Transcendentalism Pop Culture Project By Amber gomez


“Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 2013 Miley Cyrus became an even bigger name in the industry after being known as America’s sweetheart and the girl who played Hannah Montana on Disney Channel. She later became known as the typical ‘disney star gone wrong’ or ‘rebel of the ages’ (Fadda). The media began associating these phrases with Miley when she first cut her hair. They officially named her such as they witnessed her 2013 MTV VMA performance with musician, Robin Thicke. These phrases continued throughout her years on the Bangerz Tour, which is her fourth concert tour. She was in articles and magazines with the actions she was taking and clothing she was wearing on tour and in her everyday life.

Miley Cyrus has been misunderstood in the industry ever since she began twerking on national television and smoking marijuana. However, being misunderstood might not be that bad after all. Ralph Waldo Emerson compares great figures in previous generations who were considered misunderstood. Some he used as examples are Martin Luther King Jr., Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Jesus Christ himself. All these names are men who have achieved greatness worldwide. Emerson also adds that “to be great is to be misunderstood” and how every pure and wise spirit who has ever took up the space of their own flesh is considered misunderstood.

Miley Cyrus’ actions have caused great uproar in the public. Throughout her ‘misunderstood’ years, she was compared to Madonna and Britney Spears. Her actions connect to transcendentalism by her coming out comfortably and expressing who she really was and how she truly felt. She rebelled and distanced herself from the whole ‘America’s Sweetheart’ persona. Instead she went out gave the world her true self and was happy about it. She then found ‘The Happy Hippie Foundation’. It is an organization that revolves around change we need. It supports education, lgbtq rights, women’s rights, homeless youth, social justice, mental health, environment, and animal welfare. Her foundation is about helping others, challenging the ones who say ‘you can’t’, and making a change. I believe Emerson and Thoreau would be happy with this sort of transcendentalism because it involves one not conforming to the normal or general aspects of life, but to being a leader of their own group. Miley Cyrus is not one to conform, but to have many conform to her. She proves that brilliance and new and helpful ideas can come from one who is labeled misunderstood.


“A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The start of Perez HIlton began in 2004 when he launched his website, which was originally named Perez Hilton is primarily known as the internet’s most notorious gossip columnist (Hilton). He also takes part in being a television personality and blogger. He is very passionate about his work and due to such he was named #1 Web Celeb in the year 2007-2009.

The quote “A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson covers self-reliance. Broken down, it means that an individual is content with their work created when doing their best. Any other work that doesn’t involve their best doesn’t give that person something to be at peace about. I feel this means to not only put in hard work in something that’s worth putting hard work in for, but to put your time and genuine effort into everything you do.

Perez Hilton is very passionate about the work he creates. He goes to far ends to push for the publicity he strives for. Hilton does so by coming up with the most recent gossip in the Hollywood industry that includes actors, musicians and even those who just have a name just because. He collects his viewers by publishing articles with crazy titles - crazy titles that people are somehow attracted to. It is enough for them to click it and read it through. Perez Hilton constantly puts an effort into keeping his name as a source from where the latest celebrity gossip came from or just wanting his name out there in general. He works hard to do either of these. This relates to transcendentalism because Hilton was one of the firsts moderns to break away from the typical news on celebrities, or just news in general. He’s been creating ridiculous headlines to keep the public interested since 2004 and he continues to do so. His particular way of doing it also doesn’t satisfy many and don’t believe it will satisfy neither Emerson or Thoreau simply because it’s not the ordinary peaceful.

Importance of Nature

"In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, -- no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Demi Lovato has been a victim of depression, along with a few other disorders. These disorders being bipolar and bulimia. Demi has also struggled with self-harm. Her single ‘Skyscraper’ gives an insight on her struggling past. The lyrics “all my windows still are broken” but she shows us that she is not letting her struggles knock her down by the title of the song itself; skyscraper. The repeated lyrics “I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper” has not only allowed Demi to start believing in herself, but it has also helped many others who were and are dealing with the same battle.

Demi Lovato soon after decided to seek treatment for her physical and emotional matters. She believed it was best to take care of herself first before letting her career get in the way. In 2011, after checking herself into treatment she was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. According to FitnessMagazine journalist, Kelly Mickle, Demi said "I had two choices: I could pretend it never happened, or I could tell people the truth," she says."I was tired of hiding and relieved to know what was wrong with me so I could finally do something to get better.” Demi understood the road to a successful recovery was to begin practicing a healthy lifestyle. She began embracing herself and all her insecurities; she started learning to accept herself. Not before long, Demi began showing the world such. She began being open about her past problems with her fans and the rest of the world.

Demi Lovato’s past connects to transcendentalism by her learning to connect with herself. With proper care, she and the treatment center taught her how one should properly care for themselves. I think Thoreau and Emerson would like this transcendentalism. Demi Lovato’s story shows that anyone can recover as long as they have faith in themselves. It is easy to be discouraged, but as long as you have faith in yourself you can do it.

Favoring Intuition Over Reason

“What i must do is all that concerns me, not what people think. This rule… is harder because i'll always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Justin Bieber has formed an attitude where he’s only focusing on himself. He’s no longer considering other people’s thoughts on him. He is faced with criticism every day and that criticism contains how he should change for someone else’s benefit. He first stated this in his instagram post towards his fans about how he’s cancelling m&g’s. This is where he first started. It then became a bigger issue when he began rejecting photographs. He did so due to it becoming overwhelmed and him feeling the affects of others negatively. Many began treating him like a zoo animal instead of an ordinary human.

This relates to transcendentalism for a few reasons. One reason being, he started looking out for his well-being even if it was hurting the ones who helped him achieve to where he is now. Another reason is how he connects to nature. He took a break and traveled to many places that involves beautiful nature to start connecting with himself. He has stated that he has tried his best to surround himself with good people who will benefit him and who will support his journey to recovery.


Simplified Life

“If you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and viral experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which heals the most sugar and the most starch. It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest”

Walden Henry David Thoreau

RV’s (recreational vehicle) are very convenient when it comes to being simple and living small. They come in handy when you want to take the family for a road trip instead of buying an expensive plane ticket. These provide site seeing for you and the family and allow you to have an enjoyable times.

Recreational Vehicles connect to transcendentalism by being simple. Instead of plane tickets, RV’s are used to travel. By traveling, one can get connected with nature by actually going through the nature. It is a time to get connected with family and nature by the long drive to a destination. RVs also carry everything that you need that you can't necessarily take on an airplane. You can even bring along your horse if you need to! RVs are convenient for everyone and anything.


Created with images by tpsdave - "forest trees woods" • miriam_ - "daisy meadow flower meadow" • scheidegger0 - "sunbeam rays sun" • jojo nicdao - "DSC_7153.jpg" • lena1 - "tree branches spring" • bmacmolly - "vacation rv horse trailer"

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