?

Log in

No account? Create an account
~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Are the boundaries between "high" and "low" culture blurring? 
16th-Sep-2005 07:55 am
Rose
One of my professors says, "Yes! Because artifacts of high culture are so readily available everywhere these days."

However, I think this is another example of shallow-mindedness on her part...sort of like that time that she told me that she genuinely believes being black(er) means being ugly--when she herself is proud of the tan that she has cultivated on her own skin.

Let's face it: Even young people know the difference between high culture and popular culture, though they may not know the definitions of the terms. Frankenstein the novel? High culture. Frankenstein the James Whale film? Popular culture. Throw out any number of examples and you'll undoubtedly get a very quick response. Just because I can get a nicely-bound hardcover copy of many classic novels cheap from Barnes & Noble or Borders--or full-text copies completely free online--doesn't mean that their cultural value decreases. (Somewhat as an aside, though; I've heard the theory that, these days, what marks you as rich isn't about what commodities you own. Cheap manufacturing in China means that even poor shmucks like me can have a cellphone. Rather, it's about what *services* you can afford? Do you fly first-class? Do you get full-body massages every week? Do you have a housekeeper, a nanny, a private chef? Do you eat at the most expensive restaurants? However, the fact that everyone can read Mary Shelley doesn't make it "popular culture," though perhaps the simple fact of reading it no longer means automatically that one is privileged.)

Still, access does change things. Things that were once a small subculture now enter into the mainstream culture. Take hip-hop or street fashion, for example. Or even science fiction. :P But going mainstream doesn't mean transitioning from low culture to high culture. I dare you to tell me that M. C. Hammer's music is "high culture." If anything, it just means that more things become widely-acknowledged examples of popular culture, starting careers and industries that would not have otherwise existed. Subculture and mainstream culture are blurring, but that emphatically does not mean that high and low culture are too.
Comments 
16th-Sep-2005 12:27 pm (UTC)
Do you have a housekeeper, a nanny, a private chef?

My cats have a housekeeper, a nanny, and a private chef..........

Of course you're still considered in that high class if you have a royal title, even if you're not filthy rich...
16th-Sep-2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
Of course you're still considered in that high class if you have a royal title, even if you're not filthy rich...

According to the theory, the access to services are markers of wealth--which of course is a bit different than being "high class." Which is why I mentioned it as an aside.
16th-Sep-2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
Noble cats eh?^_~
16th-Sep-2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
It's true about the services thing. It's not what you have anymore that defines how rich you are, but what you are able to get other people to do for you.

I don't think access blurs the line between low and high culture. Rather I think it simply has made that line more defined.

And you'd be amused at how the hardcore practitioners of subculture are angry at the "mainstreaming" of their domain^_^ It was inevitable though that it would become part of pop culture.
16th-Sep-2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
I don't think access blurs the line between low and high culture. Rather I think it simply has made that line more defined.

Hmm. How so?

And you'd be amused at how the hardcore practitioners of subculture are angry at the "mainstreaming" of their domain^_^

That attitude oh so totally irks me. It's as if they derive a sense of their own self-worth by liking and knowing a lot about something that no one else does.
16th-Sep-2005 12:49 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... perhaps because it's available to everyone it makes it easier to differentiate between the truly knowledgeable and the one whose just doing it as a hobby or a means of showing off.

It's as if they derive a sense of their own self-worth by liking and knowing a lot about something that no one else does.

That pretty much is the definition of Elitist.
16th-Sep-2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
It's strange; I've never cared in the least when other people start liking the things that I do. Heck, I *want* more people to read the kinds of books I like--it gives me more people to discuss them with!

That pretty much is the definition of Elitist.

Or "Geek," depending upon whether it's high or low culture. ^_^;
16th-Sep-2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
Me too^^

You know, I've always found it amusing when people called me a "geek" or a "book worm". Why is that? Because I don't have a PHD to my name yet. Strange how the label changes depending on how high you've climbed up the social ladder.
16th-Sep-2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
And you'd be amused at how the hardcore practitioners of subculture are angry at the "mainstreaming" of their domain

You see that all the time! Once a subculture becomes popular it's just a trendy thing and it annoys the originators.. Like wealthy white suburban kids trying to act like inner-city rappers ^^;;
16th-Sep-2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
Because people feel like their unique culture is being usurped, naturally. And in some cases, the effect seems insidious, like when a racial majority claims the culture of a racial minority as its own. In other cases, however, especially in media fandom, the move from underground to mainstream popularity is far less sinister, and the people who whine during the transition just sound like immature, selfish brats.
16th-Sep-2005 12:50 pm (UTC)
In media fandoms it's just silly but when it's applied to real life and ethnic groups or choices of lifestyle...
16th-Sep-2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
*nods* Speaking of choices of lifestyle...

Remember that "Is BL like blackface?" post. Certain people accused me of "fishing" unnecessarily, but it's a honest-to-goodness serious issue--even if some people don't like hearing it.
16th-Sep-2005 12:47 pm (UTC)
Well, they've got a point to an extent especially in the example you're giving. To them, it feels like somebody not only encroached on their territory but cheapened it too.
16th-Sep-2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
Not to mention the imitators look just damn silly ^^;;
16th-Sep-2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah. I know it's bad of me, but I can't help laughing when I see somebody doing it^_^
This page was loaded Jul 19th 2018, 3:15 pm GMT.