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Friday, January 3, 2003

The American Myth Of Individualization

By Kirk Hughey

Invasion of the Culture Snatchers? by Winfried Fluck is very interesting but misses a point.  Products of American mass culture are intended to generate wealth for their purveyors and, following the philosophy of mass production and marketing, to do this well requires reaching the broadest possible market. 

To the extent that one can reduce the complexity of the product and render it accessible and pleasurable to the  simplest level of the greatest number it will succeed. Taken far enough and accurately enough this will make it appeal to that level across all cultural divides- because it will meet a generalized human level of response. 

It would be incorrect to say this overcomes standardization and promotes individualization however. It overcomes the standardization of particuliar traditions to reach (and establish) a more general and extensive level of standard response. In this sense we (humans) don't "Americanize" ourselves but are already "American".

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