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The great homogenisation
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orczy



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject: The great homogenisation Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi folks.

I had two disscussions today that ended up talking about the same thing: cultural homogenisation.

It is hard to see the positive in this. And it makes things more difficult for people on the outside. Quality will become something rarer and therefore more expensive.

Example: one creates "odd" music, yet the cultural sway is toward homogenisation. One will easily ignored or misunderstood.

I don't think this is only in music either. Art, movies, food, clothes, and more frighteningly, attitudes.

I don't think I have explained myself very well, but I hope you get my drift.

Any opinions?
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think culture as a whole expresses these attitudes whether it is globalized or not. (I take your other conversations to mean cultures across the world merging and becoming the same, homogenized "thing"). What frightens me more than "the odd guy being ignored" is more like entire cultures & information being ignored.

For example: "Western medicine is obviously much more advanced, so there is nothing to be learned from that crazy mythical eastern philosophical medicine". And so, like the Great Library of Alexandria, that information is burned, forgotten, and lost forever. Welcome back the Dark Ages.

Hopefully, some culture is still left out from the homogenization, and keeps records of that which we forget (much like the Arabian's were able to do with much of the mathematics that was "lost" from the great library).

The one good thing we have to our advantage (and disadvantage), is the fast forms of communication & record keeping at our disposal. The internet has given instant world wide communication to anyone with access. This can speed up the homogenization, but still gives a voice to the "odd man out" for those willing to listen. Which has always been the case for the odd man out anyway. The other disadvantage, is that there is SO MUCH information at our disposal, that most of it gets disposed of simply by being lost in the noise.
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paul e.



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i think there is less reason to fear that this is the case, nowadays

certainly in music lots of artists with less mainstream music are finding large, global audience by using the 'net as their staging grounds

examples that come to mind are Postal Service and Bright Eyes....Broken Social Scene, guys who i persoanlly know are doing it without any major label support [all of whom have a large electronic componenet to their sound BTW...and remixes play a big role too]


and many others beginning to eek out a decent living playing live shows and selling thru itunes and CDbaby etc etc...by creating buzz on blogs etc etc


without the 'net tho, i would be very very worried..but for now, i am pretty encouraged about the potentials
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes and no. The world is now a global village but we will soon see that this concept doesn´t quite work when pandemics, fuel shortage or trade wars do their thing.
As for homogenisation, we are seeing that global media is creating a global popular culture. We are also seeing that access to mass markets reduces manufacturing costs and that "serious" vendors cannot compete with sad and inexpensive products.
We shouldn´t forget that the major record labels have been seeing another effect for a long time now. In spite of access to global markets they haven´t yet coped with getting the right product to the right customers. Seeminlgy this is a very advanced concept? Instead they have been trying to sell the same pair of knickers and for some reason they aren´t getting that overhyping and overpromoting the "fab new one-size knickers" still won´t do the job. Instead they are repackaging the FNOSKs for the nth time and they are even cloning competitors FNOSKs which basically are FNOSKs anyway.
Obviously the FNOSKing is a bad idea.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Obviously some FNOSKing will work, but consider these guys:

cat and elephant

What will cover the territory and then some for cat
will leave the trunk cold for elephant

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmmm. The big factors as I see them here are the desre of people to see and indentify themselves as individuals on one hand and to belong to a group on the other.

The one thing I think is changing is that in these phenomena geogrphy plays a ever smaller role. I certainly don't think homogenisation is increasing on a larger scale. A growing amount of coutnries has freedom of religion, for example. Writing odd music these days is even legal, I'm not aware of any of the recent popes banning certain chords, for example, while that used to be a major job in the past.

Of cource odd music isn't going to sell either; it's a known fact that most people like to share the opinion of the majority, but you are free to play your odd music in private. To continue Steins analogy; I think many people are actually quite happy with the FNOSKs. As long as you buy and wear FNOSKs your behind will be asumed to be "normal". You wouldn't want to be seen as somebody with a abnormal behind, now, would you?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good points.
I really don´t think we are seeing that FNOSKing will work culturally in a global context.
Homogenisation might be the wrong concept here. It is true that "we" are being exposed to much of the same infotainment content, but that does not mean this will result in one sanitized global pop culture.
..And I am convinced that odd stuff can sell as well as simply having a certain appeal to some sick sorry bastards living off social security. Shocked Cool

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
And I am convinced that odd stuff can sell as well as simply having a certain appeal to some sick sorry bastards living off social security. Shocked Cool


Uh.. right.. this is a take on something a dude at EMI Norway said some years ago.
When asked why they did not sign certain new artists he said"Sick sorry bastards living off social security aren´t buying records".

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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I saw Timothy Leary some years ago with a few friends while in college, and afterwards we approached him and asked if he feels with the shrinking world we live in, if loss of identity will be a big issue.

His response exactly echoed our discussion. That with the technology of communication, which is what is *really* making the world smaller, not just travelling physically, but visually and audibly as well (news, internet, etc), that small voices can be heard, and identity will in truth be strengthened.

It becomes easier to make choices about what you decide to accept or reject (if you don't like what's on the news, change the channel, if that doesn't work, go to the web, and you can keep changing the channel there!). As such, it becomes increasingly difficult for someone else to shut you up simply because they don't like what you're saying (such as the independent musician not needing a record label to "make it" these days)..
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opg



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One thing that really struck me this week was having conversations with two coworkers who lived in Albania and the Ukraine (during and after communism). I learned more about the views of a country's people in 30 minutes than I did in 27 years of television and education. When I was younger, the way a communist country or dictatorship was described made you think that the citizens of that country all shared the same view - that they wanted their country to have that type of government. But now, with more reporters on more stations and more voices on the internet, you learn how complex a country in transition is.

I remember hearing on NPR about the Iranian and Saudi Arabian views of the U.S. As it turns out, from this reporter's findings, that the Iranian government does not like the U.S. but its citizens do. In Saudi Arabia (where Bush and other white republicans can't spell the name without O,I,L), the government is friendly (at least to our government) but its citizens have a very negative view of the US. I found this fascinating, and I bet I never would have learned this if I was around 30 years ago.

But there's something really annoying about homoginization and great access to knowledge of other cultures. Did you ever meet someone or watch a show with someone who is caucasian but is REALLY into Asian culture (like traditional Japanese) and it bothered you? I worry that increased knowledge of great cultures can lead to "positive stereotypes" and "positive racism." White Guilt is so fascinating to me, and so is the act of white people trying to identify with a culture that their ancestors may or may not have been a part of.

In a musical context, I get kind of annoyed when I hear blatant mixing of different cultural music styles, especially in pop music solos (sitars, Irish flutes, Flamenco guitars, etc). Having the access to a culture's sounds/instruments and respect for the complexity of them doesn't necessarily mean your song will be an "unoffensive homoginization," whatever that may be.

Having access to all of this information will always be a good thing, but remember that even though there are many channels to obtain it doesn't mean there will no longer be a massive media outlet that strips down the info until it loses all meaning and dignity.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

I really don´t think we are seeing that FNOSKing will work culturally in a global context.


FNOSKing??? dunno

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

See above posts.

You know.. Fab New One-Size Knickers - FNOSK Idea

You know.. along the lines of YABB.

See?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uh.. right..

YABB = Yet Another Boy Band

.. and YABBCFTNT

See?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
See?

Not too well, thanks.

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opg



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Uh.. right..

YABB = Yet Another Boy Band

.. and YABBCFTNT

See?




Is there a emoticon with someone's brain smoking?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very Happy

That one is easy!

YABBCFTNT = Yet Another Boy Band Cloned For The Nth Time

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OPG- Your whitism comments are actually true for all cultures. I just came back from 11 days in Japan on monday. This asian culture is COMPLETELY fastenated with anything from america & the west. One current fad over there is women & boots: They all love to where big boots, almost an aborration of western cowboy boots combined with italian stiletto heels. Millions of people wear these things, and almost none of them walk normally. The tiny heel of this giant boot upon a tiny asian girl gives them this strange crow-foot with an unnatural cadence in walking.

Oh, and I HAD to take pictures of the t-shirts as well. Everyone has t-shirts written in english. But I wouldn't say it's the english language, because the translation is akin to those idiosyncratic words that really can't be translated 1 for 1 between languages. So those 5 english words on a tshirt would never be found combined that way in actual english.

Talk about form over function. With these things though, it seems there is always a massive culture shock of image first, which raises awareness, then later comes understanding (sometimes much later, or as you fear, never).

It reminds me of that really bad Sylvestor Stallone movie from the future, where everybody LOVED tunes from "old" commercials, even though we are completely annoyed by them today. Context and intent are completely lost. Which is what seperates music from sound (or art from noise).
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I love visiting Japan. Now that I don't work for a big company, I may not get the chance again. When I was there I wanted top buy native Japanese t-shirts - you know with Kanji or some other oriental characters. Couldn't find anything. Everything there was in English.

Yes, I hate seeing indigenous cultures being absorbed into the international cultural mediocrity frenzy. When I was in Arizona in September, I heard a lot of Chicano Hip Hop. I like it better than American Hip Hop, but I think it is a nail in the coffin of Mariachi music. Too bad.

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

But that's only fair, JKS! A few years ago I was talking with this Japanese girl and she was very anoyed with all these western shirts that had some Japanese characters on them without regard for their meaning.....
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, Howard, I personally feel that Dutch hiphop with it's "at least one political riot per month" guideline is greatly preferable to square dances on wooden shoes. Costa Rican Hophop was very nice too, made U.S. gangester rap sound like lullabies.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
But that's only fair, JKS! A few years ago I was talking with this Japanese girl and she was very anoyed with all these western shirts that had some Japanese characters on them without regard for their meaning.....


Yeah, I'm sure I've met a girl somewhere with a tatoo over her ass that means "bloated cow with steamed rice" instead of what they think it means, which is some spiritual 1-word kanji that brings them instant enlightenment everytime they turn around in front of a mirror because it's just sooo damn cool.
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ian-s



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Homogenisation is great.
So is Pasteurization.
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opg



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
Yeah, I'm sure I've met a girl somewhere with a tatoo over her ass that means "bloated cow with steamed rice" instead of what they think it means, which is some spiritual 1-word kanji that brings them instant enlightenment everytime they turn around in front of a mirror because it's just sooo damn cool.


ZING! Take THAT 21st century society!
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orczy



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:

In a musical context, I get kind of annoyed when I hear blatant mixing of different cultural music styles, especially in pop music solos (sitars, Irish flutes, Flamenco guitars, etc). Having the access to a culture's sounds/instruments and respect for the complexity of them doesn't necessarily mean your song will be an "unoffensive homoginisation," whatever that may be.



I agree. This is a big argument here, with regard to hip hop. The hip culture has been transplanted into NZ, all the bravado etc, but it doesn't ring true. Very odd.

I am concerned on a broader level however. Away from music, into fashion, art, speech, everything seems to be heading into the same direction. It has all become one big bland blah, and I I worry about the younger generation who just lap it up. ie: Get the car, "customize" it like everyone else, have the same hat (which is for some American sport team), listen to the same commercially produced music that says nothing about your own life, eat McDonalds, text your mates etc. And that is just the teenagers.

I feel hat this goes deeper. McDonalds is a great example. Everyone knows it is rubbish, the company is an evil multi-national corporation, yet they eat there. "I like it because I know what I am going to be getting" is said, as a positive thing! Very odd.

Rant rant rant!!!!!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

a by-product of homogenisation is:
Quote:
The number of "living" languages spoken in the world is dwindling faster than the decline in the planet's wildlife, according to a new study.


arrow http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0515-05.htm

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