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...]