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Playing With / No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture

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Basic Trope: Aliens have no pop-culture, only high-culture.

  • Straight: The Greyvians come to Earth and are befuddled by Earth's pop culture, having no television, video games or Teen Idol of their own.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The Greyvians have no art or literature or any kind of culture.
    • Several alien races lack pop culture.
  • Downplayed:
    • Although the Greyvians are sufficiently advanced enough to get to Earth in the first place, the pop culture of their homeworld is always (from Earth's POV) Two Decades Behind (or more).
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    • The Greyvians have some art, music, and literature that is neither religious nor classic. However, there are far fewer writers, artists, and musicians on Greyvia than on Earth, meaning that if a work becomes popular, it will likely remain popular for a lot longer than it would on Earth.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
    • The Greyvians have no Mythology or religion or anything "classic" (or at least no memory thereof), only fleeting trendy pop culture.
    • The Greyvians have more pop culture than we do, and center their lives around it.
    • Humans end up lacking any pop culture as a subjugated species. Only aliens have the luxury to maintain it.
  • Subverted:
    • The Greyvians join their new Earth-buddies in watching a TV show or listening to some music.
    • Outsiders simply think Greyvia is stuffy and repressed with no pop culture of their own, because they are only exposed to high-minded government representatives and stern military personnel. The average citizens of Greyvia, on the other hand, enjoy a thriving arts scene and mass media, but non-Greyvians almost never see any of it because the planet is remote and/or outsider access is restricted.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But back home, they don't have any of those things, and the other Greyvians back home think those things are just plain weird.
    • Or they mistake it for a religious ritual, believing that characters on TV are gods, or that an Idol Singer is some kind of priestess or goddess.
    • But little or none of that art or music is secular; it's all religious, or memorials to heroes long since passed.
    • Not any recent shows, however; they're always at least Two Decades Behind.
    • They still don't have and/or aren't allowed to have an actual pop culture of their own, but they can always just borrow from other planets.
  • Parodied: ???
  • Zig Zagged: The Greyvians have no pop culture, but their galactic neighbors the Graybians do, the Beigeans used to have pop culture but are trying to live it down, the Sludgies have pop culture but no high culture, and the Rainbowites have pop culture that's even better than Earth's.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: "We need to make our aliens as... Alien as possible!"
  • Lampshaded: "Strange how only humans seem to have pop culture."
  • Invoked: The Greyvians emphasize things like honor, and learning history and long religious epics, as well as science and technology; there doesn't seem to be a place for "fun" things like that.
  • Exploited: A human Starving Artist heads to Greyvia and becomes incredibly rich by creating Greyvian pop literature, film, and music.
  • Defied: The Greyvians recognize the need for Acceptable Breaks from Reality, and develop a pop culture.
  • Discussed: "Do you think there are rock concerts on other planets?" "No. Everyone knows aliens don't believe in entertainment."
  • Conversed: "Why don't the aliens on this show have pop culture? They should have more pop culture than we do, because they're so advanced."
  • Implied: Humans visit the planet Greyvia, and there is no sign of any pop culture.
  • Deconstructed
  • Reconstructed: The Greyvians learn to enjoy Earth's pop culture, maybe even make up their own, but they don't let it get in the way of their own values. And while they may exchange values and (if they have any) artwork and music with their new Earth-buddies, they don't impose their own (high) culture on that of Earth.
  • Played For Laughs:
  • Played For Drama: The Greyvians are Scary Dogmatic Aliens who disapprove of Terran pop culture, so they kill the humans and dozens of other races in an interstellar war.

Back to No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture, and no, that's not a shoutout to My Life with Xebulon.

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