Pop Culture: Summer of 2013 Edition

Laura Mooney, Arts Editor

While the students were relaxing and out enjoying their summers, the entertainment industry and pop culture were hard at work creating the “next big things” in movies, books, video games and more, dishing out exciting announcements, box office-shattering releases, internet sensations, and some shocking revelations. Here were some of the biggest and best events of summer 2013.

 

J.K. Rowling Reveals Alias

Possibly some of the strangest news of the summer, an unassuming crime novel entitled The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, originally released early 2013, was skyrocketed to super stardom when it was revealed in July that Galbraith was in fact a pseudonym for Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. When the news was released that Rowling had written a “secret book” of sorts, fans of the author rushed out to purchase the novel without question. Overnight the once unheard of novel was launched onto bestseller lists all around the world, including topping the New York Times bestseller list mere weeks after being released. While Rowling claimed the reveal was due to an unwanted leak from her law firm, one cannot deny that the mistake only increased Rowling’s already massive reputation, while providing deviation from once just being known as the Harry Potter author.

 

The Internet Goes Vine Crazy

Who would have known that a phone app dedicated to amazingly short videos would ever hold its own against an online video giant like YouTube? But in a generation where attention spans are continually growing shorter and shorter, you have to admit the creator of Vine was probably a genius. Initially released in January 2013, Vine simply allowed users to record videos, much like any other recording app. The catch? Users could only record six seconds at a time. As the year progressed, average users, YouTube sensations, and well-known actors all rose gloriously to the challenge of creating a work of comedy in such a restricted period of time. Soon hundreds of thousands of “Vines” began to circulate on the app, and by summertime many of the shockingly creative video clips had progressed to internet stardom as the next great hit. Compilation videos began to go viral, as the best six second clips, such as Will Sasso’s “Lemons” and KingBach’s “How Thugs Shower”, were grouped together to showcase the best of what the app users had to offer. Soon the Vine compilation videos skyrocketed up to 40 million views on YouTube and continue to climb higher each day. While this trend may not survive the year, it is definitely a defining internet moment of summer 2013. It is worth checking out the “Best Vine Compilations” on YouTube while their star is still burning bright.

 

Xbox One Finally Announced! But Do the Gamers Rejoice?

The cries of dedicated gamers and fans all across North America filled the air when in June 2013 at the E3 conference in Los Angeles, game console heavyweights Sony and Microsoft finally announced their greatly anticipated system successors. However, not all of the reveals were met with good reception, with one of the announcements in particular sparking controversy and raising eyebrows about the company’s credibility and dedication to their fans. While some information about Microsoft’s Xbox One had been discussed in the past months, during their time at E3 much more information about the upcoming system was revealed. Not everything being said, however, was to the ever curious listener’s liking. New so- called features were being introduced; the Kinect having to be connected at all times, the limitations being placed on lending or sharing games with friends, having to log in at least once per day. This caused many dedicated Microsoft fans to ask questions about privacy in one’s own home, because the Kinect camera would be on at all times, and incited outrage when they realized they could no longer loan their friend the game disc to play, instead the friend would now have to buy a digital copy, or play on the game owner’s account. To top everything off, the Xbox One also revealed a price tag that was one hundred dollars heftier than their main competitor, the PlayStation 4. However, after much explaining and defense of their system, Microsoft rose to the occasion, listened to their fan- base’s criticisms, and made the necessary changes. While both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are due out late this fall, only time will tell if Microsoft successfully did enough to be the top gaming console of the year, or if the Xbox gamers will finally switch their allegiances.