- Apr 2021
Binstock: You once referred to computing as pop culture. Kay: It is. Complete pop culture. I’m not against pop culture. Developed music, for instance, needs a pop culture. There’s a tendency to over-develop. Brahms and Dvorak needed gypsy music badly by the end of the nineteenth century. The big problem with our culture is that it’s being dominated, because the electronic media we have is so much better suited for transmitting pop-culture content than it is for high-culture content. I consider jazz to be a developed part of high culture. Anything that’s been worked on and developed and you [can] go to the next couple levels. Binstock: One thing about jazz aficionados is that they take deep pleasure in knowing the history of jazz. Kay: Yes! Classical music is like that, too. But pop culture holds a disdain for history. Pop culture is all about identity and feeling like you’re participating. It has nothing to do with cooperation, the past or the future—it’s living in the present. I think the same is true of most people who write code for money. They have no idea where [their culture came from]—and the Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs.
This is a great definition of pop culture and a good contrast to high-culture.
Here's the link to the entire interview: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/bbm%3A978-3-319-90008-7%2F1.pdf
- Apr 2017
making poetry in the streets
One of the cool things about signifyin' is how much it blurs boundaries between everyday speech/language practices and things like writing and speeches which have traditionally been the modes of communication that rhetoric scholars have concerned themselves with. High and low culture is very interconnected, which is something we see not just here but I think also in literature of the Harlem renaissance and of modernist literature (might be worth noting that the Harlem renaissance was during modernism).