Tuesday, September 15, 2009

High Culture/Low Culture: Blogs + New Media Taking Over?

As I read Gans article on popular and high culture, I found myself agreeing with much of his arguments. He reflects about culture and specifically that culture is an expression and a reflection of people's desires. He claims that people have a right to any "culture" they prefer regardless of its so-called, labeled status. (Gans, Preface, xi). Though there are different opinions on what "high culture" and "low culture" can be defined as, today I find that culture has blended and those distinct definitions that may have once stood, no longer have the same meaning. The largest example of this is the movement and/or progression if you will of the technological advances with the media or what is known as the digitalization of the media.
As popular trends such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging and more have soared in popularity in recent years, the new media has raised a lot of questions as to whether or not what we have known to be hardcopy, print media will exist in the near future. As a student and an avid participant in the media, I can't say that I have ventured into using e-books or reading a magazine on a kindle. I can't imagine laying on the beach without a book in my hand or reading a hardcopy of the New York Times. My father on the other hand will tell you that the kindle is the best invention ever created and that there is nothing better than downloading your publication whether it be newspaper or book and reading it at your leisure.
Today there was an article on the front page of the business section of the New York Times titled, "Ad Shift Throws Blogs a Business Lifeline," (NYTimes, Miller, 9/14/09). The article reveals a popular blog that I just happen to keep tabs on daily and how they have achieved a successful blog "revenue" and are attracting "big-ticket marketers," (NYTimes, Miller). Having over "11 million readers a month", this Sugar Inc., started by Lisa Sugar and her husband is reaching new audiences and stealing dollars and advertising that would generally be going to magazines! Sugar Inc. provides content featuring a celebrity gossip, beauty, fashion, and more. So what is this content considered? As it is growing in popularity, would we now consider this to be "high culture?" This blog is achieving high readership and is entertaining and culturally appealing. So are the "standards" of high culture and low culture, now blending with what is popular? And will this new media sensation truly become the way of mass media for the future?

heres the link to the article: NYTIMES 9/14/09
Also...check out the website popsugar.com (this is the celebrity gossip site, but you can reach the other sites by using the navigation)

1 comment:

  1. Since "low culture" is often referred to as "popular culture" or "mass culture," I think super-popular things can definitely be "low" culture. As I said in a class that you weren't at :) , it's more nuanced to think of the dichotomy of high vs. mass than high vs. low, because it has less of a value judgment (e.g. that low isn't "classy" or is somehow inferior).

    Fashion is interesting in general because high fashion has been elevated almost to the same level as art - couture, fashion museums, layouts by art photographers, etc. - but at the same time we have Forever 21 and the Gap and "popular" fashion. Blogs like the Sugar empire I would probably see as popular culture, since they deal with celebrity fashion and products - they are very consumer-focused (which is probably why their ad revenue is so good).