By THOMAS STORCK [Anamnesis] – We are accustomed to make a distinction between popular culture and high culture. I suggest this is inexact. In fact, popular culture in the true sense hardly exists anymore. What we have is mass culture and high culture. Mass culture is a centralized culture, dependent on technology, and largely divorced from any real cultural roots. It is a sad product of industrial civilization.
Popular culture was always local, and changed imperceptibly from one village or valley to the next. High culture, on the other hand, always had a certain universality to it, and thus the dissemination of high cultural products via electronic media is not a threat to the very nature of that culture. But such electronic dissemination has all but destroyed popular culture, or left it a relic, preserved by the dedicated labors of folklorists and appreciated, to be sure, by many still, but no longer a living and organic thing. While high culture and popular culture should exist in a friendly and healthy symbiosis, mass culture is the enemy of both. An explicit effort, it seems to me, would have to be made in order to weaken the hold of mass culture and, if possible, to begin to create a popular culture again.