Pop culture is what America has instead of mythology.
This is something David Foster Wallace talked about in interviews. How many people were shaped by TV culture and how that became the glue in many social circles.
“In fact, pop-cultural references have become such potent metaphors in U.S. fiction not only because of how united Americans are in our exposure to mass images but also because of our guilty indulgent psychology with respect to that exposure. Put simply, the pop reference works so well in contemporary fiction because (1) we all recognize such a reference, and (2) we’re all a little uneasy about how we all recognize such a reference.”David Foster Wallace