Art, Media and Music
Thinking Dialectically about pop culture
Many people insist that they don't have culture when they do, thinking that only those immigrants have culture, we in the mainstream do not.
Mainstream culture is so pervasive it is like the water all around us fish who don't even realise that we are in water until we are taken out (and hopefully placed back in).
What is it and Why is it so powerful?
Pop culture is largely everything around us that is popular. Since the advent of electronic media, TV and more recently the internet, styles of living can be broadcast around the world. Cultural icons, behaviours, clothing, music, art, entertainment, sports, dance, food, lifestyles, ... you name it.....
More narrowly, it can be considered to be of the central mainstream of popular culture at a given time. For example, today, there are 'entertainment' shows and magazines about the lives of entertainers and performers. Their work forms a big part of pop culture along with their secret lives.
Additionally, TV commercials, political events, and other such elements become part of the "talked about" issues in popular culture.
Essentially, to sample pop culture one needs to converse in an everyday sense with people from a given cultural group to understand what is popular or current in their cultural lives.
Consuming pop culture
- Cultural texts (bible, koran, I Ching, Tibetan Book of the dead, Miles Davis Story, Rolling Stone, Glamour, ... Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) . ...
- TV, Magazine and Internet sites all serve as cultural reference points for people of all ages to learned about their "culture" however subtly and unconsciously it occurs.
- Encoding and decoding
Resisting Popular Culture
Think global, live local.
Many people actively resist what is mainstream or popular, developing underground or counter culture movements. Oft times what is underground or avant garde at one time becomes appropriated by the mainstream popular culture.
Buy nothing day, ....anit-beerfest beer fest.
Folk or local cultures
Representing Cultural Groups
- migrants perception of mainstream culture
- popular culture and stereotyping - ways in which people from particular groups are portrayed in entertainment and on the news.
US Popular culture & Power
Broadcasting and making trade agreements with other nations the US has worked to get its popular culture as a world standard.
Global circulation of images and commodities
- cultural imperialism - Hollywood's impact globally.
- media imperialism - use of media to control culture (what's happening in US & Canada where a few players own multiple media outlets, homogenizing and editing news and content. E-everything.
- electronic colonialism - using electronic media (including internet) to advance hegemonic interests.
Art is everywhere, as is Music.
Activity A: This week your projects are to look for expression of art that represent a cultural view. Try to identify the message and medium of communication that is present.
Activity M: Additionally, the class music project will continue, completing on the last day of classes when get an opportunity to hear the musical selection s and read the textual descriptions of cultural communication.