Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Proud to be pop

we are not afraid
Originally uploaded by
I work in the cultural field. Recently I have met several journalists, civil servants or cultural operators who have never played Tetris, who have not seen an episode of The Simpsons, to whom The Sopranos or Six Feet Under do not ring any bells, who do not know that Tony Kushner´s succesful play Angels in America was turned into a tv miniseries with an enormous budge or who think that Paris Hilton is a hotel. I have met Dutch people who thought that I was talking about higher education when I talked of a HBO production (HBO is the acronym for non-university higher education in the Netherlands).

I am proud to be into popular culture. As a balancing comment, I am terribly bad in art or classical music. I don´t know who was the talk of the town during the Venice Biennale but I know what is L Word. And to be honest, I am not ashamed to admit it at this age. Although I would love to know more about high culture, that is for sure.

I meet often highly intelligent people who speak of culture but exclude popular culture. For me this approach is way too narrow. Popular culture deserves thorough research and analysis like other forms of culture. I just love reading good analysis on television like Steven Johnson´s book Everything Bad Is Good For You or the weekly entertainment columns of New Yorker magazine. Don´t get me wrong, I am not anti-art - far from it. I just feel that by raising interest in trends of popular culture we are able to understand better what happens in our society and how it can be improved.


Anonymous said...

The distiction between pop and hi is pretty thin nowadays and I think that is a good thing. At least to me it seems that pop has a much better dialogue with life, whereas hi becoming more and more conceptual (or then stuck in the its own inbred tradition). But when hi becomes popular it almost becomes pop. Which , again, is a good thing. Shakespeare and Bible are pop just like Batman and Rufus.


"Pop culture is the only kind of culture we are ever going to have." KMFDM, Dogma

Shirley said...

I think it is quite useless to make a distinction between 'high' and 'low' culture. Pop can be very well made and ambitious, and pop genre integrates elements of high culture and vice versa. Quality matters, not genre, and I think only elite theorists disagree.

Still, I'm sometimes film/music snob and I'm not shamed about it. I don't like music/films/art that are cynical, commercial and have no point and idea, but genre itself doesn't matter. There are no hierarchies between the genres but inside them. Well made American romantic comedy can be better than bad French art movie etc.

Tommi Laitio said...

I have a crisis. I guess I have to start writing about lighter issues cos that is the only way that one gets people to react. I was sure someone would have commented on the idiotic comment of the German guy but no. Well, I did not learn yet. I wrote today about the communication strategy of the Commission.