is popular culture meaningless

AS General Studies
Mass and Minority Tastes
Popular Culture is meaningless
 It is easy to understand and designed for instant pleasure, with no
requirement to think long and hard about its meaning.
 It is designed primarily to make money, concentrating on attracting
mass audiences rather than creating something of value.
 It concentrates on arousing the more basic instincts in humans, such
as obsession with sex and/or violence, and does not promote refined
 Popular culture involves industrial production and, like the output of a
factory, is repetitive and does not allow artists scope to express
themselves properly (think about ‘manufactured’ boy bands).
 It is dull and mundane, reflecting the lives of the majority of the
audience (who are also assumed to be generally dull and mundane).
 It reflects the further ‘dumbing down’ of society.
Popular Culture is not meaningless
 Not all pop culture is easy to understand. Many examples incorporate
complex ideas, make demands on the audience’s imagination and
intellect and command fine performances by the participants. For
example, some Hollywood films can be thought provoking and appeal
to your emotions and some soap operas can skilfully convey a serious
message to a mass audience.
 Most of the criteria used to assess ‘high’ art forms can also be used to
evaluate popular art forms: music theory has been used to analyse pop
music, theses have been written about soap operas and sitcoms (I
found lots on the internet, e.g. “Are you sitting comfortably? Soap
operas, disability and audience.” By Alison Wilde).
 Not all popular entertainment is driven by profit. Some bands aren’t
manufactured by record companies and make music to reflect their
ideas and feelings.
 Over generations, what is seen as high and popular culture has
changed. For example, many of Shakespeare’s plays were written for
commercial gain and to entertain the masses as much as the nobility;
now they are regarded as classics. The same could be said to be
happening today. Films such as ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ are regarded as
innovative classics. The music of the Beatles has been hailed as being
the modern equivalent of Mozart and many claim it will enjoy the same
 High culture is elitist and deliberately excludes people, whereas
popular culture involves everyone. Entertaining the masses for the
same cost as entertaining an elite is a fairer use of resources.
 A product that aids relaxation and offers some kind of gratification at
the end of a hard working day has to be of value.
 It can be the only art form that some people can access, such as those
with disabilities and therefore no access to outside arts venues.
Adapted from: AS Guru General Studies