Two Worlds Untied
After much research on the topics of popular culture and ideology, I have came to an agreement on which I believe to be the definitions to both terms. Ideology refers to a commitment to a set of ideas and concepts and values. Popular culture is an individuals expression of ideology and social norms. I thought to myself what film gave a strong representation of both and I came up with Tim Burton’s popular film, The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Before going into my thoughts behind this movie and how it associates with ideology and popular culture I wanted to briefly explain more into depth what ideology and popular culture mean and this will help develop a basis for my explanation for the film. Popular culture is a widespread phenomenon which develops over time nationally and world wide, and constantly is changing over time. Ideology deals with, as stated above, mostly social norms and what is accepted in a social group or setting. Many examples of ideology could be gender equality, stereotypes, race equality and social class.
In the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, a mysterious town called Halloween Town, which is home to ghosts, goblins, vampires, ghouls, werewolves, and many monster like creatures, celebrate the holiday of Halloween, and are constantly thinking of more scary and spooky ideas throughout the year for their October 31st celebration. Each celebration is led by the “Pumpkin King,” Jack Skellington, but when he has grown tired of the same routine year after year, he wanders into the local forest outside the town and finds himself in the middle of 6 trees, each with a door which represents a recognizable annual holiday. Jack is drawn to one specific door, which has a Christmas tree on it, and is led to “Christmas Town”. Due to Jack’s excitement and discoveries in Christmas Town, he brings back presents, toys, and more to share with the rest of Halloween Town.
Jack calls everyone to the town hall, but after much description on the wonders of Christmas Town, the towns “creatures” fail to grasp his meaning and begin to compare everything he says to their idea of Halloween.
One of the main facets of ideology is stereotyping, because of the involvement of a shared understanding that one group has about another. The “creatures” of Halloween Town show a strong example of this, due to the fact they don’t want to accept a culture other than their own. The citizens have a skewed perception of what Christmas is based on prior assumptions and can not understand what Jack likes about it, because they have not experienced it on their own. Another element of Ideology that we can examine through this film is racial equality. Each group of individuals in each town are in some way a representation of races. The definition of race is a group of people shared by common history, language, traits, and more. If we look into this definition and the film we can see a similarity. The individuals of Halloween Town share a language in a way, a common history, and similar traits in their character and appearance, this is for Christmas Town as well. This then creates a division between the towns and inevitably shaping their ideology.
Closely listen to the lyrics, they are very crucial to my explanation.