the end of popular culture?

Posted by: | April 1, 2009 | Comments Off on the end of popular culture?

I found the readings for this week to be some of the most interesting of the term. They were all concerned with the portrayal of Latin American culture in other areas of the world, and by the transitions which occur when (in this case) Latin American cultural expressions are adopted by foreign cultures.
The first reading focused on the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos, and the group’s use of the media to carry their message to the world. To some extent, they have turned into a cultural phenomenon and representation of their ideals. They use the media to their advantage, in essence marketing themselves, or as the author says, ‘performing’, to the world. Their most well known representative is Subcomandante Marcos, the masked enigma who is their spokesman. When I was reading the descriptions of the Zapatista movement and the Subcomandante in particular, I could not help but be reminded of Che Guevara and the following that he garnered.
The second reading is about the differences in physical ideals between Latin American culture and ‘white’ culture. To illustrate this, the author discusses the specific example of Jennifer Lopez and her famous rear. One of the things which I found to be very interesting was the observation that Latin American culture and ‘white’ culture have extremely different ideas of what type of body is appealing; while in North America, the ‘perfect’ body is extremely thin, in Latin America it is considered to be more attractive to be voluptuous. Jennifer Lopez’s rise to Hollywood fame is significant because she not only broke out of the stereotypically “Latino actor” roles, but she did without conforming to the Hollywood idea of beauty.
The third reading is about Salsa dancing and music in a European context, and about the adoption of a cultural characteristic by other countries. The author describes the shifting of Salsa to other countries, and also talks about some of the stereotypes which go with it. As well, the point is made that one does not have to belong to a culture in order to enjoy aspects of it.


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