Week 1: Introduction to Pop
- What is culture? How is it transmitted?
- What is pop culture? How does it serve as “distraction”?
- What does “bread and circuses” mean?
- What is the goal of American foreign policy, according to both Ramsey Clark and the PNAC?
- Explain how Clark feels about this goal… Conversely, how do the PNAC regard this goal.
- How is pop culture the “non-violent” means of achieving this goal?
- What is Media Literacy?
Q: Define and discuss ‘Culture’ and ‘Pop Culture.’
- 1) ‘A Baseline Definition of Culture‘ (from http://www.wsu.edu/gened/learn-modules/top_culture/culture-definition.html)– People learn culture. That, we suggest, is culture’s essential feature…. Culture, as a body of learned behaviors common to a given human society, acts rather like a template (ie. it has predictable form and content), shaping behavior and consciousness within a human society from generation to generation. So culture resides in all learned behavior and in some shaping template or consciousness prior to behavior as well (that is, a “cultural template” can be in place prior to the birth of an individual person).
- 2) ‘What is Popular Culture?’ http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring01/Falor/whatis.html Popular culture resists the boundaries of definition. It can mean something different to every person. It is mass media, entertainment and diversions. It is heroes, icons, rituals, psychology and religion. It is a way of life, the voice of a people. It doesn’t have to do with the number of people involved, nor does it deal with quality. It is a lifestyle of a group of people, large or small.
- 3) ‘Why does Pop Matter?’ Patrick Schabe http://www.popmatters.com/features/991018_schabe.html Popular culture is all around us, everyday. We have many names for it: Information Society, Junk Culture, Mass Media, and Crap are some of the most common. Each of those labels applies to a specific aspect of the synergistic process of popular culture, but none of those can really come close to appreciating the totality of the idea. Popular culture is itself a system, not a fixed and located place where a communication exchange occurs. What we experience as the fluctuating waves of an ocean of data, sensory input and intellectual rationality is the influence of popular culture in our lives.
- 4) ‘American Pop Penetrates Worldwide’ Paul Farhi and Megan Rosenfeld, Washington Post, Sunday, October 25, 1998; Page A1 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/mia/part1.htm
Q: On what basis does Lear feel that America has become a game show? Discuss…
“America has become a game show. Winning is all that matters. Cash prizes. Get-rich-quick. We are the captives of a culture that celebrates instant gratification and individual success no matter the larger costs.” http://www.medialit.org/reading_room/article29.html
Q: What evidence do the authors offer to support their belief that certain aspects of consumerism prevent safety, proper education, health, and productivity?
- 6) “Overcoming Consumerism“
“There are a growing number of people who are aware that these aspects of consumerism are some of the main obstacles to them living in a pleasant safe community, seeing their children well educated and living long healthy productive lives, without squander and waste.” http://www.verdant.net/society.htm
Q: What is Reeves’ favourite quote, a quote that, to a great extent, encapsulates the thesis of the whole course?
- 7) Ramsey Clark: “Our overriding purpose, from the beginning right through to the present day, has been world domination, etc ……” What does this quote mean? http://www.racematters.org/ramseyclarkinterview.htm
Also: REEVES’ INTRODUCTORY LECTURE: Bread and Circuses… based on the Roman concept “Bread and Circuses”
8) Essential: The website of “The Project for the New American Century” http://www.newamericancentury.org/