Does Pop Culture Need To Be "Popular"?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Bob Ross, Sep 11, 2014.

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  1. What is "Popular Culture"? Despite what the term may lead you to think, it is NOT just media that is numerically popular!
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  2. I dunno, I think a more interesting discussion would be one which tried to more definitively distinguish between pop and high culture, rather than one which simply defines a singular facet of our cultural identity. Simply defining what pop culture won't, I feel, actually lead to any lessons unless what isn't popular culture is also defined, so as to allow a more thorough, holistic examination of what culture is as a whole, and how it influences one's self.

    Building on this, I'm gonna try and make a case-by-case response on what that guy noted as John Storey's six definitions of pop culture, and maybe build on that to create my own theory on culture. Be warned that I'm writing this in the late evening, and I'm really not much of a culture expert, so this might have a lot of holes.

    First, here goes an individual 'attack' on each of the concepts of pop culture as considered somehow independently from each other, as well as what they imply to be definitions of high culture.

    1. On Pop Culture as culture achieved by numbers: I don't think this is a whole, or even true, definition of what most people consider as pop culture. I'm going to cite a very old, and very religious, example here: that of the culture of sin in the society of the ancient Hebrews. Basically, sin is something a lot of Hebrews back then supposedly participated in, but as a part of their cultural identity sin is something they wholly reject, hence it can't really be considered a part of their pop culture. Of course, this isn't without considering whether or not the culture of sin really is pop culture, as what they accept is a proper part of their culture, that of purity in the law of God, is actually a part of their high culture.

    Playing into the freshly-said idea, if we considered this definition of pop culture as law, then what exactly would be high culture? High culture, I guess, would be culture less people like. Of course, this definition would really be very problematic, since popularity by numbers is too fickle and dynamic a quality to really be dependable on this respect, as well as conflicting with the ideas of what a lot of people think is actually pop culture (case in point: Madonna's earlier albums are examples of pop culture, but way less people are actually in to True Blue now than in the eighties; does this mean her old albums could now be considered part of the classical repertoire?).

    2. On Pop Culture that isn't difficult or scarce: Again, I really don't think this is a whole, or even true, definition of what most people think is pop culture, excepting, perhaps, last century's modernist society, which, with the advent of guys like Pollock and them other abstract expressionists, essentially made easier the process of high culture.

    Or did they? Technically, though their art is, by our standards, fairly easy to commit to, back then, the ideas they presented were rather radical; perhaps the true difficulty, the true thing which made their art "high" by this definition of "Pop Culture" (this goes, of course, with the assumption that "high culture" means, as implied by this definition of "Pop culture", culture that isn't easy to do nor cheap to get), is that their abstract expressionism back then was considered to be out of the cultural "norm", hence difficult to really understand.

    Perhaps 'difficult' or 'scarce' generally apply to different modes of difficulty and scarcity. [to be continued in the wide-eyed morning]
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