Resisting Culture?

You know the proverb about grasping oil in your hand? And the impossibility of that? Well, that is almost how I feel about defining culture. Culture changes constantly to reflect the {changing} people that make up the culture. Each of the authors that we have read have had their own interpretation on culture. Bell hooks talks about culture in both a negative and positive way. She seems to be implying that the white culture was remixing the black culture. Hooks notes that many black women felt pressure to straighten their hair so that they might have a better opportunity to get a job in the working world. Hooks talks about how doing their hair was an intimate ritual, but now because of the pressure that they feel from the white women, straightening hair becomes “stripped of the positive binding…and more to be exclusively a signifier of white suprematists oppression and exploration.” Hooks illustrates an example of how culture changes.

Culture is like language, creating new words and putting aside others. Shakespeare did not need to use the word “selfie” in his plays any more than we feel the need to use the word “sallet.”

In the beginning of Navas’ essay, he presents different definitions that have arisen for culture. It “originates in nature and is defined by labor”; it is “modified according to the interests of individuals who perform a specific form of manual work” (116-7) Another defines culture as a “type of resistance in search of meaning against the rise of capitalism” (117). In all three of these descriptions of culture, there is at least one uniting feature–culture is defined by people who live and work in any given society. While the means to the end might be different (resisting capitalism, originating in nature, manual labor) the end result is the same: culture is defined through capitalism, whether or not that cause is intentional or not.

I find modern and postmodern culture fascinating and saddening. It is painful for me to read literature that seems to be so very dark and despondent. Many works offer little hope. They seem to give little insight into their purpose. In much modern/postmodern work, people appear more apathetic and not actively resisting. If culture is defined by some sort of resistance, then how are the characters in Waiting for Godet resistant? I have heard many people say that our generation is without a cause and that we aren’t actively fighting for something. Is this true? If it is, then what is culture for our generation? Navas’ definition seems to fall short of this observation.

The amount of remixes, mash-ups, and cover songs suggest a return to what is older. Less creating new works and more revision of the past. Even popular fashion takes a spin at the Indie/Bohemian styles trendy in the 60s and 70s.

The Four Remixes

  1. Extended remixes
    1. (The most common) standard.
    2. Common for dance remixing
    3. longer and heavier beats
  2. Selective Remix
    1. add or subtract to te original
    2. usually to make it longer
    3. Original is still very noticable
  3. Reflexive Remix
    1. challenges culture
    2. (“Nicholas Was” story)
    3. But, it’s brand new
  4. Regenerative Remix
    1. non-linear and ahistorical
    2. Navas says it “appropriates in the name of efficiency”
    3. Example is how Google collects news stories and puts them together in Google News

Remix and Identity Week 2

While reading chapters 1-5 in Lawrence Lessing’s Remix, I noticed that the author emphasized the importance of RO/RW [Read/only and Read/write] cultures. I had never thought about the need we have for both kinds of people in our culture. Normally, I think that it is important to have the later, and the former are the people who, sorry for saying and thinking this, but who really don’t care about the work as much as those in the RW category would. However, as I was reading this, I realized that I am very wrong in this thinking. Lessig makes the important point that the Read/Write culture is not necessarily more important than the Read/Only culture.

Remix is more than just re-writing a text. It is, “great writing without text. It is creativity supported by a new technology.” (Lessig 82). This definition surprised me. I had thought about remixes as a cover of a song, or as switching the genre in a movie trailer. What I had not considered about remix was its ability to take something from one medium (painting) and remixing it to be a song. Or, for an example from class, the remix done in honor of David Bowe. The artist took the lifetime of a person and remixed him into a montage of paintings.

When Lessig says that “no artist works in a vacuum” and that is it very hard, if not impossible, for art to be original, he also says “it doesn’t mean you can’t make original content” (15). I think that Lessing believes originality to be harder, but there is a possibility for some originality. For example, I read some Charles Baudelaire poetry last semester and one of the things that he strove to do was be original.  The genre he worked with–seduction and lovers poetry–was not an original genre, however. So in order to make his work “original” and stand out, he said he wanted to make his work more erotic than previous works. This meant that his work was new. While the ideas he presented may not have been “original,” some of his content is arguably original. He had to make his work more graphic and descriptive than those poets before him. Even when artists attempt to be original, their works still copy and imitate previous works. In this way, every art is a remix of something.

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Hello

Hello friend,

I’m a senior at Oklahoma State University and I’m saved by Grace. God’s grace, to be specific. And one thing I love is tea. Every morning (with some exceptions) I drink a cup, or two, or three, of tea. I think I have been drinking tea since I was five. My mother did, and being the always-wanting-to-be-older-than-I-am child, I joined her. I’m sure I burned my tongue many times. But my mother might have appreciated that brief bit of silence from me. Like Anne of Green Gables, I am fascinated with talking and imagining. And sharing my thoughts with others. My thoughts and my ideas. Sometimes they are quite ridiculous. I am thankful for the friends that I have. They have to suffer through a lot listening to me ramble on and on about something random and often, unimportant. Anyways. I am an English major. I was born in Baltimore, MD; moved to St. Louis, MO; moved to Havre de Grace, MD, drove across the country to live in California, flew to northern Japan, flew back to Cheyenne, Wyoming; drove ten hours south to New Mexico, and now I live here. In Stillwater, OK. Traveling is fun. Moving every three or four years has had is blessings…and its…disadvantages. Leaving friends is hard. Making new friends is also hard. But, both are valuable and worthwhile. Hard things usually are.

I have four younger siblings. I love them fiercely. I’m loyal and dependent. And right now I feel like I’m describing a Golden Retriever. Playful, happy, positive, friendly. One difference? I’m not a dog. My hair is rather blonde, though. Another difference? Just ask my parents, I wasn’t the most docile child you’ll ever meet; and that whole “easy to train” thing? I was more stubborn than submissive.

Let’s see…more about me. I like running, baking, cooking, writing, dreaming, being with people, exercising, playing games with my family, knitting, making up things (like food recipes, crafting patterns, words…) I’ve played and taught piano for over ten years. I took viola lessons for one year, and guitar lessons for three months.

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