Popular Culture in the USA The term “popular culture” describes the cultural tastes and interests of the majority ...
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Popular Сulture in the USA

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
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Transcripts - Popular Сulture in the USA

  • 1. Popular Culture in the USA The term “popular culture” describes the cultural tastes and interests of the majority of the peopleof a society. It is the culture of the ordinary American. For instance, opera and ballet in the USA are notpopular culture. Although many Americans attend the opera and ballet, most Americans do not. Theywatch TV, attend sporting events, go to the movies, read popular books and magazines, go to shoppingmalls, and have hobbies. A long list of activities and interests can be classified as popular culture. Advertising, children’sliterature, comics, detective fiction, fashion, film, food, games and toys, popular music, newspapers,photography, radio and TV, science fiction, sports, westerns (novels or films about the American west) –these and many other things are the subjects of contemporary culture in the USA. Comics. One example of popular culture in the U.S. is comics. Comics are read by millions ofAmericans. Comic strips appear serially in newspapers and magazines. Comic strips began in the U.S. inthe late 19th century. A long list of comic book heroes – including Tarzan and Batman – have becomeinternationally known. Film. At first, film was a toy of science, but businessmen soon realized the money makingpotential of movies for large urban audiences. During the years between the two world wars Americanmovies dominated the world movie industry. Films, such as “Gone with the Wind” (1939) made its stars,Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh, international celebrities. The 1970s and 1980s were the sequel.Hollywood studios made sequels of the films that did the best at the box office. The movies “Jaws”, “StarTrek”, “Rocky”, for instance, had at least one and as many as seven sequels. American Music American music appeared as a result of the combination of different music traditions brought byimmigrants from various countries. For Europeans American music means cowboy tunes, jazz, spirituals,blues harmonies, rock’n’roll and rock. At present American pop music is an essential part of show business. It strongly influences themusic life of the world. Rock’n’Roll. It is a product of the youth culture of the 1950s and subsequent decades. Earlyrock’n’roll stars, such as Elvis Presley, thrilled American youth in the 1950s. When E. Presley – a whiteyouth who sang like a black one – emerged in 1954, teenagers went mad with excitement. Elvis became ateen idol, “the King of rock’n’roll”. The foundation of rock’n’roll was a combination of “white” countrymusic and “black” blues and jazz. Rock. The evolution of rock’n’roll into rock during the 1960s was affected by two influences.The first was the “British Invasion”, begun by the Beatles in 1964. The second major influence on rock music was politics – in the form of the civil rights movementand in the growth of America’s involvement in Vietnam. In 1965, Bob Dylan released “Bringing it allback home”, an important album that marked his conversion from folk singer to rock musician. With himthe golden age of rock had begun. Rock had become a major American export to the world. Jazz. Jazz is America’s contribution to popular music. It was invented by American Negroes, orblacks as they are called today. It is American own folk music, naïve, sophisticated, and exciting. It canbe distinguished by its sense of rhythm and improvisational virtuosity of its performers. The rhythms ofjazz have always been the rhythms of revolution, a personal revolution beyond all ideology and dogma.The history of jazz itself is a history of personal revolutions – the clear, classic trumpet calls of LouisArmstrong; the proud, complex elegance of Duce Ellington; the melodic eruptions of the Bird, CharlieParker, etc. Questions 1. How would you define “popular culture”? 2. Are comic strips popular in Russia? 3. What American film celebrities do you know? 4. What types of American music do you know? 5. What were the basic ingredients of rock’n’roll? 6. Can you name any famous American musicians?

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