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The Personal-Essay Boom Is Over | The New Yorker

Focusing on 'assemblage' art, this course traces phenomena such as the 'scrap-book', collage, and recyclia in western culture as well as contemporary 'non-western' examples as found mainly in the culture of Voodoo, and in the cultures of Oceania.

Compare and contrast essay topics are at varying degrees of difficulty

Ladies and gentlemen, there's your winner of the 2011 award for honesty in advertising. A commercial attempting to brainwash consumers into lining up for a midnight sale manages also to explicitly reference the difficulty of shaking free from mindless jingles.

Two Paths for the Personal Essay | Boston Review

Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steadyloss of sharpness in our sensory experience.

All values are human values, relative values, in art as wellas elsewhere. Yet there does seem to have been more or less ofa general agreement among the cultivated of mankind over the agesas to what is good art and what bad. Taste has varied, but notbeyond certain limits; contemporary connoisseurs agree with theeighteenth-century Japanese that Hokusai was one of the greatestartists of his time; we even agree with the ancient Egyptiansthat Third and Fourth Dynasty art was the most worthy of beingselected as their paragon by those who came after. We may havecome to prefer Giotto to Raphael, but we still do not deny thatRaphael was one of the best painters of his time. There has beenan agreement then, and this agreement rests, I believe, on a fairlyconstant distinction made between those values only to be foundin art and the values which can be found elsewhere. Kitsch, byvirtue of a rationalized technique that draws on science and industry,has erased this distinction in practice.

On the other side of the ocean, several Italian-American culturalorganisations decry the persistent cinematic image as nothing less than bigotry, citing the (accurate) statistic that fewer than one percent of Italo-Americans are in the Mafia. A few of these organisations,echoing the official position held by the FBI until the 1970s, denied the veryexistence of the Mafia until it was mentioned in criminal cases in federal courts in the 1980s. Until then, anti-defamationlobbying garnered some isolated and unexpected results; it was strange, forinstance, to hear references to "the syndicate" in American telefilmswhen everybody knew from context that the teleplays' characters were referring to the Mafia, which American mafiosi usually referred to as "our thing" or "our business." Sicilians laugh at the charming Italo-American myth that "the Mafia doesn't exist," but they also enjoy and

Material culture essay | Energy Solve International

Each type of object had a , which was by nature the most noble, rare, valuable, and superb example of its type.

Sarah Hepola, who worked as Salon’s personal-essay editor, described the situation to me in an e-mail. “The boom in personal essays—at Salon, at least, but I suspect other places—was in part a response to an online climate where more content was needed at the exact moment budgets were being slashed.” When I worked as an editor at the Hairpin and Jezebel, from 2013 to 2016, I saw up close how friendly editors and ready audiences could implicitly encourage writers to submit these pieces in droves. For the first two years that I edited personal essays, I received at least a hundred first-person pitches and pieces each week.

What happened? To answer that, it helps to consider what gave rise to the personal essay’s ubiquity in the first place. Around 2008, several factors converged. In preceding years, private blogs and social platforms—LiveJournal, Blogspot, Facebook—trained people to write about their personal lives at length and in public. As Silvia Killingsworth, who was previously the managing editor of The New Yorker and took over the Awl and the Hairpin last year, put it to me, “People love to talk about themselves, and they were given a platform and no rules.” Then the invisible hand of the page-view economy gave them a push: Web sites generated ad revenue in direct proportion to how many “eyeballs” could be attracted to their offerings, and editorial budgets had contracted in the wake of the recession. The forms that became increasingly common—flashy personal essays, op-eds, and news aggregation—were those that could attract viral audiences on the cheap.

All the conditions of modern life- its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness - conjoin to dull our sensoryfaculties.
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Essays on museums and material culture philadelphia

The precondition for kitsch, a condition without which kitschwould be impossible, is the availability close at hand of a fullymatured cultural tradition, whose discoveries, acquisitions, andperfected self-consciousness kitsch can take advantage of forits own ends. It borrows from it devices, tricks, stratagems,rules of thumb, themes, converts them into a system, and discardsthe rest. It draws its life blood, so to speak, from this reservoirof accumulated experience. This is what is really meant when itis said that the popular art and literature of today were oncethe daring, esoteric art and literature of yesterday. Of course,no such thing is true. What is meant is that when enough timehas elapsed the new is looted for new "twists," whichare then watered down and served up as kitsch. Self-evidently,all kitsch is academic; and conversely, all that's academic iskitsch. For what is called the academic as such no longer hasan independent existence, but has become the stuffed-shirt "front"for kitsch. The methods of industrialism displace the handicrafts.

History from things essays on material culture pdf files

Because it can be turned out mechanically, kitsch has becomean integral part of our productive system in a way in which trueculture could never be, except accidentally. It has been capitalizedat a tremendous investment which must show commensurate returns;it is compelled to extend as well as to keep its markets. Whileit is essentially its own salesman, a great sales apparatus hasnevertheless been created for it, which brings pressure to bearon every member of society. Traps are laid even in those areas,so to speak, that are the preserves of genuine culture. It isnot enough today, in a country like ours, to have an inclinationtowards the latter; one must have a true passion for it that willgive him the power to resist the faked article that surroundsand presses in on him from the moment he is old enough to lookat the funny papers. Kitsch is deceptive. It has many differentlevels, and some of them are high enough to be dangerous to thenaive seeker of true light. A magazine like the ,which is fundamentally high-class kitsch for the luxury trade,converts and waters down a great deal of avant-garde materialfor its own uses. Nor is every single item of kitsch altogetherworthless. Now and then it produces something of merit, somethingthat has an authentic folk flavor; and these accidental and isolatedinstances have fooled people who should know better.

American artifacts essays in material culture studies

In his last article on the Soviet cinema in the Dwight Macdonald points out that kitsch has in thelast ten years become the dominant culture in Soviet Russia. Forthis he blames the political regime -- not only for the fact thatkitsch is the official culture, but also that it is actually thedominant, most popular culture, and he quotes the following fromKurt London's : ". . . the attitudeof the masses both to the old and new art styles probably remainsessentially dependent on the nature of the education affordedthem by their respective states." Macdonald goes on to say:"Why after all should ignorant peasants prefer Repin (a leadingexponent of Russian academic kitsch in painting) to Picasso, whoseabstract technique is at least as relevant to their own primitivefolk art as is the former's realistic style? No, if the massescrowd into the Tretyakov (Moscow's museum of contemporary Russianart: kitsch), it is largely because they have been conditionedto shun 'formalism' and to admire 'socialist realism.'"

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