3: Popular culture as folk culture

Posted by: | February 2, 2009 | Comments Off on 3: Popular culture as folk culture

The readings for this week were very interesting. Even though they were fictional short stories, they all incorporated and demonstrated a lot of the concepts we have been discussing in class.

The Asturias stories were by favorite, but it took me through about half of the first one to get a grip on his writing style and surrealism. All of the “Legend of” stories we read deal directly with indigenous culture but in a very odd, fantasy-like way. They somehow reminded me of cave painting in that they were highly descriptive yet ambiguous and open to interpretation. In all their haze, though, each story seemed to come with a definite moral or message that relate directly to culture–such as “the one who adds creatures of artifice to creation must know that these creatures are rebellious…”

As much as I though the Asturias stories were interesting, though, I think I have a lot of understanding to do, which I expect we’ll attempt in class.

The other story, “The Pongo’s Dream,” was much more clear-cut but otherwise very similar. In the intro it says that the author, Arguedas, had a “desire for a cultural pluralism for Peru that would go beyond a retreat into a narrow tradition. I kept this in mind, and it really helped me understand the story, I think. The story seems to draw on the concept of cultural hybridity for its punchline. As far as a gather, it is attempting to explain how cultural exchanges are natural and not optional; so the master can belittle his pongo servant all he wants, he can cover himself in honey and his servant in feces, but sooner or later they’ll be licking each others honey or feces, so enjoy it while it lasts.


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