Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gossip Girl

A very amusing post on Gossip Girl at The Millions, though I question Garth Risk Hallberg's assertion that GG is less of a "cultural touchstone" for the generation currently in college than it is for the thirty-something set.

I also used Gossip Girl as a sort of pedagogic panacea this summer, when I conducted a mini-course at a summer camp for high schoolers. It worked remarkably well, although, like Garth, I have never seen an episode (and unlike Garth, I could not have named with such precision any character from the show). If attention flagged, I would throw in a reference to Gossip Girl, usually something vague and referring to its popularity.

The most amusing translation of a literary reference into a pop cultural reference that I encountered as an undergraduate was in a course I took my freshman year on the Romantic poets. Our professor re-worked the Shelley-Wordsworth generational battle (best expressed in the very direct Shelley poem "To Wordsworth") as a series of cartoon strips replacing Shelley with the rapper Nas and Wordsworth with Jay-Z. (Speaking of Jay-Z, has anyone figured out yet if the Brits call him "Jay-Zed" or not?) The professor promised us a follow-up series starring Byron as Puff Daddy, but I don't think she ever got around to that one.

3 comments:

Adam Roberts Project said...

I speak for all Brits when I say: we call him Jay-Zee. By a simialr logic we refer to Nicolah (not Nicholas) Sarkozy.

deemikay said...

Likewise for Scots - we say Jay-Zee...

But do Brits really say Nicolah Sarkozy? With that "s" on the surname it would be quite hard to detect its absence from the first name...

Andrew Seal said...

Ah. Darn. I think Jay-Zed sounds so much better, like a robot, but in a good, produced-by-Kanye-West way.