The Rise Of Arts Culture

Today I want to make an argument about the rise of arts culture. In the 1950s, at the dawn of TV, the medium's pioneers believed that television would be the great democratizer - exposing culture to the masses. The best of the world's culture could be brought into the living rooms of America. The early shows were full of high-art culture - symphony orchestras, plays, high-minded debates. Of … [Read more...]

A Low Pressure Air Mass…

If the power of mass culture is based on the ability to attract a mass audience, then perhaps it's worth looking at the size of the mass. Magazines: People magazine is solidly mass market. In 2006 it had a circulation of 3.8 million. Its rivals Us Weekly sold 1.8 million and In Style sold on average 1.7 million copies. Time magazine sold 4 million a week, Newsweek did 3.1 million, and US News … [Read more...]

Rethinking Mass Culture

We're consumed by the idea of mass culture. Since television (and before it, radio) brought the immediacy of produced culture into our living rooms, we've treated the power of a massive aggregated audience with awe. That something is popular enough to attain common currency means it has power. Mass culture pervades everything. Writers place a character or location by dropping pop culture … [Read more...]

Time to Start Blogging

I've decided to make this blog active and use it to write about some of the issues I care about. I've been using it as a kind of administrative tool for things which don't easily fit on other parts of ArtsJournal, but there are ideas I'd like to explore through my writing, and diacritical seems like the place to do it. So I'm going to try posting more or less once a day and see if I can get into … [Read more...]

Flyover – AJ's Newest Blog

I'm very pleased to introduce our latest ArtsJourna blog. It's called Flyover, an ironic reference to the geographic location from whence the blog hails. Most of the chatter about the arts in America comes from the big cities, since that's where most of the art is made and shown. But there are many who prefer living in small town America, and not only is there some great art made there, but also … [Read more...]

The Great Newspaper Comments Debate

Newspapers have long touted how responsive they are to readers. They want to hear from readers. They care what readers think. They try to give readers what they want. How then to interpret these debates over what to do with reader comments on news stories? News organizations realize that they have to become more interactive because their readers expect it. The internet is founded on principles of … [Read more...]

Me in the LA Times

A few weeks ago I went to a moviecast of the Metropolitan Opera's "First Emperor" at the local movie theatre here in Seattle. With performing arts organizations everywhere trying to find new ways of appealing to audiences more familiar with video screens than stages, it struck me that the Met has invented a new medium for bringing its work to the masses. It might be the biggest innovation in opera … [Read more...]

A New ArtsJournal Blog

I'm happy to introduce a new ArtsJournal blog. It's called CultureGulf: Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina, and it's written by Cynthia Joyce, a resident of New Orleans. I've been looking to get a blog going on AJ about the Gulf ever since hurricane Katrina hit a year-and-a-half ago. It's a region rich with culture, and yet the storm wiped out much of the infrastructure that supported that … [Read more...]