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Lesson 2.docx

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Western University
English 2017
Nigel Joseph

Lesson 2 9/11/2013 7:35:00 AM  Popular culture is inextricably linked to technology. It is “.. the child of modern technology, wholly dependent for its extension on modern techniques of duplicating and multiplying materials ( high speed presses, cheaper paper, new ways of graphic representation) along with much more effecting and less costly methods of production and distributions” (Russel B. Nye).  The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction (1936 Benjamin)  “In principle a work of art has always been reproducible…… it also had captured a place of its own among artistic processes”  Him making a similar point, he says a work of art has always been reproducible. o Not that it’s reproduction per say but reproduction of a certain type – technology o When technological reproduction is possible it changes everything  The study of pop culture tends to fall into two large categories: study of representations and study of practices. In fact representations (eg. In films, advertisements and music videos) and practices (tattooing and piercing, writing fan letters) tend to blur into each other, as representations are based on (someone’s) perceptions of practices; and practices rely on representations, even if the practice is intended to deny or refute the validity of the representations (the fan of a small indie rock group who pointedly avoids behaving like a more “mainstream” fan)  Blur into each other but useful to have as analytical categories  One of the most enduring cultural distinctions has been that of high vs low or high vs popular. High culture is assumed to be difficult, complex, demanding and ultimately, deeply satisfying. It is assumed to have a moral effect on the listener: it makes him/her a better person, more disciplined, focused and restrained. Popular culture, on the other hand is assumed to be easily absorbed, simple, formulaic, repetitive, unchallenging and shallow. It can be consumed with little effort: in fact it encourages its own passive consumption.  “it’s difficult to read Shakespeare because the language is unfamiliar” there are many contemporary poets that are difficult to read o Notion that high art should be difficult so that when you do get it it’s deeply satisfying – traditional explanation  Assumed to have a moral effect – if you read hamlet or Milton etc. assumption is that you are better, you are more complex, civilized and understanding other people  On the other hand, pop culture is easy  It is also overtly sexualized, claim its critics, its pounding rhy
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