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Experiencing a Collective Culture

Noah Munck, Jerry Trainor, Miranda Cosgrove, Nathan Kress, and Jennette McCurdy in iCarly on Nickelodeon. Photo: Williams + Hirakawa/ Nickelodeon. ©2010 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

By Jahnavi Rao, Staff Reporter

There are a lot of beautiful things on this planet. A newborn baby’s cry, the sky when it stops raining, your waiter arriving at the table with food. But I think the most beautiful ‘thing’ of all is collective youth culture. At least where here where most of us grew up, there are references that we make that everyone gets. We grew up on Spongebob and iCarly and Wizards of Waverly Place, and we can throw around lines and references that people just get.

I spend a lot of time at music events, and we often have to room with people who attend different schools. Last year we were in Hershey, and I was in a room with two girls from Pittsburgh. I was a little nervous that we wouldn’t have anything in common, with the girls from Pittsburgh saying ‘yins’ instead of ‘you all,’ and other irreconcilable differences. But then the one girl (Alexandra) said something that brought us all together.

“Remember how an entire town in Tennessee knew Hannah Montana’s secret identity and didn’t tell anyone? That still bothers me.”

And that was the beginning of a three-day friendship that is sustained today through random Instagram tags. The event and getting to know the people there were great experiences, even though the room across from ours in the hotel burned down, and led to us being outside in the cold at 2:30 am (a story for another time). It was doubly great as it showed me the extent of our youth culture.

Things like the pacer test and handsome Squidward unite us all even while politics and pineapple-on-pizza push us apart. I hope in this divisive time we can all remember what brought us together as children: Coca-Cola gummies and how Alex’s uncle on Wizards of Waverly Place was literally Shakira.

I may be completely wrong about this, and all these references went over your head, but I do think we all have these over-layered Disney-star’s lines embedded in our heads. Let’s all take a day to quote Sky High’s ending line, and remember those shows and memories that shaped us as kids (for better or for worse).

But really, how many more child-actors will fall victim to the crime that is Disney’s wardrobes. So. Many. Layers.



Jahnavi Rao can be reached at [email protected] 

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