Within your breakout room, describe your interpretation of the quote from Lipsitz’s essay. Assign someone in your room to discuss the interpretation when we rejoin the full class session.

“Popular Culture” (Book Chapter)

Room 1

For some populations at some times, commercialized leisure is a history — a repository of collective memory that places immediate experience in the context of change over time. The very same media that trivialize and distort culture, that turn art into commodities, and that obscure the origins and intentions of artists also provide meaningful connection to our own pasts and to the past of others (46).

Room 2

“Yet it is also clear that what we call popular culture differs markedly in its aims and intentions from the Enlightenment culture of ‘beauty and truth’ idealized in the nineteenth century by Matthew Arnold, as well as from the isolated ‘folk’ cultures studied by anthropologist and folklorists” (50).

Room 3

“The messages of popular culture circulate in a network of production and reception that is quite serious. At their worst, they perform the dirty work of the economy and the state. At their best, they retain memories of the past and contain hopes for the future that rebuke the injustices and inequalities of the present” (54).

“Historians and Media Studies” (Article)

Room 4

Victorian “values championed repression, denial, thrift, chastity, sobriety, and hard work. When workers internalized Victorian norms, their labor produced a surplus of goods that could not be consumed by a domestic market filled with poorly paid, thrifty, self denying individuals like themselves” (153).

Room 5

“The minstrel show served as a mechanism of social control by associating desires for pleasure with a taboo of black skin. White audiences could indulge their repressed lusts by watching portrayals of licentious, gluttonous, and lazy black people but could still be disciplined back into normative structures of the industrial age through derisive ridicule engendered by racist socialization” (155).

Room 6

“For all populations, but especially for aggrieved groups, mass communication processes and text offer a hope of transcendence, a fictive scenario that enables them to imagine solutions to real problems. But the same process and texts fragment historical communities into individual atomized consumers, shape even oppositional consciousness by naturalizing consumption as an organic part of the audience imagination, and reflect the interests and ideologies of those who own the media and the structures that support them” (157).