All posts by Alejandro Zuleta

Supernatural: Kinda Racist

The media’s representation of black men is anything but flattering: news covering black men continually depicts them as dangerous and out-of-control. Even as victims, their positions are often painted as suspicious to the point of being hostile against others. Police officers take part in this dominant view on black men with their perpetual confrontational encounters, which in this modern day almost inevitably leads to fatal endings. Due to the black working-class tradition of young, black boys escaping early boyhood into black masculinity, society’s understanding deems them as threats. This understanding elaborates the way a stereotypical leash restricts young black men who do not categorize into the white, bourgeois population. The benefit of the doubt given to those who do not share their melanin, but not themselves—a translation of the doubt placed on their characters due to their dissimilar skin tones—explains the scenarios that deem these young black boys as threats because of how their background has already forced them to understand and experience, and therefore become a part of, the adult world. Adult black men who are characterized as holding this predisposition to violence are rarely detached from this position in both the media and the culture industry. In general, black men are made compatible with violence in the minds of people. An experiment was conducted in order to analyze whether an individual’s race would determine the variation in effects of exposure to violent media information. Notably, “for Black defendants, participants exposed to violent information made attributions of his behavior that were more dispositional than those exposed to nonviolent information” (Johnson et al). While the media depicts these clichés and general beliefs rather vividly, cultural products often possess blatant undertones that remain unacknowledged. Supernatural, an American fantasy horror television series created in 2005, has obscure racially-biased aspects with its rare representations of black men within the show. Two of the relatively recurrent black characters that appear in the series—before and around season four—embody the stereotypically aggressive identity given to black men in the media. The stories of both Gordon Walker, a former vampire hunter, and Uriel, an angel, in the show can be analyzed to understand how the attached meanings to their biological features transfer to media.

Gordon Walker, at the age of eighteen, became a vampire hunter when a vampire broke into his home and abducted his sister. At eighteen, instead of going off to college or joining the workforce, he went to go fight supernatural beings. Every kid’s dream, right? After running away from home, Walker eventually tracked down the vampire who kidnapped his sister and killed him. His sister, who had also turned into a vampire, was also killed by him. From then on, Walker remained a hunter, ruthlessly slaughtering every vampire he encountered, an idealistic lifestyle for someone filled with a desire of vengeance, who’s had his sister and life ripped away from him by blood-sucking creatures. Eventually, he encountered Dean and Sam, the two protagonists of the show; Dean and Sam Winchester are hunters who find and kill—or exorcise—any supernatural threats. Walker and the Winchester brothers quickly come into conflict when their disparate mindsets clash. Walker’s eagerness to brutally murder and torture vampires, who have extricated themselves from drinking human blood, repulses the brothers, leading to his fight with Dean. Dean wins, ties him up, and leaves him alone for someone else to find him.

Walker, as the only relevant black man in Supernatural so far, overshadows his traumatic experience with vampires as the leading factor in his belligerent temperament. Perhaps the brothers’ encounter with Walker would have ended there, but a few weeks after their previous meeting, in the process of exorcising a demon, Walker learns of Sam’s identity as a psychic soldier meant to fight on the demon’s side of an upcoming war. For someone who has not watched the show, Walker’s actions would probable seem justifiable; Walker vows to kill off all of the psychics, starting with Sam. The problem is that Walker stops at nothing to achieve his goals. His chauvinistic desire for justice and annihilation of evil forces, stemming from his first vampire murders, dulled his sense of right and wrong. His reputation preceded him for being an individual who brings harm to himself and those around him. This reputation and Walker’s combative nature simply lead back to society’s own conceptions of black men. Walker’s own reasons for his temperament and society’s reasons are paralleled to delineate black men in a negative light. Sam succeeds in surviving his encounter with Walker as he utilizes one of the most well-known oppositions to black men—the police. The police arrive and place Walker under arrest, which leave him as a ticking time bomb.

Walker reappears once again in season three, persuading another hunter to break him out of prison. Ironically, during his hunt for Sam, he is captured and turned into a vampire. His fellow hunter, who had vowed to help, tried to kill him once Walker told him of his transformation. Unsurprisingly, with his newfound strength, Walker kills him instead and continues to hunt Sam. He uses a young girl as bait, turning her into a vampire as well. In the end, Sam arrives and decapitates him during their fight. Finally, Sam has gotten rid of the murderous, obsessive black man. Walker’s death symbolized the biased struggle between black men and white men. From his back-story to his deranged state at the time of his death, the only significant black man in the series thus far died as his existence put others in peril. Slowly, he became more monstrous as his obsession overcame him, kidnapping a young girl and turning her into a vampire—similar to what happened to his sister. He became what he hated and eventually had to be killed.

As a representative tragic black American story, Walker’s storyline parallels similar situations outside of supernatural fiction; police officers, as certain representatives of society, view black men fearfully and as menaces. Thus, when prison fails to achieve its purpose, death is the next option, an option that sometimes even supersedes prison.

With Supernatural’s portrayal of Walker, they have, knowingly or unknowingly, presented a bias against black men, a situation that proceeds with their depiction of Uriel, an angel. Uriel, who first appeared in season four, is introduced as a “specialist,” an angel who does the dirty work and murders innocents if necessary. As Sam and Dean fail to kill a dangerous witch, Uriel is brought in to exterminate the entire town in order to ensure her death. Uriel is Supernatural’s second important black character, but instead of acting as an agent of benevolence, his identity as an angel is a guise to his true destructive nature and capabilities. His insistence and disregard of human lives demonstrates his true character. The show, instead of breaking their previous bias, render Uriel as another example of a black man’s threatening nature.

Uriel appeared consistently in the show throughout the fourth season. He comes into repeated conflict with the Winchester brothers as he shows disdain for humans. Eventually, the brothers meet Anna, who they figure is out is an angel who escaped her duties from heaven. When Uriel and Castiel, a compassionate and humanitarian angel, find her, they attempt to kill her. The contrast between the two angels in this scene is shown when Uriel displays a greater passion to kill, while Castiel presents a greater reluctance in killing her. From Walker to Uriel, Supernatural has created a disharmonious impression between black men and white men, whether it be in their temperaments or in their actions. Later, Castiel suspects Uriel of the angel killings that had been occurring since the angels’ first appearance. As Castiel suspected, Uriel was killing the other angels who failed to cooperate with his wishes; he was gathering more for Lucifer, who he believed to care more about the angels’ well-being than their Father, who favored humanity above them. While Uriel tries to persuade Castiel to join him, Castiel refuses in disgust of Uriel and attacks him. Their fight eventually results in Uriel’s victory, but when he was about to kill Castiel, Anna appeared and stabbed him in the neck from behind.

The second major black character in Supernatural suffered a similar fate; both Walker and Uriel thus represent the show’s biased relationship with black men.

In the way that Lord of the Rings, another visible proponent of racial undertones, possessed an entirely white group of male protagonists, Supernatural follows suit, purging both Walker and Uriel—two black men whose roles suggested humane and honorable champions of mankind—from the cast. The hunter who saved lives, but turned into a vampire and cold-blooded killer, and the angel who was meant to protect humanity, but instead sided with Lucifer in an attempt to bring upon the apocalypse, were made into sick antagonists, perpetuating the notion of black aggression and malevolence. Their transformation into fiendish characters as a result of their storylines also reshapes them into becoming a part of the horror that Supernatural boasts. The fear of black violence stems from the antebellum period, where popular antislavery narrative suggested violent retaliation against white Americans—a main reason as to why this type of racial bias would occur in an American show (Roth). However, it was through those narratives that black men could retaliate against the oppressive atmosphere of slavery. Now, the fear of black violence remains and only suggests a greater horror, an indicator of how accurately placed Walker and Uriel were in a fantasy horror series such as Supernatural.

Although Supernatural was created after Lord of the Rings, an important factor to note when discussing racial undertones in cultural products due to the majority difference of ideals in time periods, the indiscrete biased methods of representation of black men are similar. In their conceptions of race and the black man’s persona, their obnoxious representation of what a black man is, what he does, and how he should be dealt with is repugnant. Their solution to this misperceived natural savagery would be their subsequent death. As a fervent fan of Supernatural, remaining indifferent to what can be easily recognizable as racially prejudiced within the first four seasons of the show is unreasonable. It is within these undertones that cultural products’ representation of black men is comparable to the media’s representation of black men to the extent of being worse, as it chronicles their descent into evil based on the pigmentation of their skin.



An earlier draft of this essay was read by: Francesca D’Arista.

I have written this essay in the style of Greg Tate.



Johnson, James D., et al. “Race, Media, and Violence: Differential Racial Effects of Exposure to

Violent News Stories.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology, vol. 19, no. 1, 1997, pp. 81–90.

Roth, Sarah N. “‘How a Slave Was Made a Man’: Negotiating Black Violence and Masculinity

in Antebellum Slave Narratives.” Slavery &Amp; Abolition, vol. 28, no. 2, 2007, pp. 255–275.

Pokemon as Utopia

Pokémon has a certain allure to children, notably through its commercial success. In the first year alone, Pokémon merchandise accounted for one billion dollars of profit in the United States alone (Li-Vollmer 2). Today, it has expanded into one of the largest entertainment franchises in the world. Any child would be enamored by the possibility of living in a world where you could travel to your heart’s desire, befriend and control mythical creatures possessing extraordinary abilities, and live freely with few restraints barring you from your dreams. By ten years, in the Pokémon world, any child could acquire their first Pokémon and head out and explore the world and encounter new and exciting adventures. In such a world, even adults would be tempted by such an opportunity. Adults in the Pokémon world must have also set off on their own journey; it seems as if this is just a perpetuating tradition, to allow ten year olds to tour the world and figure out what they want to do with their lives. At least in the anime, a style of Japanese animation, no adults really ever seem unsatisfied with their lives. The possibilities are simply endless, as there is never any indication of a lack of ability to do whatever you want. Does this qualify Pokémon as a utopia? Everyone in the world seems to have whatever they want, so is Pokémon actually a better world with cute, supernatural creatures?

The possibilities in career and life opportunities delve into utopian aspects. Richard Dyer, author of Entertainment and Utopia, juxtaposed social tensions, inadequacies, and absences with their utopian solutions. Possibilities in the Pokémon relate to these two contrasting categories; “Energy (work and play synonymous)…Intensity (open, spontaneous, honest communications and relationships)…Transparency (open, spontaneous, honest communications…)…Community (…collective activity)” (Dyer 278). These are the utopian solutions to exhaustion, dreariness, manipulation and fragmentation respectively. In the Pokémon world, through the connection of Pokémon, everyday tasks are changed.  Work is no longer simple labor, life is no longer monotonous (especially with the always available possibility of travel), political opposition is no longer oppressive, and communities are no longer disconnected. Pokémon, as a source of entertainment, follows this analysis, which Dyer terms as, “offer[ing] some explanation of why entertainment works” (278). Although, as he also admits, and as Pokémon follows as proof, class, patriarchal, and sexual struggles are omitted and denied validity through this analysis. This is due to entertainment responding “to real needs created by society” (278). Yet, it still supports the utopian solutions that do exist for problems in today’s society.

With the freedom of choice in life paths, it would only feel obvious that the Pokémon world possessed stable economies and governments. But oddly enough, Pokémon lacks the appearance of any visible currency. Banks never appear in the television series. The economy, however it may be, cannot be determined at all; and from the knowledge given by the series, no forms of government exist either. Without such necessary constituents to a fully-functioning society, the Pokémon world has not collapsed. Instead, it has thrived into a utopic society seemingly free from major conflicts—but the truth is that the agglomeration of these utopian aspects cannot fully guarantee a perfect world.

Although major wealth gaps appear in the show, riches are minor luxuries in the world of Pokémon, where they may be easily acquirable. Affluent individuals can be distinguished from the average man. In multiple episodes of the anime, the main characters, led by Ash Ketchum, often stumble upon wealthy families with large mansions and wide plains of land owned by them. Professor Oak, a regional professor and scientist, is responsible for giving new trainers their first Pokémon. As a regional professor, he easily garners enough wealth to be considered to be one of the richest people in the region. Yet no significant social class differences appear. While some individuals remain rich and presumably powerful, never are they placed above others, which may or may not be just a consequence of utopian solutions implementing themselves to needs created by society, but defines and delimits too clearly “the legitimate needs of people in this society” (278). However, the lack of social class dynamics may also be taken as a utopian solution to social divides in society. Either way, wealth is not a determining factor in this consequence.

In the show, hard currency is never even seen. We know of the characters going out to purchase things, but never do we see a hint of a purse or credit card. The absence of currency is a statement to show that while money is present in Pokémon, it is by no means an important facet of the world. Some people may not possess as much wealth as others, but it does not diminish their own happiness and opportunities. As noted by Richard Dyer, the utopian solution to scarcity would be “abundance ([the] elimination of poverty for self and others; equal distribution of wealth)” (Dyer 277). Although wealth is not equally distributed, poverty is effectively eliminated in the show. Not a single instance occurs in the show where we can see a person stricken by poverty. By purposefully discluding any currency, Pokémon attempts to reinforce its own utopian aspects.

With the freedom granted in the Pokémon world, people have a variety of options to choose from. Close to no restrictions appear in this world, although some laws, or rules, are present throughout the regions even with the lack of a government. For example, trainers require trainer licenses in order to capture and train Pokémon. By neglecting or purposefully harming their Pokémon, these licenses may be taken away. In a perfect world, things such as these would not even need to occur. However, consequences to reckless decisions cannot be avoided. The existence of this problem does not detract from the argument that the Pokémon world is a utopia, it simply comprises another minor argument over the negative aspects in an otherwise utopian world.

Another interesting observation is the fact that healthcare is accessible to everyone without cost. Pokémon battles, the most popular sport of the Pokémon world, often end with numerous injuries to both sides as Pokémon engage in unpredictable combat although usually never ending with serious wounds. By going to the Pokémon Center, basically a Pokémon hospital, the treatment is quick, never costing any money as well.

Even though the amount of wealth an individual may possess may easily exceed another’s, not much monetary value actually exists in the show. Above all, Pokémon could be said to be more valuable than any quantity of money.

Although the Pokémon world is not home to overwhelming amounts of crime, crime is still inevitable. Pokémon poachers and crime syndicates manage to steal and cause harm to both people and Pokémon. However, there has been a lack of initiative to form larger police forces. Minor police forces exist in each town and city, but there has not been any organized force capable of stopping crime syndicates in the Pokémon world. One organization is present as a peacekeeper in the world, but its members do not engage crime unless it involves the endangerment of Legendaries, Pokémon vastly stronger than normal ones, who are also important to the natural order of the world, or the possibility of a massive loss of lives (given that they even possess the knowledge of such events). The only force who fights against these organized crime groups is Ash Ketchum, the protagonist, and his group of friends.

In every season, Ash faces off against these dangerous groups who wish to change the world through unleashing the power of Legendary Pokémon, who have the power akin to natural disasters. Although usually successful, the fate of the world rests on his shoulders time and time again. Rarely do people recognize the fact that without him, the regions would have been thrown into conflict and tragedy on multiple occasions. Arguably, the Pokémon world could be said to be a utopia for the general population. Besides having to labor to reach their goals, their lives could be said to be in paradise. However, the existence of the crime syndicates contradicts this point. These criminal groups were formed with one major goal in mind: change the world into a “better” one. Usually, this goal was just an excuse in order to mask their real purpose of taking over and becoming the ruling power. Unknowing of the difficulties in the world, the viewers are unable to figure out what major problems are present and if said goals ever had substance. Rather, only until the Unova region was the purpose clear for this specific group. At least for the other criminal groups, we could infer that the leaders possessed a strong desire for power. However, Team Plasma, the group inhabiting Unova, had a goal to “liberate” all Pokémon.

Although the relationship between people and Pokémon is harmonious for the majority of the show, the mistreatment of Pokémon is not an unfamiliar issue. In the first few episodes of the first season, we encounter a young Charmander, a reptilian-like fire Pokémon, sitting on a rock in the rain. Charmanders have flames on the tips of their tales, which signify their lives—if put out, the Charmander’s life could fade away. The Charmander that Ash and his friends found was heavily bruised and close to death because of the rain pouring on his tail. Later, after Ash rushes to the closest Pokémon Center to save its life, we find out that a trainer, those who train Pokémon to make them stronger, abandoned it because it was too weak. This reckless decision almost cost this Charmander its life. At the end, Team Plasma was corrupted and one of its leaders coveted power, thus trying to have him be the sole Pokémon master. However, its goal was not without basis. In a world where Pokémon place immense trust on their trainers, their ill-treatment is not as uncommon as it should be.

The utopia that Pokémon portrays is damaged by factors such as these. In the show, Pokémon are not just wild creatures. Some possess the ability to talk, as in speak human language, or to freely communicate with people. By terming their capture and training as enslavement, the view on this matter would be looking at it as the enslavement of an intelligent species. It is necessary, however, to look at the options of captured Pokémon as voluntary in most cases. Common knowledge in the show dictates that Pokémon acknowledge and strive for strength or companionship. Normal Pokéballs, small red-white balls used to capture Pokémon, are unable to hold a Pokémon if they truly wanted to escape. However, many choose to stay. As such, it is also necessary to acknowledge the mutual gain. The capturing and training of Pokémon actually functions as a reverse argument—both Pokémon and trainer accept this relationship in order to create a situation in which they can both benefit. This ideal can be looked upon as utopian; trainers seek to capture Pokémon to raise as strong companions to compete with others and Pokémon seek to grow stronger, a feat made possible by trainers.

Although a few occasions do occur where the idea of utopia may be challenged, for the most part, utopian aspects permeate throughout the Pokémon world. Freedom and accessibility to all paths with a general satisfaction with the state of being throughout the regions is the biggest utopian aspect of Pokémon. The reason why Pokémon was able to create such commercial success was due to the wondrous characteristics of the Pokémon world. From its release in 1996, where trading cards, manga interpretations and an anime soon followed due to the popularity of the franchise (History),  to the selling of “Diamond” and “Pearl” games in Japan reaching five million after only a few months ten years later, Pokémon has continued to be a source of entertainment offered as an immersive alternative (Bulik). Its utopian aspects have allowed it to display a world much better than our own. In this world, freedom is paramount to its citizens, health care is available to everyone, crime is not an overwhelming issue, and the general population savor their experiences as youths and later grow up to fulfill their own roles obligingly.


This essay was read by Samuel Gilman. It is not a first draft.


Beth, Snyder Bulik. “Nintendo Unleashes Full Force of Pokémon.” Advertising Age78.17 (2007): 6. ProQuest. Web. 14 Nov. 2017.

Dyer, Richard. Only Entertainment. Routledge, 1992.

“History of Pokémon.” Bulbapedia, the Community-Driven Pokémon Encyclopedia, Bulbapedia, 13 Nov. 2017, C3.A9mon.

Li-Vollmer, Meredith. “The Pokémon Phenomenon: A Case Study of Media Influence and Audience Agency in Children’s Consumer Culture.” Order No. 3053532 University of Washington, 2002. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 13 Nov. 2017.

Powerful Messages in Pop Culture

Perfection is what humans inevitably strive to accomplish in their lives for even the most menial tasks—and the Great Works are the means to do so. Through the Great Works of art and of literature, people can become the best versions of themselves and of humanity. Matthew Arnold, one of the proponents of this idea, believes in the power that inspirational authors and artists have in their works to change peoples’ lives. Through this belief, Arnold describes the human necessity to seek perfection through constant improvement of oneself and those around him or herself, which he describes as “culture.” As he unravels this concept in his writing, he says, “But the aspirations of culture, which is the study of perfection, are not satisfied, unless what men say, when they may say what they like, is worth saying,—as good in it, and more good than bad” (Arnold 38).

This view is undoubtedly the manifestation of Arnold’s belief in moral realism—the belief of the objective and independent standards of what is right or wrong in terms of what can lead us into our own happiness. Through the constant self-improvement of human beings, they work towards their goal of being happy; because whether people know it or not, some things are meant to positively or negatively attribute to your happiness, even when you yourself do not realize it. Arnold enforces the ideology of what constitutes this belief—the ideology of human perfection—by advocating for the things that ultimately lead us into this path, the Great Works of art and of literature.

Yet, what are these Great Works and why are they alone considered the passageway towards a better future? Are these Great Works considered to be based solely on the works of the past? Can today’s culture be a part of them? How does one begin to strive for human perfection—and happiness—without the means? Some people are still unable to read and write in today’s world. Most of the time, the majority of people cannot afford to bother with the Great Works. In today’s world, it is not uncommon to see many individuals in the working-class struggle to barely support themselves and their families. In this case, if one struggles solely on this, how can they even begin to think about the inequity of their current condition; of the means needed to improve their lives to a standard worth living? If these great works are not readily accessible to everyone, will those who cannot obtain them ever be able to progress in this journey? And if there are groups of people who are lacking the ability to progress, then is human perfection still achievable? After all, human perfection requires social unity to be achieved. Without a universal capability to do so, humanity would never be able to achieve the state of “what men say, when they may say what they like, is worth saying” (38). It is difficult to answer what is the correct way to go about constant improvement, especially when not many alternatives are not made known. But perhaps Arnold failed to identify some of the merits that exist in today’s culture, with its broad capabilities in spreading information through the use of media, and some of the facets that leave pop culture desirable to most.

Arnold and F. R. Leavis, another major advocate for the importance of literature, both agree that art and literature of exceptionally high standards are a “salvation” to people because of the pre-industrialized mode in which it is conveyed in an industrial society, which they deem to be a self-detrimental weapon, due to its widespread dehumanization and desensitization of people. And while Arnold sides with the necessity of social unity to achieve the objective of culture, Leavis has instead adopted a more channeled focus on the minority of people who can, in the end, save Western Civilization (Leavis 1). Although these two points contrast in the means to achieve so, they share the same goal to strive for human perfection—or, in other words, to save Western Civilization through the use of the Great Works. The Great Works are the classics in which Arnold and Leavis both advocate for and although they mostly refer to past works, they leave the possibility of exceptions in modern art and literature. Popular culture, on the other hand, is neglected and ignored, as it is believed to serve no purpose in establishing positive connections to what they define as saving the Western Civilization or the path to human perfection.

Pop culture is looked unfavorably upon because of what it represents. Contemporary pop culture is the result of the industrial societies, who have overshadowed the traditional societies that provided a richer culture. It is understandable why, however, Arnold and Leavis feel so strongly about this, as the industrialization of societies have destroyed the deeper sense of interconnection between people. As such, it is easy to lose focus of the merits of an industrialized society in the midst of its inhumane capabilities—of which render it able to have humans ignore the plights of others and instead treat these plights as common occurrences with no relation to themselves, a stark contrast to traditional societies where people recognize and feel, where people are unified. It is also easy to compare this situation with a quote from Joseph Stalin, Marxist and former dictator of the Soviet Union, where he once said, “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” In this quote, he refers to the disconnect that people feel with a large number of casualties. With one individual, it is possible to get to know more about him or her and feel sorrow for them. However, once the numbers reach the point that humans find it difficult to relate to, the compassion people hold may find itself to be severely cut off. This is how Arnold and Leavis find industrialization. Due to the dehumanization that often characterizes industrial society, people no longer feel as sense of sympathy or compassion to one another, feeling disconnected from everyone else. People do not recognize, or simply do not care about, the injustices that may be occurring to those who make their clothes, or those they pass on the street, or even those who live right beside them. Looking at it from this point of view, pop culture is simply self-destructive.

But the facet of pop culture that so brings people to a level of culture is through media—much of which was made possible through industrialization. Although Arnold and Leavis preach looking for classic literature in order to imitate living as a non-industrial person in an industrial society, they fail to recognize the merits brought upon this ability to communicate so broadly with others. Media has given humans the ability to interact with someone on the other side of the hemisphere. People from different cities, countries, and backgrounds are able to speak to each other simply by dialing a number on a cellphone or sending a quick text message through Facebook. They are able to find information of virtually anything on the Internet. And even with those people, who are not as privileged as others, who are unable to afford these luxuries, messages can still be sent out to them through this pop culture. And within this pop culture, examples—of which not only fail to provide anything beneficial to our lives but instead may react negatively with us— that argue against its very essence are common, from rappers to athletes who are infamously known for their problems with drugs, domestic abuse, and more. Examples in pop culture, which preach messages that are beneficial in guiding people towards a better life, are also not nonexistent, however.

Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, otherwise known as Logic, is a famous American rapper, songwriter, and record producer, who became internationally-renowned for one of his most recent songs, “1-800-273-8255,” named after the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPF) and featuring other well-known artists, such as Alessia Cara and Khalid.

In this song, Logic goes from being the voice of a desperate teenage-boy contemplating suicide to a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hoping to persuade the boy otherwise. The music video tells the real story, of a young black male struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in the face of bullying from his teammates on his track team and the disapproval of his father. Once his father found out about his sexuality, the disappointment and anger were too much to face for the teenager, as he ran away and even became homeless for a period of time. Although he does gain some support from his track coach and teacher, his coach could not do much until he talked to the boy’s father, convincing and talking to him about the things his son was going through. The black teenager ends up going to the house of his attraction, a white boy from school, and sleeping with him after having dinner with his family. At this point, the father of the other boy finds them, leaving both teenagers distressed. The black boy rushes out, while the father of the other helps him out, although visibly disappointed. The story of the music video has thus covered the distress that may often occur when faced with a different sexuality than what others may expect, while advocating for interracial relationships and confirming for others that it is not an abnormality to have these things happen to you.



Through all this confusion and pain and frustration that the boy goes through, he finds life too difficult to go through. Without knowing what to do, he brings a gun to his, coming close to ending his life.

Near the end, however, he wishes for and finds a glimpse of hope by calling the NSPF. And as this progression occurs, the lyrics change, from the young boy’s perspective, from “I don’t want to be alive” to “I don’t wanna cry anymore, I wanna feel alive, I don’t even wanna die anymore.” By realizing that there was support out there, somewhere, he stopped himself from killing himself. At the end, we can see him marrying, who we presume to be, his teenage crush with his parents supporting him by his side, and then holding a baby with his parents and husband. The message this music video sends is for everyone to hear. It tells you, that no matter where you are and what kind of place you are in, you are not alone. Even when you do not know what to do, there is still hope at the end. This message struck me as one of the best aspects of pop culture.

This piece breaches the rigidness and insensitivity that people have built up in response to this industrialized age and spreads a message to an international audience. In the past, in a pre-industrialized society, it would have been far too difficult to send this type of message—both because of people’s prejudices of the time and because of its magnitude. The dehumanization of others is thus challenged, as Logic shoves this story into the eyes of the world and forces them to recognize issues that no one wants to address. He plays on their emotions by sending them images of a boy trying to run away from everything that causes him pain, directly relating him with so many people who have tried to do the same, while also forcing them to recognize the consequences that their negligence on the issue may cause. Classic literature could not encompass such a wide audience, simply due to its constraints, of having the time to read such pieces or of having the ability to read and write, and further into understanding what usually comes across as cryptic messages. That is not to say that the classics and the Great Works are unable to fulfill their purpose, but it is to say that pop culture is not completely without merit, possessing the ability to spread the messages that perhaps the Great Works could not, in the way that Logic did—through media.

Works Cited

Arnold, Matthew, and Jane Garnett. Culture and Anarchy. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Bentley, Eric. The Importance of Scrutiny: Selection from Scrutiny: a Quarterly Review, 1932-

  1. 1948. New York University Press, 1964.

LogicVEVO. “Logic – 1-800-273-8255 Ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Aug.