Monday, July 09, 2007


Imagine a coconut. Now imagine a second coconut. Now imagine a lady is beating you over the head with said coconuts. Well at the Aloha Springs Resort, you don't have to imagine because.... Whoah! Looks like I got a little carried away there. Because, today's post is not about getting hit on the head with coconuts, at least not physical coconuts. No today's post is about 1) pop-culture and 2) why Britney Spears deserves to get beaten with a coconut.

Actually the class hasn't started yet per se, but I did do the reading. The reading as 4 chapters in a book called, what else, Pop Culture. Four chapters of pompous, academic, ranting. Four chapters, spanning 41 pages. Luckily most of what they said was garbage, and the rest can be summarized in bullet point form.

• eC15 means Early 15th Century
• Likewise lC19 means late 19th Century
• By now, you can probably guess what mC17 means.
• If you want your readers to know what the hell you are talking about, it would be best to write "Early 15th Century." It takes only a little longer to type, and it is much clearer.
• At the very least define your acronyms, rather than forcing your readers to do guesswork.
• That goes double for l. and fw.
• Culture is a very old word stemming from a root meaning agriculture. It's facts like this that are useful in Trivial Pursuit.
• Eight bullet points, and we haven't even touched Pop Culture.
• Eventually in the eighteenth century, culture came to mean nourishment for the mind. Thus Opera can be considered Culture, as can Calculus, but the author, being "Liberal Artsy", does not mention Calculus.
But what does this have to do with Britney Spears and Coconuts? Well we have many more bullet points to cover.
• The word mass indicates plebeian or low base, mob, ignorant. It also indicates a fundamental property of matter, but we don't really care here.
• So here's the nub of our argument. If we prefix culture with mass, we vulgarize it. So instead of Opera, we get, well, Britney.
• Presumably Pop Culture is the same sort of thing.

You following? Good cause there are 3 more chapters to go. Interesting how much time you can spend on the blindingly obvious.

• Culture, as in the Shakespeare and the calculus, is appreciated by only a small number of people. Actually again the author only cares about art, music, and literature, but I'll give F.R Lewis the benefit of the doubt.
• Not only can only a few people appreciate the beauty of Shakespeare, but those precious few people can something or other. "For such capacity does not belong merely to an isolated aesthetic realm it implies responsiveness to theory as well as to art, to science [finally] and to philosophy in so far as these may affect the human situation and the nature of life." In other-words, understanding culture involves responding to external stimuli. It involves not being brain dead.
• Only those select few individuals make any meaningful contribution to society, and everyone else could die of Plague for all the author cares.
• The Author is of course of this minority.
• notElon disagrees with this author. I mean without the rest of the world, who would clean up all those bodies?
• Besides that, even if most people aren't intellectuals, they sill can contribute to Society in some way, assuming they are not brain dead.
• "It seems, then, not unnecessary, to restate the obvious."
• notElon has noticed.
• America does not possess this high culture, but is more "Democratic."
• I mean just look at that Mark Twain. So low-brow.
• And don't get me started on Dave Barry.
• Those darn Americans are even making the British less stuck-up.
• Even France won't hold out for long.
• Then Culture will be dead, and the world will be doomed. Doomed. Doomed to mediocrity.
• If it means getting rid of the Author, no loss.

Half way there. Gee, this is fun.

• "For about a century Western Culture has really been two cultures: the traditional kind — Let us call it "High Culture" —that is chronicled in the textbooks, and a mass culture for the market.
• Only for the last ONE HUNDRED YEARS? G-d where has this guy been?
• There were always two sets of academics those that sit around in monasteries having obscure discussions ie the Monks and those that popularize their knowledge ie the Minstrels.
• Lets see if we can get "The Monks and The Minstrels" into an academic journal.
• Many of those guy you enshrine as Pure Culture —Shakespeare for instance— were also popular entertainers, and they are actually the far more interesting category.
Oh sorry I got carried away for a second. Back to this guy's bullet points.
• "A work of High Culture is occasionally popular, though this is exceedingly rare.
• Gee, I wonder why.
• Soviet Russia is the King of Mass Culture, i.e propaganda and statues of Lenin.
• Everything in Soviet Russia is BIASED and appeals to the lowest common denominator.
• And the masses love it. They eat Pravda up. They sing the most tasteless base odes to Stalin with real fervor.
• What is wrong with these stupid Russians? Can't they see this is all garbage?
• Gresham's Law can be applied to culture, because I said so.
Gresham's Law states that bad currency drives the good out of circulation, as people are more eager to spend that which depreciates faster and they will hoard their more currency as they come across it.
• Gresham's "Law" of Culture: "Bad stuff drives out the good, since it is more easily understood and enjoyed.

Technically there is yet more material, but that is probably enough to stew on for now. Does Gresham's Law of Culture explain Britney Spears? Does it explain Coconuts? It is it not too late to go back to the Feudal System? Tune in when we replace the batteries, and once again shine the light of Cold Hard Facts upon the daemons of Popular Culture.


notRelatedToNotElon said...

"The Monks" and "The Minstrals" sound like two 1960s Rock and Roll bands. Maybe they can play against each other in The Battle of the Bands.

Aryeh said...

Now that you are taking this class does it mean that you will be able to answer all the pink questions when we are playing trivial pursuit.