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Adrian: Pop Politics

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Jen Adrian
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Three-quarters of the Adrian family visiting the future birthplace of Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk in Riverside, Iowa.

From The Princess Bride and Back to the Future, to The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Nerds, dozens of watershed films populated the formative years of my youth in the 1980s.As a result of the Kavanaugh hearings, certain segments of these films and even much of the genre - if 80s films could be classified as a cohesive body of work - are now under attack for some aspects of each of these films that no longer comport with contemporary norms. But that doesn’t mean that either the body of work or the individual films lack merit and significance.

The common theme that permeates nearly all of these movies is the epic struggle of good over evil, often by a teenage or twenty something unlikely hero. Characters like The Dread Pirate Roberts, Marty McFly and Luke Skywalker were the often marginalized Davids to the “cool kids” Goliaths. We identified with them, and wanted to believe that life was black and white, only to find out later as adults that almost everything in life is more accurately described in varying shades of gray - from relationships at home and work, to politics and religion.

The trouble is that film, like any work of art, is immutable and unchanging. A well-directed sequel can offer new interpretations of an epic story, but the original piece is set in stone.

So it’s a good thing that people have the ability to learn from the past and distinguish between the norms that should be passed on to the next generation and those we really should toss in the dustbin of history.

And it’s clear that Pop Culture really does have a place in shaping our norms. It often captures the zeitgeist of any given epoch - the good, the bad and the ugly. And it can be used as a powerful force for creating change.

Witness the recent spike in voter registrations after musical icons Taylor Swift and Rihanna encouraged their legions of fans to do just that.

It’s an influence we can all support, because … in the end, there can be only one … one way to effectuate democratic change.

And that’s to get out and vote.