Art and Commerce

There’s an interesting article in The New York Times this morning about how Disney is trying to assist in the war against childhood obesity by changing menus at the theme parks and eliminating certain advertisers from the channel if their food products don’t meet certain standards (link below).

Some libertarian types may take issue with this as one more example of the nanny nation (they think) we’ve become, but children need to have someone looking out for them.  Besides, Disney will have plenty of opportunities to capitalize on this initiative.

The whole thing makes me think of a diagram I often draw in class presenting media and culture as two parts of a circle where it is impossible to determine where one begins and the other ends.

Some have argued that film mirrors culture by reflecting our most closely held hopes and desires.  As Shakespeare and Humphrey Bogart have said in other contexts, “The stuff that dreams are made of…”

I think it’s more complicated than that because our hopes and dreams are also informed by public culture in what feels today like a whirling dervish because there are so very many moving parts.

As for film and television, it is only recently (in the postmodern age) that the boundaries between so-called high art (think opera) and low art (think soap opera) have collapsed for scholars (and film studies emerging in the 1960s and growing madly since the 1970s has been instrumental in that process), but the tensions between art and commerce have always been in place across time and mediums.

Link to article:




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