't read the graphic novel on which the show is based. If I read all of the comics, they say, then I'd like all of the characters better.

I agree. If I'd read a better version of The Walking Dead, I would probably like it. However, until such time as the Walking Dead show gets so much better that it retroactively makes the first two seasons enjoyable, I'm going to go ahead and continue not to like it.

Music Today is Different!

4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired

What You Say:

"Have you listened to the shit they play on the radio? Katy Whatshername and that other one with the coal-black eyes of a shark?

4 Pop Culture Arguments That Need to be Retired

Lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes.

"I can't stand it. Where'd all the good music go? When I was a kid, they made real music. Can anyone even hear me?!"

What You (Unconsciously) Mean

"I'm getting older but no one told me!"

One day I woke up and realized the pop stars on the radio were no longer making music specifically for me. It felt like a betrayal, because suddenly the radio was alienating, and it all happened sooner than it was supposed to. Something profound changed. If it hasn't already happened to you, it will. Within the next five years, it will.

That's what everyone is dancing around when they complain about music today. Music isn't getting worse, you're just getting older, and no one writes music for old people.

And I'm not speaking in a general sort of way. In a time when you thought no one actually bought music anymore, Taylor Swift's latest album is on track to sell one million copies in its first week. That's because Taylor Swift is writing music for the only people who ever bought music: 15-year-old girls.

Taylor Swift is successful because she writes songs exclusively for 15-year-old girls, an experience I am wholly unfamiliar with but one that, based strictly on her music, seems to involve being consistently shocked that sometimes people break up with other people, and also involves routinely watching boys through your bedroom window.

Wee MON AAe'e Cake VE

Two. Different. Videos.

That's life. 15-year-old girls are the tastemakers. And now that you know that 15-year-old girls are the ones who buy music, are you still shocked that you don't like what's on the radio? Was that a surprise? Are you still holding out hope that the next generation of 15-year-old girls is going to be into some really good shit? Because that's not going to happen.

Pop music does not grow and mature alongside you. The pop stars of the 90s who sang songs about chasing girls and falling in love for the first time when you were chasing girls and falling in love for the first time aren't going to suddenly start singing songs about how your liberal arts degree was worthless and it's weird that all of your friends are getting married just because you're 26 and going through that now. The Backstreet Boys will never become The Backstreet Men. All you can do is cling to your favorite artists and pray they never stop releasing new music. Also stay away from pop radio. It's terrifying out there.



Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies), and is clearly just getting too old for all shit (Riiiiigs!). Follow him on Twitter. Or don't!

For more from Dan, check out 5 Things They Never Told Us and Cooking for Your Doomed Relationship.

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