Globalization & American Popular Culture
Yost, Brian, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)
Globalization & American Popular Culture Lane Crothers. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2007.
Lane Crothers provides a highly accessible introduction to basic concepts of cultural studies specifically as related to economic globalization. He begins with a brief examination of means of evaluating culture, moving from a broad anthropological/ideological perspective to the more specific notion of an American culture constructed through the distribution and consumption of popular media. Crothers then provides an overview of the technology and history of recorded media, which he identifies as the central component of both domestic and exported American popular culture. He then briefly discusses portrayals of American cultural values in each of these major categories and patterns of cultural resistance in Iran, France, Venezuela, and Hong Kong. Finally, Crothers predicts future roles of American popular culture.
Crothers examines American cultural values he argues are inherent in all popular culture products, which he claims manifest performances of civic duty, in three somewhat arbitrary cases for each major production area. Comprising this section are the films Titanic, The Patriot, and Blade Runner, TV series Star Trek, The West Wing, and Max Headroom; and musicians Britney Spears, Garth Brooks and Tupac Shakur. The purpose of this examination is to "offer a series of extended analyses of representative examples of American movies, music, and television programs that have been popular worldwide. Rather than just relying on the broad descriptions available in academic research, then, this section offers a detailed examination of the ideals, values, and themes contained within American popular culture" (73). This is a very ambitious claim, worthy of extended consideration, one Crothers attempts to speak on in as broad a context as possible. However, much of Crothers' research material comes from web sites including Wikipedia, answers.com and celebritywonder.com. While the Internet offers the potential for globalized commentary on popculture icons, Crothers' usage of web materials seems more an evasion of library research. For each media genre, he discusses the positive cultural values portrayed in his first two selections and the negative values of the third. …