By Michael Kammen
In American tradition, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an wonderful, thought-provoking journey of America's altering tastes, makes use of of relaxation, and the moving perceptions that experience followed them all through our nation's heritage. beginning on the time limit 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 and marketing; the separation of minor and grownup tradition; the connection among "high" and "low" paintings; the commercialization of prepared leisure; and the ways that tv has formed mass tradition and consumerism has reconfigured it. In doing so, he attracts from resources as diversified 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 strains the emergence of yankee mass tradition and the contested meanings of relaxation, style, customer tradition, and social divisions that it has spawned.
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Extra info for American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century
TTeedlessto say, popular culture nor only existed but thrived for centuries prior to the period from 1885 to 1935 that 'Ishall Ezigfrfight. I draw a marked diseinctio~lbetweerr what British scholars refer to as "'ct-aditionztl'\peputar culture (flourishing in the sixteenth t-cl t~inetee~lthcenturies) and the consjderakty more commcrciaXized and technologically transfc>rmedpopular culture that emerged at the close oF the nineteen& centuy and tl-ren blossomed exuberantly early in the meiltieth.
At the state Eair and video garnes, a r betweer-r ""soping" d ~ boarde walk at Coney XsIal-rd or Atlantic City and sufrrng the Weit at 130rne*j2 bC"hicb leaifs to the d i s t i ~ ~ e t that i ~ n matters most. I regard popdar cutmre---not [zlwi~ys br,t mnr-e +er$ ~hrnlant-as participatory and interactive, wl-rereasmass culture (until the 19805, when computers caused sigrrificar~tcl-rangesthat lrave yet to Ite fully charted)," m m o$e~ rhnrz rzot induced passiviry and the priivatizatiar-r of culture, In writing about l?
Ijaradoically, L-rowever,that is not the impression that one gets from casual browsing, particularly in the press or even among the cognaseenti. t lerbert Gans declared that "'piputar ~vlltrtireis not smdied much these days either by social scientists or hurnax-rists. . " Much of &is book will be devoted to anmering that questio1-r from various angles of vision, Ifere at the start it seems prrrder~tto begin with an even more basic question on wbiclr there is no consensus r e ~ e c t i n ginetusiveness: What is culture?