I learned a lot from this chapter about rhetoric, popular culture, and groups. The book talks about how people are involved in many different groups, but we do not identify with these groups all at once. I also learned about how popular culture, and the chapter made me want to reflect on stereotypes in society.
People are involved in many different groups, but identify with certain ones at certain times. This made me think of my own life and how I am Irish, but do not identify with being Irish until an Irish event or holiday is coming up. I am a Minnesotan, but do not think about that until I am out of state and see the differences. The clip we watched from “The Office” had some good examples of identification. It showed two different groups combing into one, and it was easy to see the divisions. The young African American identified his race when he saw that the character, Stanley, shared that characteristic with him. It was interesting to see the ways the groups were identified.
Popular culture is also brought up in this chapter. I always think of popular culture as popular things in the media. The book talks about an episode of “Seinfeld” that is not as widely known now as it used to be. Many shows and movies reference popular cultures, but it is always changing. “Family Guy” will eventually end and years after its end, it will quickly decline. “Family Guy” is a witty show that is up to date on popular actors, shows, musicians, etc., but the next generation will not understand most of the jokes. Even now, the older episodes reference a trivial event that many people do not remember. Popular culture is funny and works for that show, but it will not be as funny or relevant for the next generation. “Family Guy” is also good at playing with popular stereotypes.
Stereotypes are normally perceived as a bad thing, but they can be useful as well. A stereotype is a word or thought that is jam packed with information. The book gives an example of Irish people. If a person heard something about shamrocks, leprechauns, cabbage, etc. they would think of the Irish. Stereotypes can be good, but they can be harmful if someone acts in a negative way towards someone just because of a stereotype. I think servers are the worst at this. Servers rely on their tips, and usually know what to look for in people who tip well. The stereotypes of people who do not tip well are people age 60 and older, high school kids, people who act as though they have no class (kids running around, yelling at kids, do not look very hygienic) and foreigners. Servers judge people based on negative past experiences. In parts of Europe, the tip is included in the bill, so many people do not tip in the United States because they think it is the same here. Stereotypes are not bad to have because it can give off an idea of someone, but they become harmful if people are rude to someone just because they are older or from a different country.
Many stereotypes are embedded into culture, but they also help define groups. I think that culture, stereotypes, and popular culture are all related and are an important part of societies.