By Michael Kammen
In American tradition, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an exciting, thought-provoking journey of America's altering tastes, makes use of of relaxation, and the transferring perceptions that experience observed them all through our nation's background. beginning on the cut-off date that late-nineteenth-century pop culture started to evolve into post-WWII mass tradition, Kammen charts the impression of ads and opinion polling; the advance of standardized items, purchasing facilities, and mass advertising; the separation of juvenile and grownup tradition; the connection among "high" and "low" paintings; the commercialization of geared up leisure; and the ways that tv has formed mass tradition and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he attracts from assets as various and wealthy because the paintings of esteemed cultural theorists, "The Simpsons," jigsaw puzzles, Walter Winchell's gossip columns, Whitman's poetry, Warhol's artwork, "Sesame Street," and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen lines the emergence of yankee mass tradition and the contested meanings of rest, flavor, purchaser tradition, and social divisions that it has spawned.
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Extra resources for American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century
0l&uvoad (I93 7 ) by TT"11omasI lart Bentcl11(tempera with oil on canvas) ,%r (1949)ty Nornzan Rockwell (oil on 14. 0~z callvas); kT~itttrdl~y RzfeipzingPost covert Koveml~er5 , I 949 X 5 . An4y Wt7rhoi( x 975) by jaxrles Bro~r~iing \4ryet:h (gorxachc and pexdE on pqer) This page intentionally left blank Coming to T e r n s A decade ago, when I began to teach courses on the evoluticzn of taste tevels and cxitural stratificatjot~in the Unitecf States+ourses cuncerned with culture in a democratic sscicy, the c o m m o d i f i c a t of culture, the clranging nature and uses of leisure, culture and nadonal identity9those kinds of issues-a troublesome lack af defixlitional clarity and precislax1 in tile pertinent literature quickly I>ecameapparer-rt.
If we took at two famous respolrses to that query (offered well after 'Waiter Lippznann's) which on point of deparmre, we will gain from the second one a definition of pop~darcttltllre by r~egativereference: culture is ctrciiit~ary rather ti-rm rarefied, a marter of quotidian meanings rather than the gleanings of formal etlucatiotl, Both definitiotls still have their devotees today, tlrougl~the balance of opinion lras surely slri&ed from 1 ' : S. E:liot"slicist v i e w to fiaj~tnoi-rdWifliamsk m m p~,loutistview.
T. '~ Being "exertive" or participatorq. may occur either in the makjng orin tlre consuming of a product or 3 pleasure. (A quilting bee provides 3 goad example,) Ilow people used or responded to what was offered them rnatters a great deal. vtesSRc~narkat9fy egalitarian in tone, the essay sox~ghtto minimize any ix-revitable connection between class and taste, between social status and brow levels---a sure sign that tllis very issue had become vexing in Lktorian hnerica. 'T"here are people who are coarse and vulgar, and there are others who are refined and gentle; t9ut they cannot be distinguislred from each other by ally garb or circumstance apart from character, It is true that a certain leisure, with opporturniy for the cufti\ratioxl of taste and for the pursuit of social satisfaceions, favcors a life that may be caltecf gex-rtle, and that hard work and rough competition tend to coarsen the Inal-rrrers and tab the patrician tone fri-rtmthe speeclr.
American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century by Michael Kammen