Self-Portraits Via Cultural Studies


Now remember before I say that, wait, let me issue this statement, no way should reflection be mistaken for glorification – T.I., musician

We tried to be entertaining , but in no way did we want to be mistaken for entertainment – David Simon, creator of The Wire

Culture is a mirror – (couldn’t find original source)

Translation: This is not a pipe

Understanding something is not the same as participating in it. It is the ability to remain disjointed from a subject that allows you to really understand it. I have never shopped for a pair of Manolo Blahniks in my life, but I can observe, study, and understand the mechanisms at work in an episode of Sex and the City. If it still stands that there’s a common confusion of whether life imitates art or art imitates life, I’d have to say that both are true.  It’s a symbiotic relationship. So, from that, we can see that even in understanding Sex and the City, there are participants who watch for entertainment, more who live vicariously through the characters, and a select few who actually see their actual lifestyles depicted on televisions around the world.  There’s always somebody looking up to, down on, in to, and back on any given reality. Holding that constant, we can start to understand why it is that people are drawn to shows like The Wire, House, and Entourage. The skill comes in understanding whether or not somebody is looking up to, down on, in to, or back on any particular situation.  You do not have to be a suburban single mother nor aspiring drug dealer to look into the reality of Weeds. You do not need to be a doctor to look up to or in to the characters on ER. I do however look back on my own experiences in the corporate world and laugh when watching episodes of The Office.

~ by Adam Maikkula on October 19, 2010.

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