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« I'm Nick-Free | Main | Macbeth Through The Years »

October 08, 2003

Pop Culture Equals Junk Food?

Friedrich --

As far as you're concerned, is popular culture (most movies, TV, magazines, music, etc) the culture equivalent of junk food? I realize that I simply assume that this is so. It's conceivable -- if unimaginable to me -- that others may not agree. I mean the comparison, by the way, not as a put-down but as a which-slot-to-put-this-in thing. Pop culture? 99% of it is, inevitably, industrially-produced entertainment for the masses. It has its glories; and sometimes someone (or some bunch) of talent does something startling in the field, or uses the idiom and the techniques to convey something lovely or different. But the business is basically -- and necessarily -- an industry devoted to making profits by producing entertainment.

Which prompts a question: I know a fair number of people who are still what I'd call rock-and-roll-revolutionaries. They think of pop culture as a liberating force -- sexually, politically, psychologically. It isn't just that popcult can be fun, distracting, amusing, and occasionally surprisingly moving. And it isn't that pop culture can be seen as an amazing creation in its own right and on its own terms. It's that pop culture can be, and ought to be, a Politically Good Thing.

Overaged adolescents still clinging to a silly dream, and unwilling to abandon silly teen tastes and fantasies? Or what?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at October 8, 2003




Comments

I have to say I think you're definitely overreaching here, Michael. Why?

1) There's clearly no analogy within the junk-food universe to your "startling, lovely and different" exceptions-to-the-rule.

2) Junk food stands in a clearly inferior position to haute cuisine, no two ways about it. But a lot of pop culture is actually superior to a lot of high art. And I'm not just talking about Spielberg here: a formulaic Hollywood industrially-produced film like School of Rock or Pirates of the Caribbean can be much better than most of the arty stuff which appears at the Quad. Likewise, a perfect pop song like "Hit Me Baby One More Time" is actually musically more interesting and sophisticated than the work of many sophomoric and self-indulgent avant-garde composers.

3) You seem put off by the fact that pop culture is produced with the aim of making money, as if that isn't equally true of the work of, say, Michelangelo. Or is it the corporate involvement which irks you? Do you think that institutions like opera houses, which are funded by the government and by individual and corporate donations, are somehow superior to, say, the Hollywood studios who gave us Double Indemnity and The Wizard of Oz?

4) And what's this about Politically Good Things? I can see why pop culture doesn't necessarily need to be Politically Good, although I also see no reason why it shouldn't be. (The Beastie Boys, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart -- these things are actually good at raising consciousness). What gets me is that there seems to be an implication that non-pop culture, whatever that is (and it's far from clear what you're defining pop culture against) is necessarily political in some sense. I guess the idea is that because it has Deep Meaning, it also has Political Respectability. Again, I don't see it. Where's the politics in a Van Gogh?

Posted by: Felix on October 8, 2003 1:01 PM



M. Blowhard, Felix has given you a reasonable smackdown, and I second most of that. To the question you may have been trying to ask - that is, who are these champions of "pop culture" and what are they up to - my answer is idiots and no good.

Champions of pop culture and pure-D snobs alike might try paying attention to something other than their rigid and useless categories. That would please me.

Ever notice how your average Edwardian man of letters had no trouble reading the classics and enjoying a good eye-gouging now and then?

Posted by: j.c. on October 8, 2003 2:22 PM



1) There's clearly no analogy within the junk-food universe to your "startling, lovely and different" exceptions-to-the-rule.

To this I have but three words to respond:

Deep Fried Twinkies.

Posted by: Kari on October 8, 2003 2:27 PM



Spielberg, Britney Spears, and Pirates of the Caribbean are not speaking to or for all the voices in this world. Not everyone lives in middle-class American reality nor subscribes to its values, either in politics or in art. Likewise we shouldn't expect 100% of the world's pop culture to reflect that single set of values. This is neither adolescent or a silly dream or a Politically Good Thing, but entirely natural.

Posted by: Jeremy A. on October 8, 2003 3:23 PM



Oooh, aren't you pop lovers a sensitive crew!

Hey, I wasn't passing judgment on pop culture and junk food, just using them as categories. Of course there's pop cult that's wonderful and high cult (not that that's the only alternative to pop cult) that's godawful. And I'm not remotely put off by the fact that anyone should ever hope to make money. What have these years (well, OK, 14 months) of Blowharding been about anyway? Sob. Note also how careful I was to allow for exceptions and to use qualifying words like "most." Double sob.

How about this: Pop music on the radio and blockbusters at the cineplex are the culture equivalent of the packaged-and-prepared food world, ie, the meal chains and the packaged food at the grocery store. Note, por favor, the utter lack of judgment here -- there's such a thing as a good frozen pizza, a fun TV show, and a wonderful breakfast cereal. Not talking quality, but instead category: the resemblance is in the way they're both matters of industrial-production-for-the-mass-audience. Pop culture is part of a larger matrix called culture-generally, which includes folk culture, high culture, etc etc. Pop food (so to speak) is part of a larger food-and-eating matrix which includes haute cuisine, folk cuisine, grandma's home cookin', etc.

Note again that there's no quality judgment here -- a handcrafted hippie cheese might be lousy, and a sack of green-onion-flavored chips might hit the spot. There are lousy blues musicians and string quartets who have off nights, and there are techno girl groups who really rock. Talking taxonomy only.

The rock 'n' roll revolutionaries I'm talking about aren't people who are interested in political pop art or cult, they're people who over-bought into the '60s idea that rock (and sex and drugs) would set us all free. And who still promote the idea, apparently oblivious to the fact that pop culture has meanwhile morphed from a rebel stance with symbolic oomph (however laughable) into one of the country's main export industries. I mean, fine, sure, why not, no harm done (or not much). But to think that there's a conflict between contempo capitalism (Time Warner, etc) and pop music, for instance, strikes me as silly. You've gotta work pretty hard these days to pretend that "pop" is a revolutionary force, except in the sense that it seems to take over wherever it's introduced and to disrupt traditional societies and cultures. So I'm amazed that there are people still clinging to dreams of deliverance-via-popcult.

Jeremy -- Sorry, unsure what your point is. Have another try?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 8, 2003 3:36 PM



Michael,

It sounds like all you're saying is that the artifacts of pop culture are mass-produced. But then, everything in the art world is, except for live performances and one-of-a-kind objects such as paintings.

Or perhaps you're talking about the content rather than the means of distribution. We often talk about a pop band being "packaged"--but so far as I can tell, all that means is that the band's look and music are designed to appeal to a wide swath of the population.

If that's your definition, then your average symphony orchestra is just as packaged; it's just that it's packaged to appeal to a small swatch of the population. Sure, Beethoven might not have worried about such things--but the music director who decides to put Beethoven on the calendar sure does.

Posted by: Will Duquette on October 8, 2003 6:03 PM



I may be an overaged adolescent clinging to a silly dream, but I think M&M's deserve to be labeled a food group on the FDA's nutrition pyramid.

Posted by: Deb on October 8, 2003 7:57 PM



Sorry, Michael, still don't get it. Spielberg is "good frozen pizza"? Uh, right. You can't wheel out a value-laden taxonomy like "junk food" -- about which, I repeat, it can certainly be said that ALL junk food is worse than ALL haute cuisine -- and then say all innocent and doe-eyed that "Hey, I wasn't passing judgment on pop culture".

Junk food is cheap, mass-produced, and -- this is crucial -- invariably bad. Maybe not dreadful: it might, as you say, "hit the spot". But there's a pretty low limit to how good it can be.

And if you put that to one side, if we try to look at the category "junk food" in a completely value-neutral way, what's left? The point you seem to be making is that they're both industrially produced for a mass audience with the aim of making a big company lots of money. You could say the same thing about toasters.

There's also the strong implication in your original post that if a certain item of pop culture does happen to be any good, that's more of a fortuitous piece of luck than it is a product of deliberate creation of something fabulous. "It has its glories," you write, "but the business is basically devoted to making profits." Your conjunction there betrays you: you're saying that if your first priority is making profits, then by simple logic your first priority can't be making Art.

As for pop being a revolutionary force, I also disagree. Revolutions are about giving voice, power and influence to the dispossessed and the undertrodden. That's actually exactly what hip-hop culture is all about. When Suge Knight hangs with George Pataki, when rap stars make millions of dollars and hold bling-bling parties with free-flowing Cristal at $900 a bottle on yachts rented out for $40k a week, you know what that is? It's sticking it to the man.

Socioeconomically speaking, just about the worst thing you can be in this country is an urban black male aged 15-25. Yet thanks to pop culture, exactly that demographic constitute a huge proportion of the pop stars, the kind of people that kids admire and look up to.

In the 60s, there was the famous youthquake. Well, kids in general don't have it so bad any more: they don't suffer under the oppressive 50s morality that many 60s rebels grew up in. That's largely thanks to rock and roll, by the way: parents who turned on, tuned in and dropped out find it pretty difficult to turn the clock back with their own children.

There's still a pop revolution going on, but now it's delineated more along class lines (with the inevitable racial consequences) than along age lines. But even a white kid like Eminem, if he has enough street cred (ie, if he's produced by Dr Dre) is surprisingly good at sticking it to the establishment.

The Man, remember, is not New York mediasomethings with a taste for "techno girl groups who really rock". (By the way, could you name me a couple?) The Man is the right-wingers and Christians across the country who are genuinely afraid of 50 Cent, Eminem, and all they stand for. And even Time Warner gets forced into selling off Interscope every so often. Pop music isn't nearly as milquetoast as you make it sound.

Posted by: Felix on October 8, 2003 8:12 PM



Will -- Sorry if I'm not making myself clear. Here's another shot at it.

There's a very wide spectrum of culture. It can be sliced and diced in many ways, but some common ones are to label some of it high culture. Some of it we might label folk culture. Some of it we might label pop culture. Some of it we might label kiddie culture.

There's a broad spectrum of eating-and-cooking too. Some of it we might label haute cuisine. Some of it we might label "health food cuisine." Some of it we might label home cookin'. Some we might label soul food. Some of it we might label prepared food you buy for the sake of convenience. (We might call this category junk food.)

All I'm doing is comparing the place of pop culture within the spectrum of culture generally to the place of prepared convenience foods in the spectrum of eating-and-cooking generally. No quality judgment implied, just an observation and a comparison. One that helps me organize my brain a little, although it may well serve no such purpose for anyone else.

Deb -- You mean some people think M&M's aren't a food group unto themselves?

Felix -- I'm afraid you're the one who's attaching negative values to the category of junk food, not me. Strikes me as a perfectly good descriptive term, and a perfectly good way to label a category of cookin'-and-eatin' too. But if you find the term "junk food" intolerably value-laden, then let's chuck it. The comparison goes like this: "popular culture is to the broad spectrum of culture as what is to the broad spectrum of eating-and-cooking." Happy to replace the word "what" with a word you think would be more useful.

As for some of your other points: sure, yeah, I'd definitely say luck and fortune play at least as big a role in the creation of pop fabulousness as anyone's intentions do. Much bigger, in fact. Intentions are cheap, and besides I've heard of very few instances where people intended to make something bad. Those lousy movies and TV shows we all see or skip each year? Nearly every one of them represents a lot of hard work and thought on the part of a lot of talented people who are intending to make something enjoyable. So how to explain badness and goodness? And why do pop products work so seldom? The only sensible answer anyone's ever come up with is William Goldman's "Nobody knows anything" (or whatever the exact wording was). In other words, luck plays a huge role. Not an exclusive role, obviously, but a very big one.

No idea what your point is about profits and art. Maybe Michelangelo made the Pieta because he had an overwhelming love of Christianity and he couldn't hold it in any longer. Maybe he made it because he was behind on the rent. Maybe Elvis Presley was a cultured, high-minded guy who wanted to raise the level of Western Civ. Maybe he was a testosterone-riddled narcissist with visions of fame and white panties dancing in his brain. Does it matter? It certainly doesn't to me. Michelangelo got paid, and Elvis got some girls who'd wear white panties. We got the Pieta and "Heartbreak Hotel."

Amazed to learn that a sophisticate like you should buy such a cartoonish picture of the '60s. And glad, if surprised, to hear that you think Russell Simmons and Suge Knight are doing The People so much good and The Man so much damage. Funny: I thought they were getting rich hustling comedy and music.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 8, 2003 10:59 PM



Now now, Michael.

1) Junk food undeniably lies at one end of the spectrum of "eating-and-cooking generally". It's eating-to-live, rather than living-to-eat. It's bland, homogenised, unhealthy, etc etc. So yes, it carries some "bad vibes" for me -- and for most other people, too. Why do you think it's called "junk"? For me, "junk culture" would be throwaway stuff which doesn't bear much scrutiny -- and that's not my opinion of pop culture. In other words, I think the differences between pop culture and junk food are much more telling than the similarities, which is why I disagree with your assertion that the two are somehow equivalent to each other.

2) Re your comments on luck and fortune: it sounds to me like what you're saying is that the natural state of pop culture is "lousy movies and TV shows we all see or skip each year," and that only the lucky few ever transcend that and create something really good. It also seems to me that you're drawing a causal relationship between the corporate profit-motivated lineage of that pop culture on the one hand, and its dreadfulness on the other. In other words, you seem to be saying that motivation does matter: if something's made in order to increase Time Warner's return on equity, it's less likely to be really good than if something's made outside the entertainment industry's institutional machinery.

Besides, I'm not sure I agree with you on luck. Whether it's directors like Spielberg, executives like those at HBO, or producers like Dre, there's undeniably an elite group of entertainment-industry professionals who are very good at both making a lot of money and creating really good product. These people have something beyond dumb luck, since they can repeat their successes over and over again.

3) I've just reread my comments, and I can see nothing there which says that Russell Simmons is doing "his people" good. In fact, I never made any value judgments at all about the social effects of hip hop. If you want to know, I think they're negative: kids aspire to be rap stars, which means they (a) spend insane amounts of money on expensive clothes which could otherwise be put to much more productive use; and (b) are much less likely to follow the road that most socioeconomically deprived demographics follow out of poverty, which is a combination of hard work and education.

Posted by: Felix on October 9, 2003 12:45 AM



I like deep fried twinkies, too. But if I eat too many of them they'll probably kill me. Not to mention they give me indigestion ...

As for the old highbrow-lowbrow debate, I can't really comment, because I'm a rather lowbrow guy who happens to love all the standard highbrow stuff. I don't think Britney Spears is all that interesting, though. I prefer Fountains of Wayne (whose "Stacy's Mom" is the funniest, catchiest perv-pop I've heard in years).

And am I the only one who found Pirates of the Caribbean a wearisome slog, save for Johnny Depp? Visually, the film makes no sense at all (more of that "gang-bang" editing you've talked about, Michael) -- and visual coherence is probably the single most important element in a successful action flick.

Posted by: Tim Hulsey on October 9, 2003 2:33 AM



"[Junk food is] bland, homogenised, unhealthy, etc etc."

Felix, how much junk food have you eaten recently? There's plenty of junk food available now that's far from bland.

Posted by: Mike Kelly on October 9, 2003 11:18 AM



Deep Fried Twinkies? Where do you get those and can you give me a recipe?

Posted by: Deb on October 9, 2003 11:38 AM



Maybe because I've never seen popular culture as a liberating force - at least the media portion of it - I've never seen it as silly teen fantasy. Or junk food for that matter. To me, it's always been about entertainment. (Felix articulated those ideas more clearly already.)

Maybe that's why so many of my roommates and friends simply freaked about my musical tastes - that I thought it was bullshit that the punks stood for anything, or even the hippies, even though they may have rocked. To me, it's always been just tunes. Or just a movie. Only novels come close to something that might change my course somewhat, but even those haven't had a profound effect. (I recently read Norman Mailer's cook book "The Spooky Art" wherein he says he once intended to write a novel that would change the world, to which he conceded defeat. But, really, has any novel changed the world?)

Perhaps I'm just coarse due to the fact that I tend to "round up" (in the mathematical sense), and to me junk food is just food, just as haute cuisine is just food. A Doobie Brothers song is just as worthy as Beatles song, which is just as worthy as a Frank Sinatra song, which is just as worthy as a Britany Spears song (though I don't really like either Frank or Britany).

Posted by: Yahmdallah on October 9, 2003 11:38 AM



Tim -- I actually didn't think the posting was about the old highbrow-lowbrow debate myself. I thought I was drawing an analogy between the role of pop culture in the general spectrum of culture and the role of junk food in the general spectrum of cooking-and-eating. Sigh.

Yahmdallah -- FWIW (not much), the "silly teen fantasy" I was referring to was the tendency to see popcult as a liberating force, not popcult itself. I admire you for being so sensible in your view of popcult. It'd be lovely if more people who write about it had your combo of level-headedness and responsiveness.

Felix -- I applaud your slashing Oxbridge debating style! Fun comparing notes about these things ...

* Beats me why you think the term "junk food" has such negative connotations -- feel free to use another term instead. Before playing ayatollah with word connotations, though, you might remind yourself that, dude, this is America -- junk culture is (mostly) what we do, and we can be mighty proud of it. Junk food? The Oreo, popcorn, Coca-Cola, and the prepackaged ice cream sandwich are pretty terrific (or at least impact-ful and lasting) junkfood cultural creations.

Before entirely letting go of the term, I'll point out that the intellectuals who were early appreciators of popular and pop culture (Seldes, Fiedler, Kael, the gay camp bunch, etc) never pretended it was anything but junk culture. They didn't mean that as a putdown, quite the opposite. They were saying, You know, this may be junk culture, but it can be pretty great. Using the term (and/or similar terms, such as "trash") was a way of appreciating and loving it for what it was, not of putting it down. And, hey, if the term was good enough for Charles Ludlum then it's good enough for me. But feel free to take it upscale if you prefer.

* I don't know where you get the impression that I think the profit motive somehow cripples pop culture. That pop culture is inconceivable without the profit motive is more my point. Is this a good or an evil thing? Dunno, don't care. I'm just not in a quarreling-with-the-basic-facts-of-life stage in my life, I guess. Feel free to carry on if you're so inclined, though.

* Luck? What I've found is that the pop culture world is full of hustling, talented, ambitious, sometimes smart people, who make an awful lot of product, a good percentage of which is pretty proficient. Why does some of it mean something to audiences and take off? And why does some of it actively turn lots of people off, and even offend and anger them? Most of the time, beats me. Beats everyone else too -- the word "luck" is a way of supplying a make-believe explanation for something that usually can't be explained. Why is Julia Roberts a megastar and Carla Gugino (just as pretty, probably more skillful) not a star? Interesting to speculate about, but I'm not sure any definitive answer is possible beyond, Well, the public saw fit to take Julia to their hearts in a way they haven't yet seen fit to take Carla to their hearts.

Happy to agree that Spielberg is a tremendously talented filmmaker. I'll add that he isn't alone in having lots of talent; that he was lucky to have been let onto the lot that day when he just strode in as a kid; he was lucky to have been adopted professionally by the people who adopted him; he was lucky that the zeitgeist and his particular talent jibed so well in the '70s and '80s (they haven't been jibing so well in recent years); he was lucky to get hired to make "Jaws" ...

Hey, there's an example. No one knew "Jaws" was going to have the impact it turned out to have. (Brown and Zanuck, the producers -- and sure, yeah, evidently good, professional producers -- would be the first to tell us that in making the movie they were taking a gamble.) The same movie released in 1973 (instead of 1977) might well have bombed -- the public wasn't in a mood for that kind of thing then. So: excellent movie! Lots of skill and talent! But on the other hand: who knew? No one. (A lot of excellent movies just fall off the face of the earth and have no popular impact at all.)

Pop culture's a particularly flukey (ie., luck-dependent) branch of the culture sphere for a bunch of reasons. One is that what the public wants and projects onto a work (or an actress, or a pop performer) is generally more important in popcult than it is in other branches of culture; it's often at least as important as what's actually there -- and who can anticipate what the public is going to want or need to project? Also, the very high stakes in popcult mean that the field has a lot of casino-like qualities. You're certainly right that even in a casino there are better and worse gamblers; but it's just as true that gambling (ie., wrestling with luck) is what's fundamentally going on here.

This is another reason, by the way, why I think the junk-food/popcult analogy has its usefulness, though the time has obviously come to let the whole question go and move on to new postings. But, like the popcult industry, the junkfood (or whatever you want to call it) industry is forever tossing tons of (mostly perfectly proficient) new products out there. Why do some work and others flop? And why do some junk-food makers have hot streaks while others tank? Expertise and marketing and such certainly play roles here, but so do whim, the zeitgeist, the phases of the moon, this 'n' that -- whatever it is that we mean when we say "luck." If we think of the Oreo as the "Jaws" of junk food, for instance -- it's a terrific cookie, but lots of other terrific junkfood cookies have died quick deaths. Why does the Oreo live on? It's fun and easy to play Monday-morning quarterback about the question, but really, who knows?

* Forgive me for thinking you were playing the pop-revolutionary game yourself. I was confused, I guess, by your references to "youthquakes," and by your sentences about how pop culture is still sticking it to the Man.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 9, 2003 12:04 PM



I must admit to being surprised at how controversial this seems to be. I do think it's fair to say that pop culture has not "changed the world" in a meaningful way since the Beatles---who I think did change the world. This is not to say that an individual song or group or book didn't have significance to an person at a point in their lives. (I'm saying this, honestly praying that reality TV is not changing the world. I watched "The Bachelor" for the first time last night. My skin is still crawling). It is to say that Eminem and Fifty Cent are not having the same socio-political impact of the Beatles or Elvis, IMHO. But maybe they ARE having a bigger impact on certain portions of society than Elvis or the Beatles had society-wide.

And even the Beatles impact was at the margin.

The comparison to "junk food" would seem to be incidental, and maybe not perfect-- it can be argued that McDonald's DID change the world.

I'm surprised anyone would imbue any single inanimate thing with the power to change the world. People's hearts and behaviors change the world. That requires somebody talking with a message that's different and applicable, and someone else listening. (If it comes through music or political debates, or food). My goodness---Jesus didn't "change the world" by himself, or talking in a vacuum. Pop culture is unlikely to.

Posted by: annette on October 9, 2003 2:10 PM



"Junk food" is food people eat for fun. It's overloaded with salt, spices, sugar, and grease. Definitely not "bland". Although - what would one call food that has been overloaded with capsaicin and has no real flavor other than 'hot'? It's boring and characterless, which is to say, bland.

BTW: Novels that changed the world: _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ (which was pop-cult, too).

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on October 9, 2003 6:31 PM



Hey Shakespeare was pop culture in his time. So was Vivaldi, Mozart, Michaelangelo, O'Henry, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to name a few. Sure, there's a lot of junk - but sometimes there are gems. Like Jello. ;)

Posted by: courtney on October 9, 2003 7:47 PM



Tim -- I actually didn't think the posting was about the old highbrow-lowbrow debate myself. I thought I was drawing an analogy between the role of pop culture in the general spectrum of culture and the role of junk food in the general spectrum of cooking-and-eating.

Junk food is lowbrow food. Haute cuisine, as the name would indicate, is highbrow food. Technically, both might be quite bad for you, cholesterol- and calorie-wise; in all likelihood your body is better off if you eat at home instead. That said, nobody's going to sue the highbrows at Le Cirque for making them fat. But Ronald McDonald had better watch his lardy red ass.

Alas, I'm afraid we really are having a variation of the old "lowbrow-highbrow" debate.

Posted by: Tim Hulsey on October 10, 2003 1:11 AM



Haute cuisine wouldn't exist if peasant cuisine hadn't existed first. Classical music wouldn't exist if dance music hadn't existed first. And high culture wouldn't exist if pop culture hadn't come first.

You don't get highbrow art by eliminating everything lowbrow. You get highbrow art by starting with lowbrow art and then adding to it. Macbeth in outline looks like a simple formulaic thriller of a sort that popular Elizabethan theater had in plenty. Its greatness in no way comes from shying away from cheap thrills, but from starting with the cheap thrills and adding richness: ambiguity, conflicting motivations, self-doubt, dazzling poetry, profound insights into the human condition, etc.

But it would be a lesser play if you got rid of the sleepwalking scene and Banquo's ghost and the bloody murders and the witches and so on.

And remember that Macbeth came out of one of the most popular periods of theater in history. The art that is both great and enduring always seems to grow out of very popular artistic movements.

So I don't think you can separate highbrow art and lowbrow art, or indeed highbrow anything and lowbrow anything. It would be like valuing penthouses while despising all the lower floors they perch on.

Posted by: Scott on October 10, 2003 7:45 PM



Look, y'all, I agree with you. But the posting (which I now officially give up on) isn't about "one good, the other bad." It's about how to categorize a few things.

To acknowledge the simultaneous existence of lowbrow art and of highbrow art is to put neither one down (oversensitive about this though some of you fans of lowbrow art appear to be). But to ignore or deny that some things can fairly be called highbrow and some things can fairly be called lowbrow is just dumb. There's ballet and there's dirt-track tracing. Me, I like 'em both and acknowledge that one's rightly called highbrow and one's rightly called lowbrow. That's passing a value judgment on neither. There's Oxbridge English and there's street slang -- different from each other, but both potentially very cool. Mentioning the names of two different teams doesn't mean that you have to root for one or the other. You can instead just be taking note of the existence of two teams.

Coming soon, or maybe one of these days, the difference between "popular" and "pop" ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 10, 2003 8:20 PM



Could someone please just tell me what a deep fried Twinkie is? I've never seen or heard of them before and after 3 weeks on Atkins I'm about ready to crawl thru dirt for something with both sugar and carbs in it!

Posted by: Deb on October 10, 2003 11:00 PM



Farewell, Dr. Atkins: Deep Fried Twinkies

Posted by: Kari on October 13, 2003 12:50 PM



Bless you, Kari. Now where is the nearest convenience store.....;O)

Posted by: Deb on October 13, 2003 1:36 PM






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