LeRoy Ashby - Professor and Author

#71: How Popular Culture Affects the Way We Tell Stories

#71: How Popular Culture Affects The Way We Tell Stories

Do you remember that one teacher or professor you had that made a remarkable impact on your life? Mine was LeRoy Ashby. LeRoy was my history teacher at Washington State University, and students would line up like waiting to buy concert tickets to register for his class.

Now retired, LeRoy is a marvelous storyteller. That’s what made is the class so popular. The thing that I remember most about his course is the power of storytelling. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he captivated us with stories about history. We didn’t learn by rote, but by lore.

amusement-for-allLeRoy is an expert on the history of pop culture. In fact, he wrote the book on it: With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830.

We all want to hook our customers, however solidly good products or services is often not enough. But going back and drawing upon classic entertainment archetypes and popular culture can help us create more compelling brand stories. Taking the time for a history lesson in these subjects will help you craft more compelling brand stories.

What do Donald Trump and P.T. Barnum Have In Common?

The timing for this show was perfect given what we had just gone through in this election cycle with Trump, our current President-elect. According to Ashby, he shares remarkable similarities to P.T. Barnum, the greatest showman ever.  LeRoy provides a fascinating look into the salesman, some even say charlatan, of our president-elect and the sideshow antics he used to become the ringleader in the big top of American politics.

I’m going to be a student of his once again, and I’m honored to share him with all of you.

In This Episode You’ll Learn

  • What pop culture is and how it affects the way we tell stories
  • How politics and the news have shifted towards entertainment
  • Why P.T. Barnum and Donald Trump are remarkably similar

Key Quotes

“Bit by bit, more and more, politics have opened up then to pop culture.” —LeRoy Ashby (click to tweet)

“Trump is first and foremost a celebrity coming into the White House.” —LeRoy Ashby (click to tweet)

“It’s the history of American entertainment, how those sideshows have gotten into the big tent.” —LeRoy Ashby (click to tweet)

Mentioned In The Show

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