Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm just going to talk about the synonymy of pop culture and low culture from a man-on-the-street perspective, not as someone studying Sociology of Pop Culture, all right. Don't quote me on anything.

So the (past semester exam) question is: to what extent is pop culture synonymous with low culture? We're supposed to explain with regard to "mass society" and "progressive evolution" theories, but I'm not going to pretend like I know a hell lot about all that, so I'll just say whatever I have to say regarding this.

Based on what I know, low culture is the sort that panders to the general audience, the Philistines, to use a derogatory term. It's mainstream culture. My kind of culture. Because, really, who doesn't like pop culture? Who doesn't like infectious hits like 'Love Games' by Lady Gaga, or the easy singalongs by Taylor Swift? Who doesn't enjoy action-packed movies with cars exploding and hot bods splayed everywhere? It's POPULAR culture for a reason.

But for some reason, that said culture is now given a rather unkind name. Just because it is generally accepted by the middle class, it has become something to turn up your nose at? In terms of film, are the only ones worth watching the international ones or the Oscar-worthy ones like Revolutionary Road? Entertainment used to be Shakespeare, until the elites decided to act like the snobs they are and close it off to the general public or those who are unable to adhere to more restrictive code of conduct. Now, Shakespeare has become high culture. To think Shakespeare used to be pop culture! Maybe that's one way in which pop culture is linked to low culture. Because of how palatable something is, it becomes known as pop culture. But because of how generally popular it has become, the elites decide that this is below them, and denounce it low culture. Maybe everything started off as high culture in the first place. For example, not many people liked indie films when it first took to the silver screen. It just seemed too stagnant, where characters went about their business in life and then went on an INCREDIBLE road to self-discovery blah blah blah. Now, though, shows like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Little Miss Sunshine (what's with the sunshine theme?) win critical acclaim.

So who's to say pop music is low culture?

I'm actually suffering from a brain-block at the moment. It's a result of a long, long lapse in studying. My above argument (more like a rant - it has no structure WHATSOEVER, much less both sides of the coin, which guarantees a fail in jc) doesn't only make no sense; it also doesn't really answer the question.

I'd delete this post and go on with the self-flagellation in private, but I want to publish this for posterity's sake. I'm tempted to say I'm not cut out for this (I've always viewed my place in uni with no little amount of scepticism), but it's early days yet and I have to keep my spirits up. Or I'd just go nuts later on.

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