CARROLLWOOD-Tampa Bay Thinkers Discussion Group
Given that our Culture is pervaded by Sophisticated Marketing, How Can we Defend Ourselves … and Should We? (Culture vs Marketing)
Planning/Intros 6:30 – Discussion 7pm. Thanks to Gerry for this Topic.
The constant war between “Popular Culture” and the Historical Record passed down through generations have always been at odds. This has been lamented from the time of the ancient greeks to last night at dinner.
The young often adopt, or even create, “popular culture” as a means of differentiating themselves from their elders. Hence, it changes in cycles every few years. Nostalgia, the rosy recollections of the older generations, is often just popular culture from the years when they were young, hence 30-50 years prior.
We understand the shorthand reference to “the gay 90's”, “the roaring 20's”, “the War Year's”. There's a common description of the cars, music and wholesome TV shows by “the nifty 50's"; and the fashions, music, and liberation with “the swingin 60's”. Now we have mis-named “oldies” and “retro” radio and fashions from the 1970's and 1980's. (1970's are NOT "Oldies").
Parts of the churning of popular culture is driven by those with the profit motive. First, by those trying to have a new product. This can be annual changes to cars or fashions. It can be music and entertainment as consumers pay for the “latest" sounds and stars: whether Valentino and Jolson, Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra, Jack Nicholson and the Disco beat. Change equals obsolescence for producers, and a healthy profit from sales of new products.
Consumer Led Crazes
Other parts of popular culture are uncontrolled crazes. The Charleston, Kilroy was Here, the Hula Hoop, Pet Rocks, and dancing “the YMCA”. Changes may be driven accidentally by a popular figure: Handlebar Moustaches, Spats, Beatles Haircuts and Nehru Jackets.
Where they can, business will chase each craze to make a buck for themselves. We saw the same turnover with foods or drinks with Trader Vics polynesian, Smorgasbord, recently Tex-Mex and Fusion creating cascading “me too” outlets. Cocktails went from the martini lunch, a crème de menthe grasshopper and Singapore Slings, now we see single malt scotch, craft brewed beers and cosmopolitans back in style with plenty for sale.
The Attack on Traditional Culture
But traditional culture must be passed down from bygone centuries. Traditional languages, dress, stories & fables, music & dance, foods must be passed on to each new generation. Many are forgotten outside of the cartoonish presentations at tourist locations. Seasonal traditions of Christmas & Hanukkah; Easter & Spring Tide; Fourth of July; Labor, Memorial, and Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving are celebrated in modern America, but current generations may be unable to state why they even exist without a high school history class. Santa Clause, jelly beans, fireworks, picnics, parades, candy & roses, and shopping Shopping SHOPPING seems to be the reason for all American holidays (except those centered around drinking Drinking DRINKING).
Some cultural touchstones have been lost in the melting pot of the modern world, especially the nearly 100 generations since America's earliest settlers. Around the world we see the loss of cultural identity from the shared influence of Hollywood movies and TV dubbed into local languages, of common cars & roads & business transactions, of McDonalds and WalMarts. And now we have cable TV and the internet, the great pollinators for instantaneous world-wide distribution of a common experience. A revolt in the Ukraine is on TV in Peru; an earthquake in China is seen live in Luxembourg; the Super Bowl, World Cup, and Olympics are seen every corner of the globe.
In this modern environment, how can any peoples maintain their “culture”?
THINK ABOUT THIS:
Is “historical culture” important? To us? To our future generations?
Does it teach or share experiences that are now channeled by different means?
Is profiting from popular culture bad? good? inevitable?
The tools for manipulation people are constantly improving (focus groups, skin & eye measurements, CT scans, psychology, etc). Is this a danger?
Can we do anything to protect ourselves and families?
To protect ourselves as a society?
And most importantly … SHOULD WE?