Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When Cultures Collide - Reach That Peak

There is a common culture that all Americans share. Pop culture is one aspect of that experience. What happens when three or more collide?

Pop culture and entertainment fractures in many forms including hip hop, pop music, homogenized entertainment news, movies, advertising and other media used for creative endeavors. They borrow from each other. That's ok. That is necessary. You need that kind of exchange for a variety of reasons.

I watched this commercial and I am split in two; I am like Rayna Kapec in the Original Star Trek series episode "Requiem for Methuselah."

  • I like that it is an attempt to have humor with science information.
  • I don't like that it uses a pseudo hip-hop overlay to do so.
  • I like seeing men move, dance and have fun. Always have, always will.
  • I don't like hearing a seemingly black man's voice coming out of a white man's mouth, it is kinda creepy.
  • I like that was an attempt at fun as well as selling a product that is incredibly hard to define for non-science folks.
  • I don't like that it is ok to use elements of black culture to sell products but that the actual producers and consumers of that product are continually disrespected. (Not the commercial's fault, I'm not saying that is what they are doing.)
I repeat, I'm not hating on the commercial. Boing, boing, ping and round I go.

It just strikes me funny because most of the time the unspoken message is "Why can't you people of color just Anglo-Up." Why do you have to be so different? Assimilation is good."

For the record, white folks can use elements of black culture for parody and satire. For your consideration, Weird Al Yankovick's White and Nerdy.

Just be very, very careful. When in doubt leap over to "Should I Use Blackface in My Blog" and examine carefully the .jpg for your cues. I wish the New Yorker had done that but enough folks are commenting about that cover.

I should find an anthropologist to date or something. We could be in bed and as we snuggle he could explain the ways of human cross cultural pollination and how it affects societies as a whole. As usual, I have questions, many of which have no answers.

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