Monday, March 30, 2009

LAST Popular Culture as Mass Culture

I found Bellos's paper on futebol to be very intersting. The represenation and meaning behind futebol in Latin America became very aparent to me and its outstanding powers on the public, the players, countries as a whole and invevitably the world in one way or another. Its clear that futebol is much much more then just the simple game of futebol in Latin America. For me this was hard to comprehend because personally a game to me is just a game and thats as far as i take it. Futebol as shown in this article however means everything to alot of people. It made me curiuos to why this is so... how such importance and prestige could be layed on such a simple game. It also made me question why this tendency for futebol to be 'everything' and be such a big part of everyday life was more consistent in Latin America rather than North America. It appears as though larger  political meanings are attached to futebol in Latin America or atleast are more evident than in North American leagues. An interesting aspect realating to this is the Olympics where the power of sports is truly showcased. However, this force that connects people through sports can also tear others apart and create grudges/hatred not only between individual players or athletes but on larger scales of countries or regions. At the end of the day it is clear that sports are an extremely strong force with unbelivaibly strong powers globally. 

LAST The End of Popular Culture?

This weeks topic  was examining if there is an end or has been an end of popular culture. In the first article by Guillermo was on the Zapatistas in Mexico. It talks about its intertwined realation with the media and how that relationship is so powerfull. It re-set in my mind the true powers of media and its reign over the general population.In the second article by Beltran the topic of study was not just simply Jennifer Lopez but on a larger scale the popularity of Latina Americana stars in the U.S and around the world. The things that Jennifer Lopez brought to the entertainment world and the was in which she changed it were stupendous. As she carried with her a roboust behind the popularity of it grew. This changed societies views on what was atractive and what was not. No longer was a skinny model body a thing of such desire but the evolution of more larger bodies become accepted and embraced.  It shows that 'crossover' celebrities offer a challange to the status qou of Hollywood and serve as a outpost for something new and different. Its also evident how people such as Jennifer Lopez on the 'outside' can have such an outstanding efffect of social norms and cultural standards. Finally there is Roman-Velazquez's paper. His paper showcases debates about how slalsa contructs a particular sense of Latin American identity through the bodies of musicians. He also mentions the playing of latin music by non-latin people and their assumptions of "natural' relations. All in all these three readings provided me with ample information and new ways on thinking about the existence of popular culture in latin American.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LAST Theories of mixture

 This weeks three readings on theories of mixture were very intriguing.  The term transculturation is brought into use in the firs article on Cuba. Fernando explains that in Cuba there has been so many cultures of which have influenced have been so diverse and overshadow in importance to everything.  Following this paper Polar begins to talk about literature. Both indigenismo and Heterogeneous literatures are examined.  I felt as though when Polar gave some specific cases of homogeneity and heterogeneity I was better able to understand the concepts better.  Later on in this piece a quote by Jose Carlos Mariategui  caught my attention. “If an indigenous literature must ome, it will come in due time, when the indians themselves are able to produce it” ( Polar 108) This quote caught me off guard and is highly debatable and I personally feel it to be untrue.  There is an assumption made that acknoledable Indigenous literature has not already emerged. Finally there is Millingtons paper. I felt his paper for me was a a paper that brought the prior papers and itself together. Talking about ideas and concepts in the last papers and bringing and metamorphing some new ones. In conclusion it is evident that the perception and ways we think of Latin America  has been affected by tranculturation. From here however, I believe we need to anaylize and try to understand the processes that affect cultural views and there social realtions.

Monday, February 9, 2009

theories of mixture 1: metizaje

 This weeks topic of mestizaje was very interesting to read. I enjoyed both Jose Vasconcelos and Peter Wade's essays. The topic alone of mestizaje is one of emotion and strong opinion and thought for many people. In Vascolcelos paper i found the facts and historical information he provided to be very interesting in his referencing back to Eygpt and Greece centuries ago. His exploration of not only mestizaje but racial classification and acceptance as a whole found to be very interesting. As Vasconcelos continues, the relationship he provides between "Latinism and Anglo-Saxonism" proves not only to be relevant to centuries ago but also can still be seen to this day. I find it interesting how he compares Latinism who mixed with local residents to the English who kept to themselves and did not mix racially to the extent of Latinism.  Later on Vasconcelos comes to a conclusion of which i have personally thought of priorly to reading this paper. "The great civilizations began in the tropics and the final civilizations will return to the tropics. " (pg 23)This point personally in my mind to hold so true. One statement of which Vasconcelos makes of which i do not agree is near the end of the paper where he says "the people that Hispanic America is forming in a somewhat disorderly manner..." Although the manner of which they have formed has been different by no means should it be classified as disorderly. As for Wades paper, I found it be very interesting. From the paper, and after analysis i personally came to the conclusion that yes mestizaje is a mixture of two cultures two races but in this mixture a new culture or race has evolved and become one of its own. However there will always be racial hierarchies and racial stereotypes which attempt to destruct these positive reformations of the term mestizaje and what it entails. Like most things in this world however no simple answer can solve issues of such large scales and misunderstanding. In conclusion I found both papers to be informative e and an extremely important part in the understanding of popular culture in Latin America.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Popular Culture as Folk Culture.

 This week’s topic of popular culture as folk culture provided to very powerful and thought provoking essays. Although I am sure many will disagree with me, I personally do not enjoy  the style of Miguel Angel Asturias writing. I am not a big fan of mythical or surreal stories. However with this considered I was able to take away numerous underlying messages and symbols from the several stories provided. I found all the stories to represent greater or larger qualities and aspects of life. Dressing up  these underlying messages and symbols into a mythical setting, I believe was solely Austurias way of getting across important things but doing so creatively  in a different or "fun" manner. As much as I enjoyed Asturias essay to me it failed in comparison to that of Jose Maria Arguedas. I found Arguedas to be very powerful and enjoyed reading it. The "karma" or irony of which the essay evolves is dramatic and defiantly made me think deeply about situations of this sort in not only my life but also the lives of those around me. That over clich├ęd saying of "its what you are on the inside that matter" has great relevance to this story. That in the end we are not judged( *judged being a controversial term not intended to directly imply that of Christianity) by our wealth or power but rather our soul and the people that we are. I liked the stories twisted ending in which the reader is able to be 'joyous' in the events that occurred. Quite literally in the story the pongo treated the master like gold and in turn the master treated the pongo like "shit". In turn the Karma of the situation evolves in the pongos dream where he licks honey off the master and the master shot off the pongo. Both of these stories and folk culture as a whole play a large role in the creation and idealizations and standards of popular culture. Folk culture has a huge influence on this popular culture.  It is evident that even from Asturias paper of which myths and stories were believed thousands of years ago to more recently Arguedas paper that these mythical and outstanding stories have an undeniably large influence of culture to this day. Though as I said, I did not enjoy the writing style of Austurias but felt in the end that the messages and symbols that came from each story made up for my dislike in his style. As for Aguedas paper I completely immerged myself in it and extensively enjoyed it. Over I felt both were beneficial to me and feel as though I learned a lot through analyzing and reflecting upon these two essays. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

What is popular culture in Latin America.

This weeks reading of "The Faces of Popular Culture" by Rowe William and Vivian Schelling opened my eyes to new prespectives and ideas of culture in Latin America and what that actually entails. From the beggining of the essay it was evidence the importance that spanish conquest has had on Latin America. The realationship between the mix of indigenous and Spanish culture is interesting to analys. Later, the discussion of current urbanization and 'economic development' in Latin America is brought forth. In the essay they referee to a qoute by Taussig's. "A community can in many ways be affected and controlled y the wider capatilist world, but this in itself does not necessarily make such a community a replica of the larger society and the global economy." This shows that even with an evolving urbanazation and economic global 'blending' and interdependence that individuality does and can exist.  The then go on to talk about Folhetos of which I personally find very intruiging. Its almost as if these poems assist in the binding of culture. Along with folhetos i found the discusion of footbal to be very similair. It seems a though simple things such as sports and poems represent larger cultural situations. That it's not just footbal but rather a metaphor of which is representative of culture in Latin America. Envolved in this is the extensive popularity of telenovelas in Latin America. It's as if though again these telenovelas are representative of something much larger. After finishing the reading i came back to the question of what is popular culture in Latin America. I came to the conclusion that there is no conclusion and that there is no definitive answer or definition. Popular culture is based off a continually growing and changing world of which makes it nearly impossible to classify the world culture. The one constant that is attachable to the word culture however is that culture is an individual experience of which is different for everybody and the conotations they attach to the word. Things such as telenovelas and footbal are all stimulators for culture but in the end its how the individual precieves and feels about popular culture that makes it what it is. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

L.A.S.T 201 What is the People?

Under this weeks topic of What is the people? two diverse essays were presented. Both essays of, In My Own Words  by Evita Peron, and A Celebration of the Monster by Jorge Luis Borges brought with them two very different perspectives. Peron's extremely long essay had great narrative qualities and I found was easy to agree with her arguments and discussions. She makes some extremely wise statements of which are evident that a lot of personal reflection were done by her self to come to these conclusions. As an example "We  must convince them that the Nation is not a plot of land with moveable border; but rather it is the people..." I really like this statement as   I personally strongly agree with it.  Right from the beginning  a level of trust is induced  between Peron and the reader when she proclaims that it will be her to tell the truth ( with the publics belief or not) When attempting to look at the relationship between Peron and her husband it is evident that she cared about him but was also very skeptical about the people surrounding him as people are not always who they appear to be. Throughout the essay Peron makes some strong conclusions  and that in the end its all about the people. That her wish is that exploiters and "backstabbers" should be removed from the picture. I think that Peron’s position of being within the government yet still somewhat removed and able to reflect upon the situation within the government puts her in a good position. The only issue I had with her article was the length, of which I found to be somewhat repetitive and extended. I felt the points she was attempting to bring forth could have been condensed in half.  As for Borges essay, a completely different perspective is evident. In Borges essay, a strong perspective of being the presidents wife is of course not occurring but I feel as though an equal amount of insight is conducted by him. Both of these essays fit perfectly under the heading of What is the People? When looking at “the people” it is evident that solely one perspective is not enough. The diversification of these essays show that when labializing something as large like “ the people” as a whole, there is no right or wrong, or one or the other way to classify or attempt to define “the people”. I truly enjoyed reading both of these essays and found them to inspirational in the attempted understanding of people and society as a whole.