When we turn to folk culture and contemplate its advocates over a historical span of, say, seventy years, notable changes and even more diversity become apparent. Flash back to Walt Whitman, that curious mixture of New England highbrow poet and big-city rowdy. Kammen's range is broad and his commentary sharp. With wit and ingenuity Kammen traces the emergence of American mass culture and the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions that it has spawned. Mass society may very well serve as a host or context for mass culture; but historically the former antedated the latter in ordinary usage, whereas the latter seems to have outlived the former in common parlance. . With wit and ingenuity Kammen traces the emergence of American mass culture and the contested meanings of leisure, taste, consumer culture, and social divisions that it has spawned.
One other thing- the illustrations in the book are beautifully chosen, including Rockwell, Benton, and a positively magical drawing of Warhol by Jamie Wyeth. Kammen once again delivers the goods in this well-researched and timely discussion of how American popular culture has changed over the past century into mass culture. Michael Kammen is the Newton C. Indeed so insecure are these categories that the popular culture of one generation can become the high culture of the next and vice versa—a fact which applies not only to individual artists but to genres theatre, novel, film , subgenres farce, science fiction, detective fiction and styles romanticism, realism. Back in the 1930s Constance Rourke made an ardent yet isolated case for folk culture as the very essence, not merely of popular culture, but of national identity in the United States.
A fine example from the United States is the dime museum, which flourished during the nineteenth century but disappeared after 1900 because of the emergence of nickelodeons, film, and mechanized amusement parks. Departing from the decade-by-decade analysis typical of history books, Kammen offers up a grab-bag of observations culled from a tumultuous century of cultural change. Once upon a time, you could peg a person's cultural tastes with pinpoint precision. Kammen further distinguishes between cultural authority and cultural power, with the latter being the realm of production and promotion. He wisely noted a common misconception that the mass culture of 1960 was merely an extension of popular cultures of the past.
He charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling; the development of standardized products, shopping centers, and mass-marketing; the separation of youth and adult culture; the gradual repudiation of the genteel tradition; and the commercialization of organized entertainment. A stimulating inquiry into the conflicting ways in which Americans have understood their dynamic and influential culture, more valuable for the paradigms and issues it raises than for the answers it provides. Mass communication certainly facilitates the dissemination of mass culture; and both are undeniably dependent upon the venturesomeness of innovative entrepreneurs. Kammen lectured throughout the world. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University. In his 15th book, he considers. Description Description In American Culture, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an entertaining, thought-provoking tour of America's changing tastes, uses of leisure, and the shifting perceptions that have accompanied them throughout our nation's history.
C 1999 Michael Kammen All rights reserved. An important commentary on the often conflicting ways Americans have understood, defined, and talked about their changing culture in the twentieth century. He is the author most recently of In the Past Lane, The Lively Arts, and Mystic Chords of Memory. Richard Slotkin, whose discipline is American Studies and whose specialty has long been the role of dominant myths in the United States, acknowledges the need for discrimination. He cites the years 1880-1930 as when popular culture gained its footing with increased leisure time and inspired some of its finest often bristling national conversation from journalists such as Walter Lippmann. Yet to intermingle the two only confuses the vehicle with the voluminous load it is supposed to distribute. What's worrisome about all this, Kammen feels, is that America's lively, home-grown popular culture think bowling and minor-league baseball is being rapidly turned over to a mass culture dominated by corporate interests.
And everyone, regardless of class or creed, watches The Simpsons. He charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling; the development of standardized products, shopping centers, and mass-marketing; the separation of youth and adult culture; the gradual repudiation of the genteel tradition; and the commercialization of organized entertainment. This book revels in the twilight zone of cultural pluralism. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University, was a president of the Organization of American Historians. Kammen draws on a richly textured variety of cultural artifacts, and demonstrates deep knowledge of his topic.
As a result of this diminution of cultural authority, he says, definitive pronouncements have been replaced by divergent points of view, and there is, as well, a tendency to blur fact and fiction, reality and illusion. A decade later, when 1960s egalitarianism hit its stride, Susan Sontag could write of a defiantly pluralistic culture smashing the boundaries between gender, race, and social status. But in late-20th-century America, specifying one's brow level is no easy feat. An important commentary on the often conflicting ways Americans have understood, defined, and talked about their changing culture in the twentieth century. In these instances, it is frequently unclear whether the author is directly at fault or simply repeating the muddled usage of predecessors. The other has comic books, cartoons, sitcoms, and videocassettes. Pulitzer-winning historian Kammen Cornell; In the Past Lane, 1997; People of Paradox, 1972; etc.
It must be acknowledged that sometimes the conflation of mass and popular culture occurs in the context of or with reference to the Great Debate over the evils of mass culture that occurred primarily during the mid- and later 1950s. I've read the library's copy, now I'm buying something I can mark on. Traditional popular culture has also been called pretechnological and preindustrial. Despite the somewhat dry title although the Reginald Marsh painting on the cover really cinched my purchase of the book! As Michael Kammen illustrates, cultural distinctions have been bent, blurred, and turned bottom-up since at least the 1950s, when Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller in a symbolic union of low and high. In recent years we have professional students of folk culture deeply concerned to maintain a clear distance between handwrought folk traditions that they cherish and a mass consumer culture that they dislike. A past president of the Organization of American Historians, he is the author or editor of numerous works, including People of Paradox, which won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1973, and he has lectured throughout the world. Though the star-crossed marriage may not have lasted, the effect on American culture remained.