Pop culture is a multidimensional concept acting in many interpretations as the opposite of elitist types of cultures and is often replaced by the term mass culture. Nevertheless, popular culture, the formation of which is related to the process of industrialization, took its final shape in XIX-XX centuries (Cottrell 111). The pop culture in contemporary understanding is concentrated on the media and its interaction with the widest audiences.
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The basic characteristic of it is the focus on mass production and distribution. Another feature of pop culture is the orientation on the establishment of the cult of celebrities as a result of which the consumer starts to follow the values and mimic the behaviors of popular people. Most scientists call the creation of a picture of the world where illusionary images form consumer consciousness as the main function of pop culture. It should be stated that though the American pop culture is spread around the world, it has always faced controversial opinions.
Characteristics, Trends, and Issues
Mass culture is a set of values corresponding to the tastes and the level of development of the mass consumption society. It originates from the 20th century, and it is designated by the notion of cultural industries, which point to the standardization of manufactured products and services, for instance, books, movies, and popular music (Danesi 201).
The impact of American popular culture on the development of modern society is extremely controversial. On the one hand, it is characterized by a clear division between the good and the evil, the prevalence of a happy ending, and attractive images of heroes (Hancock, Johnson-Woods and Karaminas 90). On the other hand, many bad habits have been spread through the works belonging to the pop culture. In addition, it is a source of intellectual degradation because it imposes a simplified view of the world.
Most of the works of mass culture have a low artistic value (Storey 29). Consciousness formed by it is rather inert and limited. Despite the fact, that the notions and ideas of it serve as helpful conversation starters and allow people to make bonds easier, pop culture is increasingly focused on unrealistic images and artificially created images and stereotypes. Thus, the main trends of pop culture are an appeal to the widest possible audience and focus on the average educational rate (semantic, linguistic, and expressive) (Crothers 157). The activity in pop culture is aimed primarily at entertainment and commercial success as well as providing a wide choice of goods and services.
Influence of American Popular Culture
Pop culture includes music, film and animation industries, literature, media, fashion, food, advertising, sports, tourism, and many other areas. The American pop culture has a great influence on all aspects of people’s lives since it promotes new types of food and cuisines, it defines what artists would affect the teenagers’ perceptions and sets trends in almost everything ranging from appearance to mobile devices (Cantor 121). The greatest example of a food chain promoted by American pop culture is McDonald’s.
Needless to say that it became so popular with the help of mass communications and advertising. Through mass media, people learn about updates in fashion, clothing, and so on and rush to buy everything that is promoted by celebrities. Unfortunately, it does not allow people to express their personal perceptions and opinions. Despite the fact that many people disapprove of the American popular culture, it still affects many sides of people’s lives and sets trends in daily activities.
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Cantor, Paul. The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2012. Print.
Cottrell, Robert. Icons of American Popular Culture, New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Crothers, Lane. Globalization and American Popular Culture, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. Print.
Danesi, Marcel. Popular Culture, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. Print.
Hancock, Joseph, Toni Johnson-Woods, and Vicki Karaminas. Fashion in Popular Culture, Wilmington: Intellect Books, 2013. Print.
Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, New York: Routledge, 2015. Print.