For this Forum, you must post an original statement between 250 words before Sunday 11:59 pm. You may 1) respond to a prompt made by the professor below, Please make clear by title/author/page number, which part of which text you discuss. Responses to these questions don’t have “right” and “wrong,” provided you make a good faith effort to deal with the readings. (These generic instructions will apply every week!) Remember, we looking for reactions here, which means there seldom will be a “right” or a “wrong” answer. Just be thoughtful!
In Chapter 1 of Make Love, Not War, David Allyn describes the reception of the novel Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown. The chapter then focuses on the “double standard” that condemns young women who have sex as having lost their virtue while the same behavior for young men elevates their status in their peer group. Pick one of the following angles to respond to.
a) What social function did this double standard serve before the sexual revolution came along and why did women need “liberation” from it?
b) Does the double standard still exist in the specific sub-culture represented by the community of UCI undergraduates? [to be fair, multiple sub-cultures exist on the campus; so, consider the one you wish to write about.]
c) Describe an incident from your own experience (or “this happened to my friend”) that illustrates the double standard at work today.
The final chapter of Allyn’s book describes the end of the Sexual Revolution proper. Unsurprisingly, that ending coincides with the rise of evangelical conservatism in the 1980s. More unexpected, a particular strand of feminist activism, women opposing pornography, joined forces with the evangelicals–unlikely bedfollows, to say the least–to stamp out the growing ubiquity of pornography. (Technology, probably more than politics, undercut these efforts. The invention of the VCR at about the same time guaranteed that porn would morph into a lucrative industry.) Contemplate the impact of the Sexual Revolution by picking ONE of these two prompts
d) What evidence do you see in “Chapter 21” that aligns the conservative reaction against the sexual revolution with the values of conservatism we have profiled earlier in the course. Do you see their efforts as necessary corrections to the excesses of the Sexual Revolution? Or do you see their efforts as regressive attempts to “put the genie back in the bottle”–essentially failing to recognize that culture no longer stigmatizes the activity.
e) Allyn concludes his book, “For all its faults and limitations, the sexual revolution had contributed to an era of openness, self-examination, and questioning of the status quo.” What do you see as the most important contributions he mentioned (or that lecture mentioned)?
This week’s chapter from Trend contrasts high culture with everyday culture, then laments that too few academics mount serious intellectual inquiries into everyday culture. (The discipline of Cultural Studies, still fairly new, was created in part to correct this.) He also examines the definition of art in this section. Pick one of the following prompts:
f) Trend writes that people function in their everyday lives by “operat[ing] in a complex dialectic with culture. …A space [exists] between oppressive institutions and the consciousness of individuals.” (24) Think about any of the art or artists we have considered so far in this course (any week). How does the work(s) you select mediate between, in your opinion, the artist’s consciousness and the repressive institutions in the culture?
g) Trend notes that American culture often regards a work as “art” only if it adheres to “strict characteristics” that reflect “select philosophical ideals.” (30) He also notes the consternation aroused by Marcel Duchamp when he declared that plumbing supplies became art when placed on a gallery wall and labeled as art. (29) In the two exhibits of “dick pics” profiled on the art page, neither artist took the photos that ended up on the wall. (One used unsolicited photos sent to her or her friends then repurposed them; the other, had the men stage the photos themselves (using her ideas) then send her the results). Using ideas found in the text of the accompanying articles (in other words, don’t interpret the art itself but the words of the reporter who reports the words of the artist), how would you make the case that these exhibits do, in fact, conform to commonly held conceptions about “what is art” in 2019?
Chapter 3 of Culture as a Weapon is called “Fear Machines.” In this chapter, Thompson considers how influencers (politicians, news/media organizations, businesses, groups, etcetera) use fear to promote their agendas. Consider any of the following for your comments:
h) What “fear machines” are at work in the United States of 2020? Who are the influencers? Whom are they trying to influence? What is their message?
i) Connect the examples in this chapter (Thompson’s historical examples or current 2020 analogs) to the culture war issues raised in Week 2’s readings and lectures.
j) Late in the chapter (91), Thompson asks, “how do we resist the politics of fear?” What’s your answer–connect it to one specific issue (current or as discussed in the chapter).
For this week’s Art Interpretation, please consider images included in the weekly Art page, located at the bottom of the week’s reading list. You need not limit yourself to the images on the weekly art page, if you took the time to google other images associated with those episodes. You may react to one of the prompts below.
Remember this post needs to be only between 250 words. Posts are due Sunday at 11:59 pm.
PROMPT 1: Focus your comments on a single work of art or one of the exhibitions. What aesthetic qualities does the work possess that enable it to capture and hold the viewer’s attention? How does the piece appear to stake out a position in some cultural dispute? What did it make you feel when you looked at it? What did it make you think about when you looked at it?
PROMPT 2: Feminist art of the 1970s was closely highly conscious of the sexual revolution and its aims. When you contemplate Image 1 and Image 2, what comment do you believe artists Hannah Wilke and Shelly Lowell intended in their own time about the place of women as sexual beings in a male-dominated culture? Does viewing the work in 2019 evoke a different sense than the artists might have anticipated 40+ years ago?
PROMPT 3: As we have seen in this course, feminist art often contains an element of culture critique in it. The two exhibits profiled this week both comment on the recent cultural convention in which parties exchange nude pictures prior to meeting–sometimes without checking first. Do you see these exhibits as pornographic or as art? Where would you draw the line between the two?