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Pop culture pathology (or Popular culture pathology) is the forensic study of popular culture in fields such as celebrity, music, fashion, food, aesthetic desire, television, as well as additional and often obscure media and stimuli. Pop culture pathology is an obscure branch of both Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.
Originating in private universities in the United States around the turn of the millennium, pop culture pathology is the systematic attempt to analyze trends in culture in order to examine more closely the relationships that the individual has to the world around them. The studies include experiments with the aesthetic experiences that people have in common, with the goal being to uncover the intrinsic trend that allows for the phenomenon of extrinsic trends. Some common philosophical foundations for this tradition are Michel Foucault and the philosophy of deconstruction pioneered by Jacques Derrida.
The most common way to test theories in pop culture pathology is to attempt to simulate situations of complete cultural ignorance. For example, a test done in 2005 at University of California, Berkeley, is referred to as the "Botto Experiment". A young student named Nicholas Botto was given a CD on its release date that had received no radio play and which he had no exposure to. He listened to only this album for two months and was readmitted to society. He was told to return in a year's time with 5 albums that he found he enjoyed in light of the album he had been assigned. In the experiment the album that was famously used was In An Aeroplane Over The Sea by the indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel. The style of music was known as "Lo-Fi" which was uncommon at the time. A year later Botto returned with five similar albums. His choices perfectly predicted a generation of music in the Lo-Fi genre, opening the door for pop culture pathology to be known as a legitimate subject.
The postmodern implications of this type of experimentation are still being realized by scientists and philosophers. By assigning meaning to a certain cultural item the person conducting the experiment is deciding what will matter in the entirety of the next year for the subject. It seems to go without saying that this type of influence poses solutions for current cultural trends that are deemed "immoral." By making the greater good more fashionable socially many of the worlds problems have the potential to be fixed in the future.
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