The Pretensions Of Pop Culture And The Death Of Intellect

from: Federalist

The singer Beyoncé Knowles just released a new album, or video, or whatever it is, and it has been greeted with yet another flurry of “Beyoncé thinkpieces” in the middle-brow publications.

It’s part of a distressing pattern these days of overwrought commentary about popular culture. There are the Stars Wars thinkpieces, of course, and the Lana Del Rey thinkpieces or, God help us, even Kanye West thinkpieces. Don’t get me started on the fact that “thinkpiece” is now treated as if it were a single word.

Somehow, back in the day, I’m pretty sure our grandparents were spared the indignity of Benny Goodman thinkpieces, even though that probably would have been more interesting.

The problem with the Beyoncé thinkpiece phenomenon is not just that they tend to be hackneyed and pretentious and are really just a gimmick to hijack a famous name and use it to direct Web traffic to the far less interesting ramblings of a second-rate writer. The real problem is that it’s just pop music.

The problem is the pretense, which suffuses all contemporary writing on popular culture, that we can write about the latest comic-book superhero blockbuster as if it’s Shakespeare and Kanye West’s latest album as if it’s Mozart. But it’s not Shakespeare, and it sure as heck isn’t Mozart.

The singer Beyoncé Knowles just released a new album, or video, or whatever it is, and it has been greeted with yet another flurry of “Beyoncé thinkpieces” in the middle-brow publications.

It’s part of a distressing pattern these days of overwrought commentary about popular culture. There are the Stars Wars thinkpieces, of course, and the Lana Del Rey thinkpieces or, God help us, even Kanye West thinkpieces. Don’t get me started on the fact that “thinkpiece” is now treated as if it were a single word.

Somehow, back in the day, I’m pretty sure our grandparents were spared the indignity of Benny Goodman thinkpieces, even though that probably would have been more interesting.

The problem with the Beyoncé thinkpiece phenomenon is not just that they tend to be hackneyed and pretentious and are really just a gimmick to hijack a famous name and use it to direct Web traffic to the far less interesting ramblings of a second-rate writer. The real problem is that it’s just pop music.

The problem is the pretense, which suffuses all contemporary writing on popular culture, that we can write about the latest comic-book superhero blockbuster as if it’s Shakespeare and Kanye West’s latest album as if it’s Mozart. But it’s not Shakespeare, and it sure as heck isn’t Mozart. Read all >>>

 

Rise of the ‘vocal fry’: Young women are changing how low they talk to sound more like Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry

Females are adopting a croaky drawl known as ‘vocal fry’ and showcased by the likes of many US celebrities including reality TV stars the Kardashian family.

Their voices are also getting lower thanks to the linguistic phenomenon – perhaps reflecting the need to compete with men in the workplace.

One cultural critic complained that it made young women sound like ‘ducks quacking’

Paris Hilton and singers Britney Spears and Katy Perry are among other celebrities who pepper their speech with guttural growls and the style of speaking is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

Also known as creaky voice, it involves elongating certain syllables so that they vibrate at the back of the throat, creating a tapping sound like a stick running along a railing.

With vocal fry, the phrase ‘no way’ becomes ‘no waaaaaaay’ and ‘whatever’ turns into ‘whateverrrrrr’.

An experiment by university researchers found 86 per cent students tested vocal fry in normal speech when asked to repeat a list of made-up words. Read all >>>

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Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … Daily Stirrer …[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]

 

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