Shimmering Under the Pop Stars

We walk the Earth under the influence of culture: some good, some bad, some popular, some not. In our world of contemporary pop culture, a number of celebrities have risen to fame for their innate ability to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Many figures in pop culture are incredibly popular for a reason. That said, we at BTR will unveil the reasons we admire our particular favorites so dearly.

Liz’s Take

Photo courtesy of Eva Rinaldi.

Okay, before you roll your eyes, hear me out: The Kardashians are an unbelievable example of the post-capitalist American dream. Tell me more, you say? I will!

Already an affluent family due to Robert Kardashian (the passed-away patriarch who briefly defended OJ Simpson), they became famous after the release of Kim K’s sextape. Big deal. We’ve seen that before. It’s what they did with that resulting fame that makes them so important: four or five reality TV shows, some running concurrently, about any or all of the sisters in different cities, different drama. The show gave them fame, exposure, and a butt-load of money.

The Kardashians are, quite simply, a product. Their personalities, their bodies, their faces are a marketing tool, a massive promotional deal. They aren’t afraid to put their whole lives on screen, and use their fame to sell products–waist trainers, hair products, etc. If they have a talent, it’s this: Mama Kris saw an opening into a world of self-promotion and took it. You might hate the Kardashians, but I love them. A family that makes a million dollars by simply walking out the door. It doesn’t get any closer to the American dream than that.

Aubrey’s Take

I discovered Tomm Moore by accident when I was searching absentmindedly for a movie to put on while cleaning my house. The colors on the cover of Song of the Sea caught my eye, and an easy animated film seemed like just the right idea.

One hour and 34 utterly enchanting minutes later, I was still sitting in the same spot, glassy-eyed, my imagination soaring on the spell of childlike wonder. I had never seen such animation, where every single frame engulfed me in palettes of fireside amber and ultramarine, where the entire movie glowed–phantasmal, internally spectral–and left my mind moonlit.

I soon watched The Secret of Kells and found that its animation inspired the same captivation. Ever since, I’ve urged my friends to seek refuge from the pressures of New York by slipping into the spellbinding worlds of Tomm Moore’s creation.

Dane’s Take

Photo courtesy of WEBN-TV.

Out of all of the BTR staff members, I’m probably amongst the most engrossed in mainstream popular culture. From my professed love of romcoms (specifically those with Reese Witherspoon) to Laguna Beach star and now fashion mogul Lauren Conrad, those around me know I’m more than likely to say “what’s that?” when they bring up something a little more underground. It’s not that I can’t think for myself, I just like what I like.

Truth be told, there are countless figures I could choose, but at the moment I’m going the Sarah Jessica Parker route. There is something so utterly romantic and inspiring about her relationship with the city of New York that makes her appealing to me. From what I gather, she’s not too different from the role she played as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, except that she’s far more organized and career driven in her own life.

What draws me to SJP most, though, is her apparent down to earth personality. She seems like one of the few celebrities who I could sit down with and actually enjoy a fun, intellectual conversation. She’s a real person, with a great apartment and a real love for her city, her family, and her career. It’s hard not to be a fan of someone like that.

Samantha’s Take

Photo courtesy of David Shankbone.

I generally don’t spend much time in front of the television idling over the latest celebrity gossip. With that being said, there are very few people in the public eye who manage to grab my attention like Amy Poehler.

I first came to know and adore her when I began binge watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. She portrays a character who works hard and makes her dreams a reality. In many ways, Poehler’s portrayal of Leslie Knope on the popular sitcom doesn’t veer far from who she is off the screen.

Last year, I picked up Poehler’s memoir Yes Please, which consists of a collection of stories and positive affirmations. In a way, it felt like I was speaking to Poehler directly, like she was writing the book for me. What shines through most in Yes Please, is Poehler’s dedication. She gained success in a male-driven field because she never forfeited her passion. She created from the ground up so that others could follow in her path. She has paved the way for so many young women and has told them it’s okay to be down on yourself some days, it’s a natural part of life. What she also shares is this: never lose faith in yourself and never stop short of your goals. Somehow, when Poehler writes that, I believe her more than anyone else.

Tanya’s Take

Internet cat celebrities are newcomers to the pop culture playing field. Some grimace. Some pant. Others are born with facial hair hipper than any person toying with wax will ever render their mustache.

Alas, one has an admirable musical talent. One wears a baby blue infant shirt. One has the power to judge, to play off humanity’s mishaps–from treadmill accidents to embarrassing courtroom utterances–with his electronic keyboard.

Keyboard Cat is a cult classic of internet cat memes. Though Fatso (his real name) died nearly 30 years ago, his silly segment is an iconic mainstay in the canon of online cat videos. Other orange tabbies have attempted to reinterpret or revamp the concept, but to me, that’s like listening to an almost-as-good cover band. None will ever topple the glory of the original.

Feature photo courtesy of BMiz.

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