Comments on Culture

Warming up the amp | August 26, 2009

“CNN is supposed to be the best. But, I’m not buying the crap they’re selling lately.”

Now, these two young adults don’t seem to be crackpots. They’re not inadvertently flaunting teenage pot use and think they sound, like really smart, man, when they talk about media conspiracies. No, these are your average college students, people who would be your friends or coworkers or children. People I would talk to. But I don’t; today I’m just eavesdropping.

If they think the crap that the news tells them is either a half-truth or just some fluff line about something they don’t care about… What do they consider truth, to be valuable? What would they want to hear the international voice of America to say?

The individual—that forever targeted consumer, that internationally disdained representative of America, that constituent—what does that person really think?

The answer is in the language. It’s in conversations taking place at kitchen tables, in study sessions for poli-sci midterms, over phones with brothers-in-law, in text messages from San Francisco to Seoul. In stores, between “That’s too expensive” and “Seriously, what kind of grown-assed woman buys glitter?” you will find statements of values. Daily, even banal, conversation can reveal what people really want to hear about, what they base their life decisions on, what they are willing to take time out of their over-packed lives to think about and talk about, but what you cannot find anywhere on the Yahoo! News main page.

Because I love these questions, and because I’m a bit of a nerd who actually enjoys anthropology, I’ve been doing some eavesdropping. This week’s locations are Heine Brothers Coffee at Douglass Loop, Shelby Park, the waiting room of a tutoring service in St Matthews, the nail polish aisle of the Walgreens on 34th, and the fourth street bus line. Rather than a comparative study of different areas, I’m more concerned with finding throughlines of what people concern themselves with in our city in general.

The kids at Heine Brothers agree: they are on to CNN; they’re not buying it, and “frankly, the quality has gone down to suck town…”



1 Comment »

  1. Loved it. Fun to read and ponder…especially this line: “Seriously, what kind of grown-assed woman buys glitter?”

    Comment by breedermama — August 31, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

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