Pre-coffee thought for the day:
One of the reasons pop culture -- even something as asinine as Gilligan's Island -- is important is, in the 20th century, it was a unifying point for our society. Even if we didn't agree on much else, we could discuss and find common ground about what we saw on TV last night. It was a basis for shared experience and discussion.
Nowadays, like everything else, most pop culture is niche marketed. Music, TV, and to a lesser extent films, all have smaller and more select audiences. Pop culture isn't something we can all discuss anymore.
I'm not blaming anyone for this, but it's interesting that most people, even the people that are supposedly being targeted, find the current state of the media, all media, unsatisfactory. And I'm asking myself if it's because it no longer a unifying force in our culture? There's no question that a lot of the decline in the quality of the media has to do with (a) needing to appeal to the widest slice of a declining audience and (b) failing that, making a product that's as inexpensive as possible.
There are times I try, for the sake of being in touch with what's around me, to engage more fully in new music...but so much of pop radio now is either recycled ideas from the past (taking an old song and laying a beat or a rap over it), or recycling itself (using one beat and one chord sequence and just varying the dynamics or the melody). And you can call me old school, and that's fine, but without saying "it sucks" in a knee-jerk way, if there is an audience for that, it has to say something about how much people engage in what they're listening to anymore.
I'm not trying to grind my own axe here, because I was thinking more about TV than music when this thought hit me. I'm just thinking out loud.