American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the by Michael Kammen

By Michael Kammen

In American tradition, American Tastes, Michael Kammen leads us on an enjoyable, thought-provoking travel of America's altering tastes, makes use of of rest, and the moving perceptions that experience followed 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 impact of ads and opinion polling; the improvement of standardized items, purchasing facilities, and mass advertising; the separation of adlescent and grownup tradition; the connection among "high" and "low" artwork; 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 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 paintings, "Sesame Street," and the Book-of-the-Month Club.With wit and ingenuity Kammen lines the emergence of yank mass tradition and the contested meanings of rest, flavor, client tradition, and social divisions that it has spawned.

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S culture? e. Yet OI-rxnann ner,rertheless claims that an ""mtegl-ated mass cuimre" emerged in tine 1890s~though the xnea~~ing of ""integrated" "remains uIl~jear*{~ 'The same kinds of difficrtlities arisc when we turn to other criteria "I"ke of cr~lrvralstrarifieation in search of the ges~esisof snass c~~lrro-e. "" Because the paid vacation did not become a reality for workng-class Amel-lcans until well after World 'War If, howevem; rnass leisure surely did not mean in xgoo what it would come to mean by the E g6os.

T"heywill. applaud not the process of creation but the result, "I'his difference, Llowever, is not tile same as that 1ser-weer-rhighbrow and lowbrow. Both these attimdes of appreciation are nccessasy to one an~)ther,""W a r : Berger saw as an arbitrary and wrongheaded divisiotl bcmeen highllrw and l o w h r w was, in his view, ""based on a misreading of histc>y," We may or may not agree wiclr Berger; masly of his contemporaries in 1955 did not. "" Countless exaisnples of taste-level awareness will appear in tfre chapters tlrat follc>\v* But I afso concur with Berger because manjr of those who read and invoke L~istoryin order to elucidate taste levels in the Uruted States do SO in such a vztricrqj.

11% 195I a Caltup pcrit asked: "Mi& C 1 0 you enjoy most-radio, television or the mwiesl'TRadicl got 50%, ' I T 2 4 X I at1d nov vies 2 1 % . Late in a Ropeqpc,lt of 2,m7 lclnericans pursued a more comptex but i n e i p ~ i n g issue: l3eopfc L-rave been tralking recer-rtly about the 6 ~ c that t they are chnging some of their living hakits. e than they used to, ('l"he aiirswers tataf more than loo% owing to multiple respcm"""") Spending rime at home tching tclevisic>n Reading books Entertaining friends in p u r L-rome Goil-rgout to places of ~mutllicex-rtcreainment 54% 42 34 22 rb In terms of public places and privarc: spaces, it almost seemed as t h u g b tile clock hail been turned back one hzrntlred years.

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