The mystery of my PhD explained
Well, sort of...
I'm back from London, and gearing up for more travel, conferences, and other fun things before the summer is through. After a visit to Canada I'll be heading to Finland for a conference called the "Intensive European Programme for Doctoral Research in Communications."
At this conference I'll be explaining my PhD in progress and hopefully getting some feedback about it. So if you ever wonder what it is exactly that I'm doing for my work, you can download the paper and hopefully get an idea. It's a bit dense, but hey, it's for a conference full of eggheads like myself.
Posted by matt at 02:44 PM
Mao on the link between art and politics
I was reading some Mao today, and that man has some forceful ideas about the role of art and culture. Here are a few to get you thinking:
1) In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels in the whole revolutionary machine. (Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 86)
2) Revolutionary culture is a powerful revolutionary weapon for the broad masses of the people. It prepares the ground ideologically before the revolution comes and is an important, indeed essential, fighting front in the general revolutionary front during the revolution. (On New Democracy" (January 1940), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 382)
3) In literary and art criticism there are two criteria, the political and the artistic.... There is the political criterion and there is the artistic criterion; what is the relationship between the two? Politics cannot be equated with art, nor can a general world outlook be equated with a method of artistic creation and criticism. We deny not only that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable political criterion, but also that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable artistic criterion; each class in every class society has its own political and artistic criteria. But all classes in all class societies invariably put the political criterion first and the artistic criterion second.... What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and the highest possible perfection of artistic form. Works of art, which lack artistic quality, have no force, however progressive they are politically. Therefore, we oppose both works of art with a wrong political viewpoint and the tendency towards the "poster and slogan style" which is correct in political viewpoint but lacking in artistic power. On questions of literature and art we must carry on a struggle on two fronts. (Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 84)
Posted by matt at 12:37 PM
Who do you trust?
I came across the graph above in an interesting BBC online magazine article entitled "How Did We Get So Cynical". It depicts what kinds of professions are trusted by the people of UK. Note "politicians" and "journalists" enter in right at the bottom.
Posted by matt at 05:35 PM
Homer good, Homer Simpson bad?
I'm traveling for the next week to do some research, so updates may be infrequent for the next few days. Until then, chew on this... Journalists generally tend to be derisive towards media studies programs at universities, and a growing number of new journalists are coming out of those same media studies programs. Is there any value in studying popular culture? Only you can decide, but here's a BBC article from last year to get the debate started:
"Media studies as an academic subject is under fire once again as universities reopen. This year, students opting for the course are accused of returning us to the dark ages..."
Posted by matt at 01:42 PM