The Irresistible Attraction of Global Culture
A review on "Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things"
Lash and Lury were explaining how global culture industry is different from the culture industry. Mainly their points on post-modernist global culture industry are, the intensified and thingified experience of brand, the eventive approach, the media like a living organism, design intensive branding and so on.
“Culture seeps out of the superstructure and comes to dominate both the economy and everyday life. Culture, which was previously a question of representation becomes thingified”
While reading their paper I was thinking how impossible it is not to react to these never-ending stimuli, visually, auditorily, tactilely. The icons and the fashion and the lifestyle that the brands are representing and the super need to be exposed, to be discovered, finding an enormous amount of energy only to be revealed, only to exhibit one’s daily routine. And the fact that not only some people but all people attending this ritual daily. Checking in, uploading photos, claiming political or social views, make-ups, hair, clothing, shoes, cars, hotels, vacations, glasses, phones and other electronics and so on. Everyone’s creating their own virtual gallery (a gallery as in a museum) and putting on an exhibition of their life. An incredible process of recording and documenting and contributing to the big data. A big major culture, a global act, a unified activism which is in fact controversial in itself as the individualization of people and the loneliness of them collide with this “exposing-self” action done with millions of people.
And there are the others. The resistants. The no-sayers. Who criticize this 21st century version of experience sharing and tries their best to stay hidden. Keeping away from all the branding, advertising and promoting movements and the social media tools such as likes, shares, follows, unfollows, comments. They are always aware of the trends and the trendsetters somehow but they try not to be part of the game. In fact, an endangered species. About to be extinct.
Social Media plays the biggest part on this rapid spread and conquer of global culture minimalizing the local culture especially in big cities which are now called global cities. The physical appearance still -of course- is still reflecting local features but the lifestyle, communicational approach is turning into a prototype character. The food diversity for instance, the global culture is to bring Chinese, Italian, French, Greek cuisine all together into the same city and this diversity in the same pot is something global. The melting down of nationalities is also a point that can be mentioned here. The international and interracial marriage rate increased much in the last decade with the outcome of sentences like “I’m 1/16 African, 1/32 Portuguese, 1/8 Cuban …”. Or the term “half-Jewish” This dilemma people are having between locating self and others under one category but also carrying the genes and culture of several. For generations, it was easier and more common to put labels on people and expect certain types of behavior. However, with the fight against racism, homophobia and other discriminative ways of thinking, and the fluence among countries, marriages and most importantly social media it became impossible to be one thing. It’s impossible to be nonglobal the second of registering to Instagram. Which I’m not against to.
In Turkey, nowadays the multi-layered cultural people can be seen. With clothing that was called hipster-like a short time ago and a religious rosary in their hand. It’s weird because they apply what they were calling feminine to their lifestyle and write down “macho” words under the explanation part of the post. It’s like trying to resist to the global movement, secretly enjoying the skin-care and the hairstyling at the same time. Trying to build a body to put on a real, real tight shirt but posing with an expression of seriousness and “masculine” appeal. This just looks like two pieces of puzzle that just don’t fit together. It proves to me that it’s nearly impossible not to be part of the global culture branding. Just the fact of trying so hard to hold on the traditional way of living whatever bits and pieces are left but somehow also going with the drift.
Quoting from the paper, “intersected into daily life such that we can talk of ‘mediatization’, and ‘the industrialization of culture’ (not just the commodification of culture) and we also have the culturification of media.”. I can say the status the global culture reached today is only the beginning. It feels disturbing as on some level it means losing a part of who we are, but also nice looking from a very optimistic perspective that it whispers the signs of the John Lennon song “Imagine”.