The Shedding of Puritanism

ENG 101
24 October 2011
The Shedding of Puritanism
The popular culture and what it seizes to possess in American life downgrades daily from mere creativity and beauty to morality and savagery. With what used to be seen as kitsch and vulgar, is now seen as a norm in every day existence. The obvious downfall in today’s popular culture through the lives of Americans has changed what each individual distinguishes as ‘art.’ This all relates to the idea of perverse modernism, which refers to the public’s attraction to negatives and evils of society, as it has grown over many years, becoming more offensive by the day.
In the article, “Perverse in the Popular” by Martha Bayles, these ideas of perverse modernism are lucid, straightforward, and audible. It sums up the pure reality of the new culture we are living in; one filled with violence and sex. Her words are constant reminders that although what would have been seen as crude and obscene to our grandparents, is exactly what the young generations are being exposed to and brought up with today. Through the media, we as Americans are shown the form of art of today’s popular culture. Although this does not demonstrate what used to be considered ‘art’ many years ago, it has become what sells in culture today.
We as Americans have been involved in a complete shedding of Puritanism within the past years. “Shedding Puritanism does not require that we extirpate all shame, or that we abandon the concept of obscenity” but solely “expose perverse modernism for the cheap gimmick it has become” (6). The main ideas of the shedding of Puritanism are brought through three theories clearly laid out in the article: “Communications theory focuses on the psychological impacts of media. Cultural studies is concerned with the role of popular culture in reinforcing and expanding the existing social order. Traditional philosophy emphasizes the perennial difficulty of sustaining excellence, or even decency, in a culture seemingly...