Monday, June 11, 2012
Mondays and Popular Culture
Mondays are a central feature within a seven-day period known as the week. Mondays occur during the workweek as opposed to the weekend, and occur in virtually every society - including parallel universes - in the world. While Mondays differ significantly from other days of the week, there are some common features and frequent phenomena that are both interesting and significant.
The first and biggest problem faced in writing an overview of Monday and popular culture is trying to define it. Broad definitions, favored by supporters of Bart Simpson, for example, assert that they "hate" Mondays.
Mondayologists see Mondays as an umbrella term for just about all aspects of everyday experience, including commonplace material culture such as processed foods, shotty construction, graphic design of anti-Monday sentiments, t-shirts with anti-Monday inscriptions, street art depicting anti-Mondayism, and just about anything else that people use as they go about bad-mouthing Mondays.
Narrower definitions often found in American studies and in popular culture studies in various disciplines in academic circles in the United States often tend to limit the definition to the popular arts and entertainments, such as unpopular literature, waste-of-time journalism, lame graphic arts, bad performances, and the hysterical mass media. The other areas that might be included as Monday popular culture are left for folklore/folk life studies, anti-Mondayism material culture studies, and Mondays as a social phenomenon per se.
While Mondays can certainly be studied in every aspect of everyday life, there's more than enough to deal with in managing with Mondays than meets the eye. Take, for example, this post: it is being written on a Monday. The writer of said post didn't sleep a wink last night. Two cups of tea later and the screen on said writer's computer is still fuzzy. Said writer, an avid exerciser, didn't go out to the bike trail, making this Monday a particularly dreadful one. All in all, writing a tedious academic soliloquy about Mondays and Popular Culture seems less appealing than returning to bed, which is an indication that anti-Mondayism is contagious.
In one sense of the definition of Mondays, popular culture is a contradiction, an oxymoron. If we define culture in the old-fashioned sense of the term - as "cultivated" or refined products of civilization, as say advocates and other defenders of sophisticated and elite expression have done - most of what we include in our study of Mondays and popular culture simply does not qualify as it is the lot of the common citizen that gives rise to cynicism.
The need for the expression "Mondays suck" arises from a perceived necessity to distinguish "high" or elite cultural expression from the "low" or commonplace. Indeed a very familiar classification system goes one step further, attempting to distinguish among "high, "low," and "middle," sometimes termed "highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow" Mondays. Trying to pin down just what it is meant by these designations is the first, and perhaps the funniest, exercise in exploring Mondays in Popular Culture.
There are so many problems, complications, contradictions, and inadequacies connected with classifying Mondays according to Popular Culture that it would take the rest of my Mondays to address them all. That amount of effort on a Monday simply does not work for me, and furthermore there is no mass audience reading my blog egging me onward to do so. The range of anti-Mondayism, its motives, functions, and cultural significance will have to wait for another day.
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