Ideologies & Popular Culture

As John Storey states, one definition of ideology is that it’s “ideas articulated by a certain group of people.” These ideas & different doctrines that influence our society are created by the elite and usually benefit the people who create them. Storey also points out how overall ideologies benefit capitalism. He elaborates on how a dominant class may exploit the lower class; however, both groups may not directly know of the exploitation. I like how classical Marxism explains ideologies as “a way that society organizes the means of it’s economic production will have a determining effect on the type of culture that society produces.”

It seems that much of everything we do is centered on money, and the companies who profit. For example, we see Bud light commercials for the NFL producing the idea that, ‘ hey to enjoy football to the fullest, you must have a beer.’ Anhueser Busch sits back a collects the profits of a society who is conditioned to want to drink after seeing theses catchy, comical commercials while watching their team. The Nfl also benefits substantially for working with Bud light and promoting the beer everywhere you look. The consumer is happy because they ‘now’ love beer and football, and will continue to buy that beer every time they watch football. It goes hand in hand, & is a vicious cycle. Bud light at it’s finest: now marketing to women, people trying to watch their figure, and the men who have to deal with it

Another point made by the French Philosopher Louis Althusser, is the idea that society follows ideologies to maintain a certain social order that has been embedded in our mind as a sense of normalcy. Althusser states, “ this ideology works to reproduce the social conditions and social relations necessary for the economic conditions and relations of capitalism to continue. “ I enjoyed the example he gave of Christmas.

christmas

Christmas is a multi-billion dollar season that involves an Americanized holiday dictated by gifts and spending. It’s a great marketing tactic created to appeal to families/love/and religion, and expects, (cough, cough) “forces” people to spend, spend, spend, or they can feel depressed, ashamed, and horrible for not participating in Christmas and buying their kid’s an insurmountable amount of presents. Our society is conditioned to feel refreshed and replenished from the pleasure they received from the participation of Christmas. And the businesses continue to thrive making billions from this social construction known as Christmas.

Now we will tackle the most important term we may learn this semester, Popular Culture. What exactly is popular culture? It can mean different things, depending on ones own guidelines or ideas. It could be the most popular mainstreamed things/ideas of an Americanized society. Popular culture could mean anything that isn’t of high culture (as if pop culture is somehow inferior to high culture). These are all social constructions made by society, and serve as guidelines to place things in categories based on class and taste. Storey talks about a concert by Pavarotti an artist who was thought of as high culture until he sold out the event to the masses. He was then place in the popular culture to some and was no longer considered elite high culture. A newspaper then wrote, “It wasn’t for the ‘rich’ but for the thousands..”

This happens everyday in society especially with the new Hipster movement. People will love a band when it is an underground band. Then when the band hits the mainstream, starts getting radio play, signs with a big record label, and everyone starts to like them, the original fans will say ‘oh they sold out, they changed & aren’t the same as they use to be……they were cool like 5 years ago. This is especially true with underground Rock bands. Treated as if being mainstream and part of pop culture is inferior. Too be cool or not to be cool?…. that is the question..

The Bad luck Brian article was a great piece. It really shows how the digital age has made a long lasting effect on social media, the economy, and the personal lives’ of people. I love when videos go viral on the Internet and the creators make their 10 minutes of fame into a business where they turn a profit, even if it is for small amount of time. Now days, with a huge fan base and heavy traffic on YouTube, a person is able to make money just off of the advertisements companies want to put on their page. Bad luck Brian 😦 = opportunity 🙂

The Worldwide Web makes so many things possible on SO many levels.. Thank you Tim Berners-Lee.

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