When Pop is Personal

PALIMPSEST (according to the Oxford Dictionary):



1. a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing.

2. something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.


A palimpsest, in the Italian television lexicon, is the plan or layout of all of the programming of a network; it is used to help create a network’s identity. While English speaking countries have taken to using the term “schedule,” the term palimpsest in some ways unites the programming under the umbrella of the network and lends itself more to the idea of flow. It also invites us to create a subtext with which to read the choice of programming of each network.

I would like to argue that with an increase in technological devices that allow us to take television programming with us wherever we go (iphone, ipad, smart-phones), and choose programs from multiple networks on one website (Netflix, Hulu), we may begin to separate the idea of palimpsest from the networks and create our own personal-palimpsest.

How do the personal-palimpsests we create function in relation to the pre-established palimpsests created by these networks? Are we shaping ours in relation to the ones that have shaped our previous televisual experiences? Are they (the networks) changing theirs to cater to technology’s influence on how we watch content?

This is a conversation about television, but it isn’t just a conversation about television.

This is about my own personal palimpsest of pop.