"So, to understand the place that pop-culture can have in this big human conversation, we have to understand something about the concept of a "classic".
The word "classic" means something approved as a model or of the highest class. In culture (without the pop on the front) one of the test these classic works have generally had to pass is the test of time. Some contemporary of a work may have identified its importance and genius at the time it was written, but real classics generally endure a long period of scrutiny before they're accept as such.
|Gandalf, for instance. He's very old and has a lot of|
wise things to say. Also, if you don't respect him, he could
certainly destroy you.
This makes perfect sense because culture, being an endeavor shared and passed on by people from generation to generation, has the time to spare, and we wouldn't want something of inferior quality to sneak by and be approved as a model. Once it was, it would drag the bar down and our standards would get worse and worse.
Time isn't a sufficient standard but, the longer something has had to prove itself to be useful, and the more criticism it has had to endure, the more likely It's something worth listening to.
It's similar to respecting one's elders. Respecting one's elders isn't some arbitrary moral injunction designed to oppress the young. It's good strategy.
The mere fact that people have lived a long time doesn't ensure that they're wise and worth listening to. They may not have learned a thing after they were eighteen years old. However, you KNOW eighteen year olds haven't learned anything after they were eighteen years old. At least an older person has had a chance to figure things out, so it's worth respecting them enough to listen."
Where pop-culture fits into this comes next.
© 2015 John Hiner III
Here is where I got the nifty image above.