Okay so I’m working on all my big ideas and sh*t to try and transition from random culture bottom-feeder to media-sanctioned trend analyst and culture commentator. Yeah I didn’t do grad school at Harvard, Yale or Columbia but, hey, whatevs. Pay me to work on a book and, bitch, I’ll deliver.
Anyway – the big idea I’m exploring right now is the “trickle down theory” of culture. People often talk about trickle-up – how mainstream culture co-opts street culture or how high-art integrates pop culture to attempt to remain relevant; but I haven’t really seen anybone talking about how trickle-down works. Maybe because that’s a given. I don’t know. Pay me to do the research. Damn it.
But seriously – the ideas that are explored in high art, and the people that make high art, are usually coming from academia. The universities educate the kids, those kids go to Hollywood and make crappy movies where they name-check Nietzche and make misguided attempts at pop-culture existentialism, etc. But still – there’s a trickle down thing happening. Sure, political correctness is a joke now, it is a rallying cry and the target of scornful disdain from the Right (and the left, and any one of the growing army of people who fancy themselves “mavericks”. Yet, the idea that language means something, that one can re-contextualize communication and interpersonal transactions, de-construct them to reveal cultural bias, is now a given.
I suppose that “trickle down” culture is the whole point of having institutions of higher learning, avant-garde art, etc. Its just that I don’t think that, necessarily, the cause and effect are as directly correlated as they appear. I’d be curious to trace just a few Big Ideas from Academia and the Avant-Garde into the popular vernacular and see how the ideas change and adapt and what the implications are for strategically applied cultural initiatives.
Okay. So I had a couple of beers. Whatevs. I’m still ready for my Gladwell Moment.