Pop culture shapes our ideas of what is normal and what our dreams can be and what our roles are. Politics, of course, decides how the power and the money in the country is distributed. Both are equally important, and each affects the other.
Helplessness induces hopelessness, and history attests that loss of hope and not loss of lives is what decides the issue of war.
In any case, his judgment and set of values, acting alone or through his assistants, determine not only what is gold and what is dross but the design of the history which he creates out of the metal. The historian decides what is significant, and what is not.