Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It's America's World War III! Granny Clampett vs. Matthew Bourne!

What Culture War?

Almost everywhere we turn we're faced with war or the possibility of war: Iraq, Iran, Isreal, Darfur, Equador, Colombia, Venezuela - on only three of seven continents of course: Europe is too old and too tired, North America would rather fight on foreign soil (except when it comes to the Mexican border), Australia doesn't have enough people for a good one, and Antartica's emperor penguins have a hard time walking with their eggs on their feet.

But then, there's our very own "culture war."

Pat Buchanan tried to define it at the Republican National Convention in 1992:

"There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself." In this war, Buchanan said that the forces of goodness (of course) were battling: "environmental extremists", "radical feminism," abortion, sexual orientation, popular culture, as well as clashes over the Confederate Flag, Christmas and taxpayer-funded art.

Culture war. I'll attempt to define it in one of the ways I see it (hey this IS my blog!). Whenever the conversation (or ecommunication) gets around to the subject, I usually say: "The culture war with the right-wingers? They're waging the war, but we've got the culture."

I know it sounds contrived and silly, but I can't help but think there's a grain of truth in it. Why are gays envisioned embracing culture while so many people in America embrace the pop culture of the American Dream? I wish there were a study of tabloid demographics. I looked up "Checkpoint Bonnie (Fuller)" on the web. She's the queen of taboids in the sense that she knows what sells and what doesn't. According to Kein Hyson (CMO of American Media Inc - parent company of Enquirer, Star, et al), Bonnie has adhered to this demographic (which admittedly hasn't changed much over the years):

The typical reader of the Enquirer and Star, according to Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI), remains a grocery-shopping mom in her late 30s to early 40s with a high school education and household income in the upper 30s to mid 40s. In its pitch to advertisers, AMI boasts that readers of the Enquirer and Star "know everything about the big stars" and "watch a tremendous amount of TV." The tabloid audience "has gotten a little older over the years, as is true with all the 'Seven Sisters' and other titles creating the front end of supermarkets," says Hyson.

Yes I know, I'm making an attempt to justify stereotyping but I just can't help it. For the last 20 years, I've winced when someone in the supermarket line picked up a National Enquirer or Weekly World News - because I ouldn't believe anyone would be that starved for celebrity sandals or, dare I say it, that stupid.

My personal favorite:

Bigfoot's Baby Found Abandoned on the Grounds of Neverland Ranch!
(sorry, couldn't scan that one in, but it's for real )

So, who's currently in the front lines?

On one side: Britney Spears, The Olsen Twins (either one), Pastor John Hagee, Prince Harry, WalMart.

And on the other side: the rest of us.

Not a fair fight, is it?

So, guys and gals, what'll we watch tonight?

Should we watch our favorite show? Get a little culture? ...Or a whole lot of culture?