When it comes to choosing college courses, they say it’s always best to study what you’re interested in. No offence to higher learning or anything but Theory of Communications doesn’t sound as interesting as, let’s say, a course on rappers Jay Z and Kanye West’s friendship.
Funny thing is that’s actually a bonafide course. Titled “English 2169: Jay Z and Kanye West,” the course will look at the pair’s bromance from three different perspectives:
“1. Where do they fit within, and how do they change, the history of hip-hop music?
2. How is what they do similar to and different from what poets do?
3. How does their rise to both celebrity and corporate power alter what we understand as the American dream?”
According to the course syllabus, students will read Jay Z’s book, Decoded, listen to music, watch videos, read critical theories on rap and study how poetry works.
Wait. Hold on. Let us get this straight: if we were students in that course, we get to watch music videos in class and talk about Kanye West, Jay Z, and, we’re going to assume, Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Kim Kardashian and North West? Sign. Us. Up.
But that wouldn’t be the only class we would take. Here are five totally made-up classes we would be at least ten minutes early for (as long as it doesn’t start at 8:30 in the morning):
A History of Boy Bands
From the Jackson Five to One Direction, this class would examine the evolution of boy bands. Students will familiarize themselves with the topic at hand by listening to music by various boy bands (including but not limited to New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync) watching select episodes of E!’s The True Hollywood Story, the One Direction documentary This Is Us, episodes of The Wanted Life and music videos. Students will engage in discussions of the ebb and flow in the popularity of boy bands, marketing, stereotypes and musical stylings.
A Look In The Life of Justin Bieber
This course will study modern celebrity culture through the lens of Justin Bieber’s meteoric rise to fame. In addition to listening to a selection of his music and accompanying music videos, we will also watch the documentaries Never Say Never, Believe, read former child actress Mara Wilson’s (Matilda) article “7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider’s Perspective),” and hold discussions on social media’s effect on today’s young celebrities.
A History of Boy Girl Groups
Like “A History of Boy Bands,” this course will look critically at the rise of girl group as we study groups like the Supremes, the Spice Girls and Little Mix. We will do so by discussing where they fit in the pop culture spectrum, what societal expectations they are forced to compete with, any common messages they may have and their musical influences.
Are We Really Keeping Up With The Kardashians?
Reality TV show’s first family, The Kardashians, have helped usher in a different kind of celebrity into the pop culture landscape. While the family’s infamy mostly stems from sister Kim Kardashian’s leaked sex tape (and whose father, the late Robert Kardashian, was O.J. Simpson’s lawyer), they have managed to turn their personalities into viable businesses with mother Kris Jenner at the helm. This course will attempt to flesh out why society is so interested in a group of people without traditional showbiz talents (acting, singing, etc.) by watching episodes of their reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, examining their tabloid coverage, business endorsements and social media uses.