Hi there. This is Larry the lounge lizard welcoming you to The Swamp. What’s the swamp? Well, it’s the pool of pop culture, of films, TV, music, comics and social media. It’s the flood of media of all kinds, cds, dvds, bluerays, mp3s, the internet, etc, that we pop culture junkies, we ‘fanboys’ can’t get enough of. And now, thanks to the internet and file sharing programs, free library multimedia and other ‘for-free’ services, Spotify accounts and the good old Itunes store, so much of it is, legal or otherwise, free or at least freely available.
There is much to celebrate in this diversity. But the problem is, it’s grown to such a point that it is now a swamp. Gone are the good old days when you could look at your record collection and know every song, every album, my friends. Liquid modernity is well and truly here to stay. So, how to make sense of it all?
That’s where this blog comes in. I, Larry the lounge lizard, along with my contributors plan to share here with you some of our strategies for swimming happily in the swamp of pop culture. Our first strategy is just to simply enjoy it, and you can find lots of examples of this in our Entertain portal.
Our second strategy is to find and share creative responses to pop culture, where some measure of self-expression and control over it is possible. If this interests you, we encourage you to check out our Inspire portal, where contributor (and creative fiend) Will Greeves will help you unlock your inner artist.
Our third strategy is to present a critical overview of pop culture, offering a perspective on its history and its codes and conventions as outlined by media literacy studies. Contributor, and Media Studies teacher, Russ can help you along with this in our Inform portal.
Our fourth and final strategy is all about looking at the bigger picture, at how we might transition from our current circumstances to creating better personal and social futures. This is where we get political, because believe it or not, pop culture and media are highly political. They are where we get all of our news about the world and where, through advertising and public relations and commercial-capitalist imperatives, our status as consumers and humans is at its most vulnerable. Contributor, and ‘clapped out social worker’, Rui is waiting at our Transform portal to help you explore these more democratic and personal pathways of pop culture consumption.
For an alternative way to explore this blog, you can always try our Swampsearch function, or go to the Categories menu on the sidebar, where pages and links are sorted into more traditional topics. Or you could just dive straight into the latest posts in the main area.
The site is full of content, including articles, videos, podcasts, songs, photos, comics and other miscellany, most of it our own. It’s very much intended as a showcase for our creative and informative endeavours. And the subject matter is potentially large, encompassing all that can be found in popular culture.
Of course, all the marketing pundits say you should focus on a small niche, keeping your subject matter simple and specific. Well, that’s not going to happen here. We believe the thing missing from all those niche sites is that crucial item called Context, and we want to give visitors some context. We here at the Swamp are all about Context. It’s the only way to make sense of what’s going on out there, the myriad commercial and social and artistic connections and trends to be discovered and explored.
So yes, we are a little bit passionate and idealistic about what we offer here at the Swamp. But make no mistake, we would like to earn some of that sweet ‘passive income’ the marketing gurus talk about as well. Whether it’s buying Google Adwords, accepting banner ads on the site, affiliate marketing or getting free publicity through crafty press releases, we’re happy to try them all. Whatever works. In fact, we like the idea of swamping the Swamp with ads so we can insert our own subtle (or not so subtle) messages of subversion within that commercial context.
But we also treat advertising as any other media process that’s fit to be studied and commented upon. We will do that especially at our Inform portal, but also with our own promotional pillars, identifying the persuasive techniques we’re using within posts and articles to get your attention. In other words, we will be self-reflexive. It seems only fair.
I also wish to take the opportunity of this blog to welcome you to my own special corner of the swamp, a place called Melbourne, my hometown. In addition to all the other goodness mentioned above, I plan here to show you around some of the wonderful nightspots and shops that Melbourne and its outlying suburbs have to offer within the pop culture paradigm. You’ll find these mostly in the Essays and Reviews category.
So, that’s the Swamp. And my first piece of advice to you is this: get out of the Swamp from time to time. Look around at the real world, and get a life!