Microcosms of Pop Culture

Posted by: | March 18, 2009 | Comments Off on Microcosms of Pop Culture

I remember when I was in living in Peru last year, every night the eldest teenage daughter and Rutty, the lady who cleaned, cooked and took care of us (also my close friend by the end of the trip,) would watch telenovelas as if it were a sort of religious ritual. If I came home in between the hour that the telenovela was on, it was like everything was put off, the broom sat against the wall with a pile of dust beneath it waiting to be swept up and homework splayed halfway complete across the dinning room table. Now that I look back, it is evident that telenovelas’ influence on people and also culture is significant. Interestingly however, throughout the three months I was there I never ended taking the time to watch a single telenovela. I never watched one probably because I found them uninteresting or hard to relate to. Perhaps this is the very reason why telenovelas are so popular in Latin America. Nelson Hippolyte Ortega refers to the telenovela as being based upon “daily life”, if this is so, then the everyday individual could watch the telenovela and relate to it.
But why do telenovelas try so hard to relate to the audiences? I believe it primarily has to do with generating profits. People will watch whatever they find interesting. The more people watch, the greater profits television stations make, as advertisers bid higher prices to plug their products. Ultimately this creates a new dynamic for both the show and audiences. We see that futebol in many instances seems like a sport that has sold out, can we say the same about the telenovela?

Throughout reading Ortega’s article, I kept thinking about the similarities between the telenovela and Keesing’s metaphor of culture as a “coral reef”. Both share that defining characteristic of continuously reshaping itself through time and interactions. The coral reefs changes with every layer of whatever grows, or attaches itself to it just like how the telenovela is reshaped through commercialization, people’s interests, politics, etc. It is apparent that there are so many forces that readjust how the telenovela is produce.

I am curious though, is there something is this readjustment that has schematic way of doing so? Ortega suggests the some telenovelas are created or change schematically in terms of a homogenous/similar plot line that they follow. This begs me to rethink then my idea of how culture evolves. The issue of the telenovela following a prescribe routine in its interactions makes me questions whether this is true for popular culture. Do all interactions follow the assumption that contamination upon interaction is inevitable?

All in all I found that Futebol and Telenovelas share many similarities in its interactions within political, social and economical dimensions. All seem to act as function of one another and are continuously being redefined.


Comments are closed.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind

Spam prevention powered by Akismet