Many, especially scholars and critics, insist on a clear distinction between high and popular culture. The division of cultures is attributed to the different levels of socioeconomic status of a society. However, factors, such as the increase of disposable income and the rise of education level, contribute to the blurring of high and popular culture. Herbert J. Gans asserts that people do not limit themselves to just one culture; they indulge in choices from both cultures. Peterson has term the participants of more than one culture as “omnivores.”
Gans has said that culture can also be seen as information. A great example of the convergence of cultures is shows like Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report. Both of these shows are catered through a popular culture format since they are broadcast on Comedy Central and are marketed as comedies. However, the content of the shows are infused with social commentary that deem worthy to be published in The New York Times (undoubtedly seen as part of high culture). Can these shows be seen as popular culture mocking the high culture for taking themselves too seriously? Or can it be seen as high culture infusing their influence and opinions in popular culture?
On a side note, I tried looking for the clip I mentioned in class about the “bothersome” (well, I did not think so) clip from a children’s cartoon and its depiction of Asians. However, after about an hour of search, my efforts were wasted. The clip was nowhere to be found on the Internet. Apparently, many are also trying to locate the same clip. I guess Nickelodeon must be very protective of this cash cow of a show!
The clip was featured on The Soup. It is from a Nick Jr. cartoon called Ni Hao, Kai Lan. It is apparently the new Dora the Explorer, where the main character, Kai Lan, teaches children to speak Chinese. In this particularly controversial clip, Kai Lan holds up a sign that says “Can you find someone that looks like this?” However, behind her is a bunch of people that has the same facial features as her but with different hairstyles. I have attached a photo of the characters in this cartoon. As you can see, the people are drawn with similar features.
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