The end of popular culture???

Posted by: | March 30, 2009 | Comments Off on The end of popular culture???

The three articles for this week are all related in that they deal with the globalization of culture. The first talks about how El Sup and the Zapatistas used international media as a launchpad for their movement, effectively creating a mythology that they would try to exploit. I actually did not know much at all about this and found it very interesting. The second article talks about Jennifer Lopez, and, more specifically, her butt. The author traces Lopez’s rise to stardom, fueled by her butt, to explain the processes and conflicts involved in the globalization of Hollywood and of Anglo perceptions/ideals. It was very interesting to read how Lopez represents a commodification of Latinism which magnifies a cultural conflict (beauty ideals) in the realm of celebrities. However, I think that the authors comparison of her “exploited” position with that of ‘Hottentot Venus’ is unfair and a gross exaggeration. Shes a star, that’s what starts are; exploited. Something about them, physically, causes millions of people to buy magazines like People and to go see movies like Gigli. Her butt is just one example of this, and it happens to be (supposedly) typically Latina. I found the article on samba most interesting, probably because of my interest in music, but I also have a small problem with it. The author really emphasizes how so many people essentialize styles music along ethnic lines. To some extent this is very true, especially when it comes to biological factors, but I think it is important to understand that ethnicity plays an important role. A person’s mindset will dictate how they approach a certain style of music, whether listening to it, playing it, or dancing to it. Well, mindsets, especially about music, tend to differ along ethnic boundaries. This is why B.B. King plays the blues and Eric Clapton plays blues-rock. That isn’t to say that a person can’t acquire or alter their mindset; I’m sure there are some great salsa players in England. But culture will always vary from region to region, from ethnic group to ethnic group. People are different and express themselves in different ways. And a lot of the time, when people deny this and attempt to do what some very different people are doing, you get results that can only be called failure (e.g. Kenny G). Latin music will always be best played by Latinos, black music will always be best played by blacks, and white music will always be best played by whites. With exceptions. Globalization has certainly been progressively increasing the amount of exceptions (of “cross-overs”), but I don’t think culture will every become globally homogenized to the extent that regional differences are non-existent. Regions would have to be nonexistent.


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