COMM 123 class 3.docx

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Department
Communications
Course
COMM 123
Professor
Felicity Paxon
Semester
Fall

Description
COMM 123: Class 3 09/09/2013 High culture tried to defend itself against the encroachment of mass culture: Academicism Low rate grade of high culture which he decided Avantgardism  He does approve of this MacDonald is the Linnaeus of popular culture because he constantly categorizes composers, artists, poets,  etc. Dwight MacDonald: Member of group known as “The New York Intellectuals”  Seriously educated—went to Phillips Exeter Academy and then Yale Macy’s Fortune  magazine Partisan Review, Politics Political radical▯ conservative anarchist; socialist that was a fierce anti­communist Cultural conservative Thinks “mass culture is like chewing gum” p.344 “It is true that mass culture began as, to some extent still is, a parasitic cancerous growth on high culture” p.  344 MacDonald is a mass culture hater—language of invasion, disease, contamination, etc. is often use by  popular culture critics Crucially the “problem” of mass culture is not limited to U.S.—U.S.S.R. is guilty too USSR is guilty of propaganda as mass culture (thinks mass culture is actually worse in the USSR according  to Mac Donald) In both mass cultures “exploits rather than satisfies the cultural needs of the masses” Major question: is mass culture going to give rise to totalitarianism, in whatever form—fascist or communist;  the notion of the civilizing affects of high culture took a huge beating after WWII because it showed that  even Germany, known worldwide for its high culture, acting in complete barbarism  High Culture vs. Mass Culture vs. Folk Culture: High culture was for elitists and produced by one person and limited in circulation Kitsch is synonymous for mass culture—mass distribution for a mass audience; industrial culture Folk culture belonged to the people (metaphor—private little walled garden) MacDonald’s Binaries: Folk culture (good) Autochthonous (indigenous, authentic, involves the people); UNITY bottom up spontaneous non­commercial Creative participants Free from politics Limited  Mass culture (bad) Heterochthonous (loss of little sub­cultures) Top down Premeditated Commercial Passive audience Ideological Pervasive I.E. American calendars are very High vs. Low: High: Cerebral Unique, artist produces Appeals to intellect Mature Expensive (careful) Textual Restrained Dignified Rational Low (or mass/popular culture) Bodily Mass produced Appeals to senses Youthful Cheap (careful) Visual Excessive Vulgar Irrational Material Sexual Note: money alone is not enough of an distinguishing feature to determine what kind of culture things are 10 Things MacDonald’s is worried about: 1. Gresham’s Law economic principle that bad money drives out the good so mass culture thus drives out high culture; mass  culture is so pervasive in MacDonald’s opinion 2. Ease of popular culture Ado
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