So much has been written about how to properly define the context for understanding pop culture.
Some argue endlessly about the impact and/or intersection of the high versus the low. This gets you into category trouble pretty fast.
Others believe that the material that bubbles to the surface on the pop culture radar screen is now, or has always been, just a measure of an entity’s marketing success or savvy, and that the content itself is moving more and more towards the completely irrelevant.
This is a version of the idea that anything can influence the pop mindset if it is broadcast continually and mirrors or helps to create the mood, motivation and values of the observer.
If you market a cute purple worm as your icon, and people embrace the cute purple worm, then the cute purple worm is added to the collective pop vault and its story helps to start other stories for future pop offerings. Each character then becomes like a barnacle bed helping to form a foundation for the next offering.
Values are embedded and expressed by each eras pop offerings. In fact, some would say the values are created by the offerings themselves.
Mad magazine was once considered subversive and even harmful, but now it mostly gets kudos for helping deflate the pompous and authoritarian across the past several decades.
Did it create more values than it accepted, and is that the important difference? Put another way, to resonate and appeal do you have to create values?