By Michael Kammen
In American tradition, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an exciting, thought-provoking journey of America's altering tastes, makes use of of rest, and the transferring perceptions that experience followed them all through our nation's historical past. beginning on the time limit that late-nineteenth-century pop culture started to evolve into post-WWII mass tradition, Kammen charts the effect of ads and opinion polling; the improvement of standardized items, procuring facilities, and mass advertising; the separation of stripling and grownup tradition; the connection among "high" and "low" artwork; the commercialization of equipped leisure; and the ways that tv has formed mass tradition and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he attracts from resources as different and wealthy because the paintings of esteemed cultural theorists, "The Simpsons," jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchell's gossip columns, Whitman's poetry, Warhol's artwork, "Sesame Street," and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen strains the emergence of yankee mass tradition and the contested meanings of relaxation, style, patron tradition, and social divisions that it has spawned.
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Extra resources for American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century
Etr~axn, 1968-73. Some people stilt watch television together, and they may very well disct~sswhat they watch, But if the program is really irnportarlt (such as a nominadng convendrtn or a State of the tinic-,naddress), the audiexice at home is most XilceXy to watch people discuss what they have just scexz and L-reard. It seems clear that we can ix-rvc~kea histc~ricalo r t h o c f t ~that ~ still persisted less than i-riatfa cenmry ago, so ictr-rgas wc acknc~wledgethat it never went entirely unclrallenged.
E:liot"slicist v i e w to fiaj~tnoi-rdWifliamsk m m p~,loutistview. Let's begin with Efiot in 1948: By "Lcnitrrre," then, 1 mean first of alt what anthropologists mean: the way of life of parecular people living together in one place. "T"hat culture is made visible in tlreir arts, in their soda1 system, in their habits and customs, in their religion. But these things added together do not constimte the cuftrure, though we often speak for ctsnvenicnce as if they did. '" h b o r r g h Eliot acknowledges the existencl: of mine workers and field tat~orers,he assumes that in same ~nysteriausway they will share the ~zatio~zal cultural identiy of those with more education and xnoney 2nd higher social status than thexnsclves, FSOW they choose to use their teisure and what distinctive pleasures they may enjoy are beyond his realm of concern," Twenty years later, in I 968, Raymond Wiliams did not repiltdiate Eliot so ~ n u c has find his de5nitioi-r incomplete: P .
ZBlce~ztagether, do those examples t~eginto suggest that some sort ctf cvttut-ai *Mixmasterhas been activat:ed"~:orsooth, perhaps even a paradigm shift? Let5 scr~flback to 1955 ar-rd read Jol-trs,Berger, art critic at that time for the AWra*'Yf~zteg~an in England and The iliatio~zin the United States. EZe ridiculed the notion that an iron divider loomed large bemeen L-rigltrl~rows and fowtzrows. " Berger acknowledged tile e*istencc of "different star-rdardsof appwciation": Sczme people witb an "unrrsually developed visual sensit)ility" see works horn the perspective CJFthe artist; they appreciate ~ C J W the artist has solved ccrtaill aesthetic and technical prolrlemn A majoriv, meanwlrilc, identi+ slcst with the artist but with the content of the art.
American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century by Michael Kammen