Herald-Whig

O'Reilly, Black Friday, email: Time for ninth class of Pop Culture Hall of Fame

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 9, 2017 11:35 am

At times, I think Americans tend to underestimate the affect they have on the rest of the world, especially when it comes to our pop culture.

Pop culture is what happens to and around us. Our (pop) culture affects and shapes us, which, in effect, shapes the rest of the world.

Kim Campbell, the former Canadian prime minister, once said, "Images of America are so pervasive in this global village that it is almost as if instead of the world immigrating to America, America has emigrated to the world, allowing people to aspire to be Americans even in distant countries."

Much of the rest of the world "wants to be us," largely because of how U.S.-influenced pop culture shapes the views and opinions around the globe.

With that thought process in mind, back in 2008 in this space we started our own personal Pop Culture Hall of Fame. Nine years later, we're still doing it. Today marks our ninth "class" of nine individuals, events and ideas.

The only ground rules concerning inclusion is an individual, event or concept had to have left some sort of indelible mark on the world around us in the last 50-ish years.

The 2017 Class:

Individuals

Bill O'Reilly: He's been a lightning rod for controversy for years, and draws record cable news ratings to boot.

Johnny Carson: There would never have been a David Letterman, Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon without Mr. Carson.

Caitlyn Jenner: Some may remember her better as Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner, but it's safe to say she will be a conversation item for decades to come.

Notable past inductees: Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Sean Connery, Beatles, Elvis Presley, Dick Clark, Clint Eastwood, Walter Cronkite, Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, Carroll O'Connor, Michael Jordan.

Events

Black Friday: It's as much a part of the holiday lexicon as mistletoe and Rudolph.

2016 Presidential Election: I think it's safe to say this was the most contentious presidential election in modern times, and it will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Monday Night Football: Sure, it doesn't have the pizzazz it once did, but MNF redefined how we watch and appreciate pro football.

Notable past inductees: 1970 Kent State shootings, March Madness, O.J. Simpson Murder Trial, Hurricane Katrina, Saturday Night Live, Great Recession, Woodstock, 1969 Moon Landing, Sept. 11, 2001, JFK assassination, Super Bowl, "Seinfeld," Vietnam War.

Ideas

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Its importance and interest in the annual inductions have grown each year since it was established in 1983.

Transistor Radio: There's probably not a baby boomer alive who does not remember, as a teenager, having one of these with them at all times.

Email: Twenty-five years ago it was barely a curiosity. Now, could anyone make it through a day without email?

Notable past inductees: TV remote control, Internet, Online Dating, HDTV, McDonald's, Facebook, DVR, cellphone, ESPN, personal computer.