The shallowness of pop culture

A lot of people who write and do art never end up sharing their work because they feel it’s deeply personal and wouldn’t be able to stand criticism and judgment.

Maybe that’s part of why art/media/general pop culture has become so shallow and superficial. It’s become widely public to an extent never before seen. Feedback is instant and seemingly universal. Any judgment is sung as if in a choir by millions of people at once, and what’s more, the internet acts as a kind of veil, allowing people to say things pseudo-anonymously.

The human mind is not equipped for this. If the artist does feel their work is still personal and their image genuine, perhaps those are the ones who lose their sense of control.

But, perhaps famous artists and public figures express themselves simply and shallowly in order to protect themselves. No one would try to make their heartfelt poem or secretively written short story go viral. No, 7-second comedic vines are a safe product of expression to present to large crowds. So are auto-tuned pop songs, professionally written by people who devote their careers to catching and replicating the most widely appealing melody such that the record label and artist can thrive, a kind of entertainment economist/magician.

The topic of the song is usually the simplest that can possibly be made any modicum of meaningful—love, party, sex, looking good, heartbreak, and did I say love? Yes, these things are the most universal and therefore the most economical–allowing for greater fame and wealth generation, but they are also safer. They are safer because they are universal, which creates a distance from the individual and his or her work.

The extent to which being consumed by such work actually makes the artists personally shallow is an open question and can be no more than speculation from someone who does not know the artist in question personally. Perhaps such a genuine expression is the ultimate protection–having nothing to hide.

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