June 22, 2021

"I think for a lot of marginalized groups who’ve never had their stories told in the mainstream, the atomization has been pretty affirming."

"Because what kind of stories were we getting when there just were a few big hits? Too many that were interesting just to straight, white males.... There’s just no mechanism for reassembling all these more representative stories into a larger whole."

Said Laura Grindstaff, a sociology professor at University of California, Davis, who studies popular culture, quoted in "The TV hit isn’t just dying — it’s already dead/Astute observers of television say that the idea of a unifying show on even a modest scale is gone. In its wake are a hundred Twitter niches — and a dangerous lack of common culture" (WaPo).

What pushed me over the line to blog this is that name — Laura Grindstaff. Wow. It's like a character in "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens. Speaking of shared culture and white men and all that....


Ann Althouse said...

Ken B writes:

I’d bet women viewers drove most TV hits.

I’m a straight white male and never watched any top shows. I like the idea of lots of niches. What I object to though is what we will get: attacks on just some of those niches. I’d happily watch the Ancient Greek drama channel, but it won’t be allowed.

Ann Althouse said...

Michael writes:

I recall the sociology classes I had years ago spoke of a general culture that had within it subcultures. It wasn't judgmental, it was an observation on how societies are. This talk of "marginalized groups" is very judgmental, very oppressed/oppressor, fitting everything into that narrative.

In a mass market with few outlets, three major networks it is only rational to cast your product in search of the largest audience possible, which explains how formulaic sitcoms (for example) are. Subcultures, by definition, have low population numbers, therefore they were not catered to because that would be too limiting. Not nefarious, just rstional responses based on the limitations back then.

Now, with a multitude of outlets subcultures can be targeted in ways that were impossible a few decades ago.

Unfortunately, that does not meet the oppressed/oppressor narrative.

Ann Althouse said...

ALP writes:

I tried getting past this paywall but could not. But I get the premise - entertainment is terribly fractured and there is a 'dangerous lack of common culture'. We have moved away from time-constricted broadcasts that function like a live performance: be there or record it; failing to do either means you miss it. Streaming, as I explain to my 83 year old mother, is more like a library. You can pick and choose what and when you wish to consume entertainment. Taking the library analogy further - does streaming entertainment fracture us any more than books, magazines and reading does? Or on-line reading/blogs? Haven't we been living in a fractured culture for a long time?

As a K-Drama addict and regular user of Reddit, I am bonding with people all over the world over the latest series. I had more interest in the Baeksang Awards this year than the Emmys! Reddit's translate function works amazingly well, I even get input from Koreans with no English skills. Maybe we are more united globally due to streaming, and less united within one specific country? One could speculate the world is bonding over recognizable story archetypes we all recognize. Netflix will be the savior of us all!

Ann Althouse said...

Wilbur writes:

My favorite Dickensian name is Alge (pronounced Al-jee) Crumpler, former NFL
tight end.

It would also sound right in My Fair Lady.

Ann Althouse said...

Whiskeybum writes:

Laura Grindstaff – yes, that is very Dickensian. My all-time favorite Dickens character name is Uriah Heep.

By the way, I was struck by another name from the earlier post about the Driftless Region… the WaPo commenter’s name was Owen Caterwall. While I mostly agreed where he was coming from in his opinion, it did also sound a bit caterwauling to me.

Yeah, I liked that one too. Assumed it's a pseudonym.

Ann Althouse said...

GPM writes:

"My favorite Dickensian name is Alge (pronounced Al-jee)/It would also sound right in My Fair Lady."

It would really​ sound right in The Importance of Being Earnest. The 1952 movie version has a great cast in a great presentation of a great play.

The 2002 movie version, not so much. The main problems is probably the casting of Rupert Everett as Algy and Colin Firth as Jack. Not to disparage either performance, but that casting required that Algy be older than Jack. Among other things, that change totally destroyed the finale, as well as the internal coherence of the story. And, while I love me some Judi Dench, she was no Dame Edith Evans as the "gorgon" Lady Bracknell.

Another thing that bothered me about the 2002 version. I have the dialogue from the original firmly planted in my head. The 2002 version was bizarre because they kept setting up the jokes, then omitting the punch lines!

Otherwise, wasn't bothered that much by Reese Witherspoon and the pre-Raphaelite nonsense that was interjected.

As I said before, I'm not really into silents and am waiting to see Jaltcoh's view of thirties' movies I'm a lot more familiar with. I wonder if he has any views on these two movies.

John is beyond the silent era. Yesterday, he was up to 1933, so check it out: https://101yearsofmovies.blogspot.com