Monday, June 4, 2007

Pop goes the culture

I'm late getting into "The Sopranos." For some reason it never caught my attention in its formative years. But with the all hoopla about this being its last season, I've made it a point to watch the most recent batch of episodes, including last night's penultimate program in which a gang war claimed the life of Tony's brother-in-law/lieutenant and all but did in chief aide Silvio (better known to many of us as Little Steven of Springsteen's E-Street Band fame).

Maybe it's because I haven't watched from the beginning that I've been disappointed. The acting is first-rate, to be sure. James Gandolfini, Edie Falco and crew couldn't be better. But I've found the story line rather unimaginative.

Put another way, "The Sopranos" is quality TV, but not "The Godfather" in my book.

Here's the tie-in to the world of newspapers: Should they be covering "The Sopranos" or any of the other pop culture ventures that catch America's attention as if they were "real news"?

We had the winner of "American Idol" (I've already forgotten her name) on Page 1. Did the editors make the decision? "Dancing With the Stars"? A day late on the Life page. "Survivor"? Covered early in its run, less so now that it seems to have cooled off.

You get the point. Are these legitimate news stories? People are talking about them, you say. Is that enough of an excuse to sanction them?

The world economy? Boring. Paris Hilton? Hot!

Are newspapers contributing to the dumbing down of America when they cover the pop culture or do they risk hastening their demise if they ignore it?

What say you?
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