Consider Jacques Barzun’s “Tenth Muse” and use his article as a springboard for your own definition essay

. OUTLINE Thesis 1. pedantic old dude is wrong because he fails to define his point 2. most people view popular culture as x 3. therefore, he's set up a false claim P1 Make a summary of Barzun's essay - Barzun makes a claim that "popular culture" no longer exists in America and else where in the world. - Brings up a critical view of the separation of "high brow" and "low brow" cultur P2 Show how Barzun fails to define his use of the term "Popular Culture" - His definition of culture seems to be "A cultured piece of work or collection of art that is popular," that through its relation with the people can thereby speak for them. - he just goes right ahead and uses it like his term was the common usage but his definition is totally incoherent, just like the Slob example in the text book; like me saying "Sparky is a slob, she only does her laundry once a week, doesn't change her sheets every day, and actually failed to brush her teeth after lunch!" My usage there is contrary with what the term actually means - " After reading Barzun's essay twice I still have no idea what he means by popular culture. Is popular a quantitative term? Is he saying "Culture that more than 51% of the population can appreciate?" He seems to be complaining throughout the essay that we can't achieve a homogenously appreciated work of art, yet provides no evidence that such a thing ever existed in the past. He wistfully speaks of Shakespeare and Homer, of the Beowulf and the Bible, which are certainly fine works of art, but how do they apply to popular culture? Did the majority of english people watch Shakespearean plays? How is that even possible?" - He cites examples of Shakespearean England, or the church in Europe through the dark ages. ++ It seems naive to assume that everyone in England followed Shakespeares work or that it effectively "embodies" them. - The phrases common meaning seems to be "trends, ideas, and habits that are representative of the time" ++ I would argue that the Mona Lisa is a popular piece of art but not representative of "Popular Culture" as it does not show the habits trends and ideas of the people of the Italian Renaissance P3 What is popular culture? - The phrases common meaning seems to be "trends, ideas, and habits that are representative of the time" - Information age,

- "isn't that what all of our media is today? Quick blurbs, summaries, facts, statistics, anything effective and easy seems to be the order of the day. Why pore through the Encyclopedia Britannica when you can just look it up in wikipedia? You may lose a degree of reliability, but look at how much time you saved! I have a feeling someone like Barzun spends his days lamenting in his study how the youth would sacrifice academic integrity for efficiency, but someone like Simon realizes that the post Industrial Revolution world doesn't have the leisurely desire to pursue research for the sake of education in itself. Since the Zeitgeist seems to have an attention span of 30 minutes, why not make the most and try to educate students through a medium that the majority of them relate to? I'm torn however, because I am a bit of an "academic elitist," in the sense that I don't think contemporary culture has nearly as much to offer as the works that have survived throughout the ages, and while I may be able to relate the human condition through Shakespeare to my grandchildren, I doubt that talking about "that one episode of Friends" will have nearly the same effect." - Is pop-culture quick fads, or a more representative term, ie is the popculture of today consumerism, capitalism, informationism or is it "Friends," MySpace, and e-commerce? ++ I need to make this distinction... but I dont know the answer yet P3 Do we have popular culture? - To make a claim that "The world is lacking in popular culture" is to say that we dont have trends ideas or habits that are iconic of our times, which is clearly not true - "Clearly, in the modern demotic society there is no art of and by the people" - "And even these two extremes of feeling might qualify as popular culture if they sounded more spontaneous, less like standardized products modified only to compete within an industry." P4 Bring back Barzun's idea - The world is lacking in "meaningful cultural works" - This is due to poor education and intellectual elitism ++ I disagree that the world doesn't have meaningful modern work... look at the beatnik poetry, T.S. Elliot, Mark Twain, the list could go on, we have plenty of meaningful modern work that is iconic of an era Strive for 5 to 6 pages Look through essay for quote from Barzun

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