Liberty, culture, the pursuit of happiness and the land of opportunity

I’ve always felt a little dismayed that human development, arts funding, education, equality, job satisfaction and high-level democracy don’t explicitly equate to your capacity to become a cultural heavyweight. At present these things are measured by little bumps to foreign relations or tourism, but I can’t help but think an appropriately equipped society ought to gain some kind of Influential Culture situation, officiating it.

The power of culture can sometimes be invisible, but not when K-pop, marvel movies, or britpop invasions consume every waking thought of millions across the world, catapulting a nation’s position on the world stage, multiplying immigration, and inspiring generations of free thinkers. These advantages are deliberately engineered by governments because they sell more than a product oversees, they sell a happy way of life.

In a way, this is the entire conceit of liberalism. The erosion of the working week, the development of job satisfaction and the quest to a more complete humanism doesn’t net you much, when arguably these efforts are what transformed us from medieval peasants to valued working citizens. In a free country, anyone can conceivably become the world-renowned artist, thinker, athlete or performer of our time, but with an ever corporatising dystopia looming, and work-life balance faltering, many believe such aspirations are under threat.

I dunno about you guys but I always felt that was one of the key political frontiers of our time.


K-Pop is definitely a huge example of that, yeah.
Also Manga/Anime in Japan although they have less of a focus on it and from what I’ve heard the artists there often feel left quite alone, having to resort to influential sponsorships which limit the scope of their works etc.

But South Korea? They literally consider culture an export good. They are working hard to make K-Pop as palatale to foreigners as possible, and it’s working! K-Pop is utterly huge.

1 Like

Anyone got any numbers on that v western pop music?

No, but this happened recently:

The soft power of cultural domination is a very real thing. Arguably, it played a key role in the conclusion of the cold war.

1 Like

I find this claim in the message of this article that sending a political message is bad for comics, strange.

Sex sells, which is political according to feminism. Fascist imagery sells, that’s why people like Darth Vader (undoubtedly he is also cool, but his violent behaviour is not really as obsessed over as giving women a bigger role in Disney Films, even him murdering children doesn’t take away from his appeal as opposed to giving women a bigger role and being in positions of power). I guess what they mean is that certain kinds of political messages don’t sell as well as others.

I don’t see much deconstruction of Batman’s wealth and vigilantism as opposed to making his city better, because one makes a better story and another doesn’t? So appealing to a particular kind of politics sells better?

Or the mainstream of a culture’s politics is considered apoltical?