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Libraries in Popular Culture: Series Introduction

I like Britney Spears, Nina Simone, and CocoRosie.  I like The Hunger Games, To the Lighthouse, and Being Abbas el Abd.  I flip through Elle, Wired, and Architectural Digest magazines.

The mark of the high-culturered today is the diverse and vast consumption of cultural products.  Put harshly: quantity over quality; put nicely: the cultural omnivore.

I suppose I should clarify that by “high-culture” I do not mean the culture of an elite-rich, but something not quite class related but undoubtedly class-determined; a person in possession of cultural capital, able to communicate in the languages of a vast popular culture, in the “know” on a wide variety of things though not necessarily specialized topics, exposed and receptive to a wide-range of ideas.


Above image is from Community. The necessity of wide-consumption to be considered “cultured” can perhaps feel like a cultural overload.
From imdementalist Tumbler.

But to maximize on this cultural capital, it is not enough to simply consume a wide-variety: the consumption must be participatory.  The person must alter the meaning of the product in some way through their consumption (and sometimes reproduction of it as is the case with fanart or internet memes).  Blogs are the perfect example of how our interaction with culture is changing- and thus the meaning of culture, the construction of our society, and our personal interactions.


LOL!#Funny. The mash-up of Van Gogh and Goyte. To “get it” one needs cultural capital spanning a diverse popular culture.  This mash-up shifts the original meaning of the painting and the song, though to perhaps a more superficial meaning in this case…

For this series I would like to reconceptionalize cultural products from the perspective of the portrayal, position, and function of libraries in popular culture.  Embarking in this is a self-conscious exercise in the contemporary production, consumption, spread, and reproduction of popular culture.  Pulling from a wide range of mediums many examples ranging from low to high brow, I will be actively adhering to a diet of culture omnivorous, made possible by the internet.  The meanings in the cultural products and the consumption of the cultural products will both be altered as I considered them from a specific perspective.

Over the next few weeks (or months, I’m rather lazy…), I will post on libraries in literature, music, video games, art work, and movies.  If you have any examples of a library in popular culture, please post it in the comments.  My cultural capital will only stretch so far.


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This entry was posted on June 10, 2012 by in Libraries in Popular Culture and tagged , , , , .


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