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Religion & Culture
Brent Hagerman

 Bob Marley - o Rostifari o Love, peace o Rebellion  Spiritual advisor - Mortimo Planno  Haile Selassie (Tafari Makonnen) o Considered by Marley to be black god incarnate  Exodus (song) o Fathers land o Go back to Africa o Babylon - oppressive society o Marley wrote to appeal to white Americans. Wrote songs like rock and roll rather than Jamaican reggae Typology  o Groups you can break religion into  Historical Intersections Between Religious and Popular o Recent phenomenon o Have advertising everywhere - images o European only see images in Churches or tapestry o 15th Century - printing - made art more mass popular o Propagations of images - 18th Century - Revolutions o Edison - phonograph allowed for music o Public music in churches at sacred times  The Modern Era o Religious music = not popular o Cecil B Demille's 1956 biblical epic The Ten Commandments o Religion a lot in Bollywood movies  What is Religion o A deity/deities, worship, rituals, symbols, faith, sacred stories or places, specific actions, set of ethics/rules to follow, doctrine, institution  Definitions of Religion o Essentialist  Religion has an essence and tries to determine what the essence is (eg. belief in a deity)  Common Critique - definitions not universal (eg. Many Buddhist are atheists') o Functional  Role that religion plays in society (eg. religion functions to unite community - Neil Durchime)  Common Critique - other systems do same thing (eg. Hockey is a community)  Family Resemblance o Stephen Prothero - families share family resemblances o In family of religions, king tend to:  Perform rituals  Tell stories about how life/death began  Write down stories in scriptures  Cultivate techniques ofecstasy and devotion  Organize themselves into institutions  Gather in sacred places and times  Instruct human beings how to act  Express belief about supernatural  Invest objects and places with sacred import  Religion and popular culture are historically linked  What can be considered religion Paul Tillick Religion is that of somebody's ultimate concern Reading - Introduction  Popular culture is a reflection of our beliefs and values because we decide what is popular and what is not  It also shapes us - reinforces mass values  Popular culture establishes norms in society - 1950's tv didn't show African Americans o Promote those beliefs and values  Norms on TV today o Graphic violence o Split families (Modern Family) o Teen pregnancy (16 and pregnant) o Muslim characters (not all bad)  Russell Muchetchen o What is religious studies  Study of people not just religion itself  Study of human behaviour  Why people behave the way they do, but they don't judge them o Difference between religious studies and theology  Theology - study of the divine (gods) (Christian)  Religion - what is this  Theology - what you ought to do  Religion - treats culture (what humans create) as science (observes, but not judging) Religious Studies Subjective:  A confessional orientation towards religion (eg. Theology: the faith=based study of divinity)  Dali Lama - Is a Buddhist Objective:  The disinterested scientific study of a broad category known as religion or religions  Dr. ___ - not a Buddhist, but studies it So far..  The academic study f religion is different from the subjective study of religion  Studying religion and popular culture is a rigorous scientific endeavor Religious Satire Life of Brian - Clip  Pokes fun at Christianity  Making fun of the miracles that Jesus would be able to create  Saying Jesus was a healer - guy was a mute  Find meanings in odd things (shoes)  No matter what the people still believe the same thing (said he wasn't and said he was The Masia)  Demonstrating human behaviour in a funny way  Over thinking and looking at things literally  Mocks sheep mentality of followers  Those that believe in 1 truth are quick to kill non-believers The Role of Satire in the Clip  Satire is three things o Humorous o Primarily an act of inquiry into the truth, falsity or reasonableness of an idea/practice o Goal is not to provide answers for the questions it raises but to create a more reflective, critical thinking/wiser audience South Park - Christian Rock Hard (s7e9)  Cartman is the lampoon because he didn't get anywhere or anything he wanted  Critical thinking - asks questions, debatable if their making fun of consumerism or religion o Downloading - right or wrong o Religion and comotication o Uses offensive language - get the point across,  Money and religion don't go together SUM: critical thinking  religious satire is often about questioning, deconstructing, probing, weighing established truths or grand narratives  Religious studies approaches religious truths objectively, scientifically o Eg. biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) Recap  Differences between religious studies and theology o Instruction about religion vs. religious instruction o Theology - subjective - faith based o Religion - objective - scientific study  What are the functions of religious satire in the Life of Brian and South Park o Ask question - make people critically reflect on what they're watching o Humor - to grab the audiences attention o An inquiry into the truth, falsity or reasonableness of an idea/practice Culture  Cultura: to cultivate the soil  Culture refers to a diverse set of human behaviours and inventions including but not limited to technologies, rituals, symbols, language, beliefs, art, performance, lifestyle, clothing, music and dance (the human created world) o Things humans construct o World created and practiced by humans  High culture - elite culture  Low culture - everyday culture  Popular culture - mass culture - targeted to a wide audience - low culture  High - gourmet meal  Folk - casserole  Pop - MacDonald's  Popular culture is a "bastard form of mass culture" that merely repeats the same set of meanings in every new iteration of book, film, television (Ronald Barthes 1975,4)  Modern pop culture o Pop art began to displace the meaning and traditional place of art in society o Andy Warhol held up everyday culture as something worthy of art  Marshall McLuhan o Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century  Theories of Popular Culture o Frankfurt School - Advertising tricks you into thinking about capitalism  Capitalism is not equal o Frankfurt school applies this to popular culture by saying: Popular culture hypnotizes the under classes and distracts them from true political engagement   Society not going to overthrow capitalism because more concerned with popular culture  So far.. o According to the Frankfurt School, pop culture was a form of propaganda used to indoctrinate society with pro-capitalist ideologies and disguise social inequities  Adorno on pop music o True art shows the masses "an image of what they might be, rather than adapting to their dehumanized condition" (Adorno 1984) o Popular culture does nothing to awaken a revolutionary consciousness in the masses Typology  Religion in popular culture o See religious symbols in popular culture (Life of Brian)  Popular culture in religion o Religious institutions use popular culture (Buddhist magazine)  Popular culture as religion o Has a belief in something, you have a routine and the same goal -- it all acts like a religion  Religion and popular culture in dialogue o Ethical issues include both religion and popular culture (Buju Banton- sings homophobic songs) Arcade Fire and Religion  Symbolism - references to Christianity and the bible  Final product is literally called a Bible  Lead songwriter comes from a religious family  Recorded their album in Eglise St. Jean Baptiste in Montreal and lived there as well  Questioning religion and how people act towards one another  Lead guy has a critique against Mega Churches here and everything getting popularized  Minor chords are written like biblical verses  Albums visual imagery recalls church iconography  Employs the use of a biblical discursive form, the Jeremiad - a tale a woah Arcade Fire's Neon Bible  Is there the appearance of religious themes, imagery, language and subject matter in Neon Bible? o Yes, Bible on the front Can you locate the appropriation of popular culture by religious groups using Neon Bible?  o Critiquing the idea that religion is adopting popular culture. Critiquing Mega Churches (corrupt form of Christianity)  Does Neon Bible look like or function as religion? o Yes, functions as an alternative bible  What ethical concerns and values are challenged, promoted, compared, contrasted, condemned and subverted in Neon Bible? o Are they the same thing they are critiquing - using the capitalist system to make money - sell records Arcade Fire's Parody Ex. The fight between carnival an lent (Pieter Bruegel 1559) Is Neon Bible Religious  They are religiously themed Sum  Be aware of Frankfurt School's theories of pop culture  Become intimately familiar with the typology  Be able to apply it to a case study Theories of Popular Culture  The Frankfurt School o Marxist theory - capitalism creates inequality o Popular Culture - hypnotizes the mass because we are a passive audience o Hypnotizes the under classes and distracts them from true political engagement Adorno on Pop Music  Hypnotizing  True art should be revolutionary Arcade Fire  Lashes out at North American religion that is becoming more commercialized  Popular culture is inauthentic or profane  Neon bible is the poisoned bible, the real bible is the authentic bible  Genuine religion should be counter cultural Religion and Popular Culture in Dialogue  Pussy Riot: Russian feminist punk collective o "part of the global anti-capitalist movement, which consists of anarchists, Trotskyists, feminists and autonomists." o Believes people are supporting a corrupt government The Church of Baseball  Popular culture can do "authentic religious work by negotiating what it means to be a human person in relation to transcendent, the sacred or human concerns." (Chidester)  Baseball - creates a sense of community, sacred place, sacred time, uniformity Fetish of Coca-Cola  Fetish: an inanimate object that is worshiped because it is believed to be imbued with magical powers  Commodity Fetishism o Marx believed consumer products were given properties or powers by consumers, powers that these objects did not naturally possess  Disney  Popular Fetishes o Harley Davidson Recap: Church of Baseball  Popular cultural can do "authentic religious work by negotiating what it means to be a human person in relation to transcendent, the sacred or human concerns. (Chidester) o Function of religion  Use Marx's idea of commodity fetishism by the example of a Cinderella doll by
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