Gray Flannel Dwarf

6/30/2006

Long in the tooth.

The timeframe this author discusses is a little bit before my time, but for some reason I find the commentary fascinating.

I grew up in a Crest toothpaste family. Most of my friends were from cooler Colgate families. A very few buds, ones with confusingly hot moms, were from the rare but sexy Pepsodent families.


Tags: , , — cswiii @ 9:45 am

8/20/2001

sociedad con queso

These thoughts are not really nicely organised.

I posted a comment in someone else’s journal, regarding the fragmentation, compartmentalisation of our culture, and it got me thinking: How can we have such a big, bloated American culture, and yet have all this ethnic and cultural strife?

When you order nachos and cheese, what have you got? You have that big, soft, all-encompassing goo that pervades and envelops the plate of sharp, non-pliable tortillas.

We’re not a melting pot, we’re not a salad bowl. The American culture is a big plate of nachos and cheese. There’s this big “American Culture” that encompasses all that we do and who whe are. Underneath that culture, however, you’ve got numerous subcultures and sects that are not as prone to change, and that have the desire to stay visible amongst all backdrop.

Now, having a so-called “American Culture” can be a good thing. It holds groups together and tightens bonds. However, when it starts to go bad, things fall apart. Henry Rollins once labelled it as “a culture that’s evaporating”. I tend to agree. The reduction of quality in our culture has people grasping for whatever they can find, whatever group with which they feel comfortably identifying. The commercials culture, disposable society, the lack of any real handles is leading people to fall back into small ethnic and sub-cultural groups.

Now, a culture starts to die if there’s nothing new and worthwhile created. The inability of the American Culture to absorb and apply some of the subtler aspects of sub-cultures leads to alienation; And while nothing new or creative is being formed in in today’s entertainment world, nor does anything that doesn’t quite fit into the supraethnic mold boil its way to the surface.

We have Britney Spears, an artificial cultural icon created and released into the public. Now, while the phenomenon might be pleasing to the eyes and ears, it’s candy. It’s not sustenance. Meanwhile, musical geniuses and fresh sounds that could really give a stagnant culture a breath of fresh air, instead are trampled underfoot.

Why do we fall apart into thousands of fragmented subcultures and microcommunities? Because we’ve got nothing to grasp in the American Culture, nothing to hold onto, we are creating nothing of which we can be proud.


Tags: , — cswiii @ 3:46 pm