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Popular Culture

  • The so-called selfishness of moderns is partly due to the tremendous amount of stimulation received. They are aroused and drawn into experience by theaters, books, automobiles, great cities. The current is quick and strong.

  • ... a steady diet of mass culture is a form of deprivation.

  • As one might expect in a society with mass communications and mass markets, the pseudo-ethic says that whatever is popular, is right. Where the traditional ethic derives its sanction from the superiority of a few, the pseudo-ethic derives its sanction from the inferiority of a great many. The pseudo-ethic is keyed, not to the spiritually gifted, but to the spiritually ungifted.

  • He had the familiar defense of all those who wield great power in a popular medium: 'We only give the public what it wants — .' It is the most useful, and least valid, reason for having no convictions that I know of.

  • The masses are still ungrateful or ignorant. They prefer murder, poisonings, and crimes generally to a literature possessed of style and feeling.

    • George Sand,
    • 1851, in Raphaël Ledos de Beaufort, ed., Letters of George Sand, vol. 2 ()
  • Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.

    • Margaret Atwood,
    • in Earl G. Ingersoll, ed., Margaret Atwood: Conversations ()
  • Cultural symbolism: often overlooked or dismissed, always potent.