Popular Culture


Popular Culture

What a joy it is to hold a culture in high esteem.  American popular culture though has some drawbacks.  Carl Bernstein (b. 1944), an investigative journalist of the Washington Post wrote, “The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism.”  Americans find these shortcomings in sensationalism, tabloids, pop music, and displays of some art forms.  All however is not lost.  But it takes acceptance of some basic ethical norms for cultural peddlers to live according to what is right.  Strange as it may seem, the media’s audience buy into what is presented.  Even good Americans fall victims to ubiquitous displays of cultural distortions.  Some may say, “Everyone is watching salacious material, so why can’t I? It gives me pleasure.”  But people must realize they are victims of such presentations. 

 Cultural appreciation can be traced to the Egyptians, Greeks, Italian Renaissance, and Reformation.  In the West, Europeans are loved for the classical tradition.  Masters like Beethoven, Handel, and Mozart are held in high esteem.  People feel empowered by fast automobiles, airplanes, nuclear power stations, and technological advancements.  In pop music Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, the Beatles, and Supremes are icons.  Music of different genres, e.g., rock ‘n’ roll, country & western, Christian, and jazz are alive and well. 

 Billy Joel (b. 1949), a singer-songwriter said, “I think music itself is healing.  It’s an explosive expression of humanity.  It’s something we are all touched by.  No matter what culture we are from, everyone loves music.”  Music fascinates people in uniquely different ways.  Some may disagree about the quality of some songs.  With hymns God is exalted.  Many believers have been converted by “Amazing Grace,” “Bread of Life, Hope of the World,” “Holy God, You Raise Up Prophets,” “Song of the Body of Christ,” and “We Shall Overcome.”

 The American Dream

Most immigrants land on the American shores with hope of achieving their dreams.  When they reflect on these possibilities, they imagine worldly and material things.  These may mean owning their home, finding a good job, having a loving family, having a station wagon, and living in the suburbs.  These goals are somewhat different for every immigrant.  Some immigrants may see living a religious life as a top priority.  Walt Disney (19011966), an entrepreneur and film producer wrote, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  These attributes are essential in understanding the an immigrant’s basic motivations.

 To improve popular culture Americans, must live up to higher moral standards.  H. L. Mencken (1880–1956), a journalist and satirist wrote, “I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie.  I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave.  And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.”  Mencken’s point of view is empowering.  It is always wise to know the reasons for what people do.  All Americans should also pursue a good education for its liberating.  Knowledge is an important attribute for building up the American culture.



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