Understanding Society, Culture, and Television

By Paul Monaco | Go to book overview

Nor do many of the visitors to Morrison's tomb have much interest in the cemetery's other graves. Considered alongside this indifference toward visiting the graves of so many great figures of letters, science, and politics, what I am describing flies in the face of many traditional ideas about civilization and culture. At the same time, this adulation of Jim Morrison also flies in the face of much common wisdom that holds that the shared passion for popular culture is the result of an equation based solely upon the finely tuned exploitation of sounds, images, stories and personalities for direct economic gain.

The globalization of culture is widely and deeply resented by critics on both the ideological Left and the Right. The Left's dismay with popular culture is based on criticism of manipulation of the market place and the presumed victimization of audiences by profiteering manufacturers and distributors. Although the Cold War proper has ended, leftist contempt and hostility toward this co-optation of culture worldwide by what are considered to be exploitative American interests remain strong. By contrast, the Right criticizes popular culture because it is loose and self-indulgent, undermines authority and tradition, and casts historic notions of the good, the beautiful, and the true into disarray. The Right holds popular culture in contempt, not because of the economics on which its triumph is based, but because its results constitute a diminution of time-honored artifacts, practices, and values.

A critic of the media in the United States who can be identified as being on the Christian Right can sound just as vehement toward the cultural barbarism and exploitativeness of Hollywood movies and American television as did any communist in Eastern Europe before the end of the Cold War. Some leftist French intellectuals try to keep Hollywood movies and television shows produced in the United States from both the big screens and the small screens of their nation with a zeal equal to Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The idea of preservation and protection, whether it be of national cultural prerogatives or of internationalist ideology, remains strong.


NOTES
1.
Samuel H. Wilson, "Disney Dissonance," Natural History, December, 1994, p. 26; Martin Walker, "Disney's Saccharin Turns Sour," World Press Review, March, 1994, pp. 36, 37.

-56-

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Understanding Society, Culture, and Television
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1- Storytelling and Television 1
  • Note 13
  • 2- Television and the Aesthetics Of Power, Virtuosity, and Repetition 15
  • Notes 25
  • 3- Common Contemporary Themes 27
  • Notes 35
  • 4- Agendas, Politics, and Television 37
  • Notes 45
  • 5- Globalization and Television 47
  • Notes 56
  • 6- Wellsprings of Our Discontent With Television 59
  • Notes 72
  • 7- Television and Advertising 75
  • Notes 85
  • 8- Television and Government 87
  • Notes 97
  • 9- Art for Whose Sake? 99
  • Notes 111
  • 10- What Everyone Must Know About Television 113
  • Notes 124
  • Afterword 127
  • Note 128
  • Bibliography 129
  • Index 137
  • About the Author 143
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