A People’s Culture of the United States

Sojourners, June, 1994.  2 pp.

Populist culture and mass cultural are different beasts. We see this distinction in the difference between a joke passed around the office and an Eddie Murphy movie, between Irish music in the local pub and a Guns ‘N Roses concert, between a church quilting circle and Guess? jeans, between a bedtime story and Cheers, between Faco Jimenez and Whitney Houston, between a church potluck and McDonald’s, between a parish prayer meeting and The 700 Club.

In a mass culture the relations of production are structured according to the dictates of industrial capitalism. The cultural producer (the “artist”) is extracted from the community and handled according to a highly engineered “star” system. The cultural product (song, script, design, craft) is distributed as a commodity that can be owned and sold.

Full Article: A Peoples Culture of the US SKU: 94-7-Pd