As promised, here is a sample taken from the end of the first part of part one. You may or may not recognize it, as it's a re-working of my series on Art.
“So, this is as far as we’ve gotten: There are things men make, and things not made by men. We’re calling the former “art”. And now we’ve distinguished between things men make primarily for doing something else, and things men make primarily for being what they are.
Now it’s time to focus again and ask why make things simply to be themselves. We have to ask and reply to this question if we're going to know how to scrutinize pop-culture (which is what the rest of the book is about, you know) because otherwise we won't have a standard to judge it by. And it's clear at this point that we have to talk about the nature of man to get a good reply to the question because, as we've pointed out, there isn't anything in man the animal that leads to or necessitates making the kind of things we're talking about. This question touches the very root of human nature and, because mankind is part of everything else, the nature of everything all together.
It's much easier to justify reacting to things than to justify starting them. The title of this book is “Let's take Pop-culture” as in “I can take him in a fight”. We are attempting to confront pop-culture and wrestle with it. But, it has to be there to wrestle with. If it weren't for the thousands and thousands of people out there making the music and games and movies and comics and books and outrageous Denny’s style food combinations, we'd have nothing to wrestle with. But, since the stuff is already out there and people (us included) are already looking at, listening to, and eating it, we can pretty easily say, “Hey, this should be thought about. Let’s try to get some good out of it, and identify the bad.”
But, now we're asking why to do something, rather than attempting to make the best of what someone's already done. To do that, we have to know who and what we are, where we are, and why.
There are different theories of humanity that give different replies to these questions and therefore to the question, “Why make art?” These different theories are important to touch on in the discussion of pop-culture because they each influence the way people make and appreciate pop-cultural artifacts. Only one of them is the theory this book is based on though. So, let's get to it.”
The headings of the next two sections are:
Theory of Human Nature #1: Animals who waste a lot of energy, and
Theory of Human Nature #2: Tiny gods who die a lot.
It's an interesting challenge, trying to take something that's already been written and putting it in a different context. At first, I found it quite difficult. There are two main things I've noticed: one is that, because I'm starting with a series of self-contained articles, I found casual reference to things I planned on covering in more detail later in the book. So, I had to remove those and rework what was around them. The other is that the approach I wanted to take was different in the articles than in the book. The articles began with the question of whether artists have authority. In the book I'm laying a common foundation for the reader and me, so that the rest of the book’s discussion makes sense.
That's it for now. Looking forward to doing more!