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Sep 28, 2016

It's easy to find out what's popular in various forms of entertainment, fashion, and social circles. We may not eagerly await the next issue of "People" magazine to hit newsstands, or tune in to the radio on Saturday mornings for the 'Weekly Top 40' program. Our modern patience levels simply cannot abide such delays. Most social networks, however, are more than happy to hand over a roster of trending topics, compiled and ranked in large part by the buzz created from thousands or even millions of individuals discussing them -- positively or negatively.

Some will address these cultural movements with boundless enthusiasm, from TV and film, to food and drink trends, to the latest fashion craze, even to vocabulary and modern grammar. They consume and enjoy, discuss and share, and at times even become wildly fanatical about the subject. Others, however, react in a more avoidant or even curmudgeonly tone, dismissing the seemingly endless ebb and flow of pop culture with disdain and negativity. They use terms like "sheeple" and "drones" to describe those who "buy" into the offerings of mass media. Is there any grain of truth to their accusations of being manipulated by advertising psychologists? Or are the trends that a great majority of Americans (and by their example, people worldwide) the result of successful marketing of materials that those same consumers actively want?

Joined this time by musician, cosplayer and convention personality Cat Smith, we discuss the nature of pop culture trends, and why it's okay to enjoy them -- no matter what the naysayers may naysay.