Welcome to Escapist Culture

Griffin Thenell is a second-year studying pre-computer science. His column, entitled  Escapist Culture, will feature pop culture ranging from movies and TV to games.

Griffin Thenell Columnist

Hi everybody. 

My name is Griffin Thenell. I am a computer science major, a TV producer and most of all, a pop culture fan. Before anything, I want to share a story because that is what pop culture is all about.

The year was 2008. A mother took her young son and his friend to the movie theater in Oregon City to go see a movie and the two boys were ecstatic. The lights went down and after the previews, the movie started. They get their first glimpse of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and they grow crazy. That was the first Marvel movie my friend and I ever saw and since then, we’ve seen almost every single one together. We have been doing this for almost ten years.

The reason I love pop culture and the reason I want to write about it, is that it is fun and it brings people together. In a world where we never know what is going to happen next, whether it be forest fires, hurricanes or earthquakes, we can jump to music or film to escape for at least a little bit. We can use it to depict the world from a different angle or to metaphorically explain what is going on in current events.

In a presentation at the LA Times Festival of Books in 2016, Marvel Comics cofounder Stan Lee said, “Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

So why not analyze that good thing? Why not share these amazing mediums we have with as many people as possible? The scope of pop culture is endless. From comics to movies to TV to music, there is something for everybody, and the landscape of pop culture is always changing.

If Marvel releases a new comic series, Sony announces the next PlayStation or LucasArt drops a trailer for the next Star Wars movie, there is someone out there who is excited. And to be honest, that person is probably me. In Escapist Culture, I plan to dive right into the depths of pop culture and analyze its importance, as well as why we love it. Why are certain franchises like Game of Thrones so popular? Why does Call of Duty get released every year? Will Batman ever kill the Joker? Spoiler — He won’t.

My knowledge is mostly in the realm of video games, movies and comics, so I plan to write a lot about that. I’ll pull insight from big name companies like IGN and Kotaku, but I also want to hear from you. If you have something in pop culture that you want me to write about or just want to share an opinion, let me know. Shoot me an email at thenellg@oregonstate.edu. So, excelsior true believers. And until I can come up with my own catchphrase, have a wonderful day.