Pulp culture… negotiation and rapprochement in democratic mass experience


If authors become producers and readers become consumers this is neither a mindless slavery to the market nor a revolution in advanced taste. Rather it marks a style of negotiation and rapprochement in democratic mass experience. For instance, for Greil Marcus popular music offered both commercial opportunity and personal freedom within a mass consensus: ‘The Beatles and their fans played out an image of utopia, of a good life, and the image was that one could join a group and by doing so not lose one’s identity as an individual but find it: find one’s own voice.’ / No really authoritarian states can stand pulp culture – it reeks of anarchy and nonconformity and subversion. Thus authoritarian states ban such corruption and condemn rock ‘n’ roll alongside comic books, erotic literature, fast food, Levi jeans, james Bond, US soap operas and Coca Cola.” (p15)

“Pulp acts as a corrosive and subversive force in totalitarian countries for it represents democracy and capitalism and individualism redefined within a new loose and anarchic collective. In democratic culture it has an essentially longer and uninterrupted history in which subversion is now an illicit behaviour always seeking accommodation within a progressibely decentred consumerism. When it seeks bourgeois status (a rare event) it does so only by proxy and then only temporarily.

It is an intersting irony that pulp thrives on the fantasy representation of authoritarian, fantastic figures and situations, situations simplified into violence and erotica.” (16)

Ref: (italics in original) Clive Bloom (1996) Cult Fiction: Popular reading and pulp theory. Macmillan Press Ltd: London


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