Celebrating East African Writing!

Popular Culture

Great works of fiction will invariably reflect aspects of the writer’s culture in different degrees depending on the writer’s purpose. On the other hand, works of fiction have an influence in the evolving culture of its readers.

A Professor in Literature once cited the Vampire Cult in Los Angeles as an example of this effect to his students. Born from the Vampire legends in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, stories of the mythological beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures were popularised in the early 19th Century by authors such as Bram Stoker in Count Dracula.


Since then popular culture has seen more books and films about Vampires, including the recent teen/young adult targeted Buffy and the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Vampire Diaries. It is also reflected in music, with more than 100 vampire songs appearing in contemporary music, mainly in the rock genre, in the last decade, ranging from the superlative to the execrable. One light example is John Mayer’s remake of Tom Petty’s original Free Falling, which makes a cursory reference to Bad Boys and Vampires lurking in the shadows.

The Vampire Cult evolved from film and literature fans, into an underground cult of blood-drinking people, usually young adults who identify as extreme Goths.

Shocked? Look around you. Popular music, fashion, and even mind-sets are being molded by what people read, and watch. That’s how powerful the written word can be. Inversely, great fiction though molded by creative skill, reflects in a loop the culture around the writer. Even when a writer creates an alternate universe, the familiar is what draws the audience.

Something for you to think about.

So let’s have a look at this week’s readings:

We begin with a continuation of Set me Free by Clifford Oluoch: “I am David Mavita’s daughter,” I replied in a low tone. The guard straightened up and his look changed to amusement, his lips curling into a wry smile.

Then we go on to Oliver Mathenge’s From My Mother’s Kitchen: “Why did the teachers have to embarrass me like that? Why can’t my parent be rich enough? Why is it that no one cares?” he thought to himself.

Irinah Wanderi has a bit of an opinion editorial about Milk: We call it a milk glut, thousands of Litres of milk poured on Pachamama. Having explored all options, it was decided that the only use of excess milk is offering a libation to the ancestors.

We close this week’s readings with If Life lets you live… : My grandmother wrote notes. A few weeks before she died, she wrote me a note that pretty much summed up everything she wanted me to remember.

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Have an excellent week!


One comment on “Popular Culture

  1. Joseph R. Alila
    June 1, 2010

    Kudos storymoja. You are doing a good service to budding writers and future authors. Keep it up.

    JR Alila


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This entry was posted on May 17, 2010 by in Writing.
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