Cultural Obessions: The Last Ten Years in Pop Culture Phenomenons


by Paul Szewcyk ‘12

 iPod~ On October 23, 2001, the music industry changed forever with the release of the iPod. By the time students hit middle school, the only thing on their birthday list was a shiny new iPod. Kids no longer had to shuffle through their CD cases just to find that one CD with the one song they wanted to hear; instead they could look for that song on a small device with the songs they chose themselves. The most satisfying aspect of having an iPod was that it gave students the freedom to choose what songs, artist and genre they wanted to hear. It was music, personalized.      


by Christine O’Connell ‘11
Reality TV~ Reality T.V. has been around since the 90s, but “Laguna Beach” gave audiences a rare sneak peek into the lives of teenagers living in what could be considered paradise. But along with the beautiful scenery, “Laguna Beach” showed the tanned teens living their everyday lives with an overdose of drama that kept the show running for three seasons. “Laguna Beach” debuted on MTV in September of 2004 with positive ratings. After 43 episodes, the show ended and created room for spin-offs like “The Hills,” “The City” and even a new show from Lauren Conrad, a main character in the first two seasons, that premieres sometime next year on MTV.


by Michaela O’Donnell ‘13
Livestrong bands~ Rubber yellow bracelets representing the fight against cancer became a fashion must-have in 2004. Celebrities and adults were wearing them, but what was most astounding was how many kids picked up on the trend. The adults wore them for the cause, but we wore them to be popular. In elementary school, anyone who was anybody had to have these bands. We started off with just one yellow band, then started getting more so we could wear a couple at a time. By then, other companies and causes noticed the popular trend and started marketing their own “Livestrong bands” with different sayings and creative colors. At the peak of the fad, we were wearing them all up our arms and trading them with each other. However, like most phases, it died down after two years.  


by Jacob Bogage ’12
The Hangover~ If you consider yourself a “one-man wolf pack” or somehow know that “tigers love pepper and hate cinnamon,” you might be obsessed with “The Hangover,” the 2009 comedy that follows four 30-somethings on a bachelor party in Las Vegas. Starring Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and Bradley Cooper, “The Hangover” left audiences laughing for days. The movie saw the emergence of Galifianakis who gained widespread popularity while playing Alan Garner, an ignorant boyish figure who accidentally drugs the rest of the gang during their night of drinking and partying. The film grossed $35 million at the box office in its opening weekend and has become an On-Demand phenomenon since then.
by Allie Sivak ‘11
Silly Bands~ In the spring of 2010, silly bands transformed the awkwardness of those first meetings. No longer was a creative icebreaker or witty introduction necessary to set the tone for budding friendships. Instead, just a simple glance was needed to start off a casual, entertaining conversation about the colorful animal, object, letter or number-shaped band that encircled the other’s wrist. The bands, particularly the unique ones, could entice conversations, often resulting in a businesslike trading of the rubber shapes. “What’s your shape?” became the question responsible for breaking the ice between new acquaintances or simply starting a conversation between old friends.