Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Thoughts on Thinking Transnationally

Posted by Sean Hull on April 19, 2017

The limitations of spreadability are important to consider when individuals choose to focus on trivialities over more pressing issues, as illustrated by Parmesh Shahani’s article “The Revolution is Not Spreadable”, but all the assigned articles for 4/20 to some degree illustrate the limits of spreadability.

Though as mentioned in previous posts my largest concern with digital media is its conduciveness to slacktivism, even a contest of popularity between trivialities can challenge the notion that the internet allows for a smooth globalization of culture or an easy bridging of boundaries. In “From Weird to Wide” the author’s focus on the Kenyan meme “Ha-he” seems little more than an academic observation which offers little evidence that this meme has spread naturally beyond its point of origin.

The other two articles, “Transnational Audiences” and “Targeting Desis”, though interesting in how they describe the distribution of media to and among certain groups, do not depict scenarios in which the media being distributed, be it subbed Japanese game shows or Indian music and film, are being accessed by anyone in the “mainstream” of other cultures.

Does this make such transnational sharing of media unworthy of examination? Certainly not, and I hope I do not seem overly negative towards these articles or their authors. I only wish to share the thought that, though media has more opportunity to spread than ever, the people who will make use of increased spreadability are not necessarily going to be able to bring their objects of interest into the mainstream. Barriers of interest & relevance may prevent even the most easily shared of media from being adopted by mainstream audiences, and, as I have said in previous posts, spreadability of media and the ease of forming impassioned communities may even constitute a threat to the global sharing of culture that some advocates of spreadability optimistically tout as a possible outcome of their philosophy.

4 Responses to “Thoughts on Thinking Transnationally”

  1. faythleighann said

    I agree with your argument that even if the most spreadable media can fall short due to cross-cultural boundaries. I think that the articles were efficient in explaining this but not in providing a solution.

  2. emilyjonesnewswriting said

    Great analysis. I agree with your points about spreadable media being used for good.

  3. emilyjones232 said

    Okay, so I just commented on this using my account for a different class. It’s me, though!!!!

  4. laurenivey22 said

    Your argument on how spreadable media can fall short also caught my eye and i agree with it.

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