Out with the new, in with the old

Looking back in pop culture sheds light on new material

Story by Kristina Bornholtz, News Editor

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by pop culture references. Whether it’s your friend quoting a movie she has seen, a commercial alluding to a classic book or a new song sampling an old song, pop culture references are everywhere.

My favorite movie is “Sleepless in Seattle.” You know the one — Tom Hanks is a single dad whose son goes on the radio and begs all of America to help him find a new mom. Enter Meg Ryan and magic happens. Some days, I watch it over and over again because I love it that much. But there was one part that always confused me.

A major theme of the film is a reference to a previous film, “An Affair to Remember,” made in 1957. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just tell you it plays a pretty big role in the climax of Sleepless in Seattle

I was recently watching it again and realized something. To totally understand this film, I really needed to see the other one.

Now that I took a step back and realized these two movies were so closely linked together, I see it everywhere. Just search songs that sample each other online and you’ll come to find so many of your favorites were inspired by or borrow from other songs. It seems like all the new material, in some way, borrows from something old.

By finding references in some of my favorite things, and seeking out those earlier inspirations, I have found even more I love. An “Affair to Remember” struck a chord in me and quickly became one of my favorites. And that’s just one example of many.

I think as young people, we don’t put a lot of thought toward going back and spending time with the pop culture greats — movies, books and songs alike. We are constantly having new things thrown at us, so how could we have time to watch a movie that came out nearly sixty years ago?

But because we haven’t seen these original greats, or don’t even know they exist, the plethora of references embedded in the new material are totally lost on us.

I truly do think that in order to understand the popular culture around us, we need to take a look back at what came before. Not only will you further understand how our arts have developed over the years, you may find a new favorite you’ll indulge in again and again.