Once in a while we run across the words “colective aesthetics”, but few can explain to us what they mean in terms anyone can understand. This brief article achieves this seemingly unsurmountable task, through exposing us to a fun and short test no-one “flunks”, no-one fails to answer. Not only does it make us laugh, it also makes us think why in the world we all know these things. If our brains strive innately to learn and retain them, then –somehow, they are necessary for our survival both as individuals and as societies. It naturally follows that those literatures that feed on these elements and keep them alive, constitute a premier social institution, even if our society frequently fails to appreciate it.
Steven Pinker, in his book “The blank slate; the modern denial of human nature”, gathers scientific evidence in regards to the fact that all humans are born equal in terms of those traits which are innate to our species.
This renown neurolinguist talks here about what has been discovered to be essentially human, and why this knowledge has irated so many people, despite the fact that it can save arts, media, and the humanities in general.
This article analyzes the consumption of cultural works in Mexico, at the end of the XXth century.
In the years elapsed since it was published, however, the number of copies magazines sell -like national papers’ and other media products’ sales, have plummeted.
Several best-selling magazines it mentions, have disappeared from the market; and others are publishing less than a fourth of the copies they did at that time, as a consequence of the very same issues this article analyzed: Creators, producers and distributors of both “high brow” (elite) and “low brow” (popular) works, have alienated themselves from their audiences, and through the continuous opposition to the latters’ values, ideas and beliefs (through both veiled and overt contestation), they have lost their consumers’ trust. And also their money.
In other words: What this article concluded, is still true, including the fact that people -even the younger generations, are reading… –yes, indeed!; but not what some would like them to read.
In the end, this is more positive for society in many senses, than the consumption of media works that would otherwise have corroded even more, the social and cultural tissue of our countries.
What we have observed is the displacement of average audiences, towards works that better reflect the latter’s values, ideas and beliefs, as we should have expected since the beginning: This facilitates the survival of the larger part of the social group and its culture –the part that has been less influenced by media in general, by the way.
Anyone could have foreseen what has happened, from a social-anthropology or systems-theories’ frames of study –we certainly did, and published it all around, while many stared at us in disbelief. Nowadays media fear for their very survival; but the social-body demonstrates a vigour and an intuition, few would have vowed for. It will soon produce new works, away from dominant content agendas, that most of us (but sadly not all), will love.