There are always people who insist that the present trend, whatever that is, is new and unique. And there are those who just as insistently argue that whatever is new has been around forever. So I am initially here going to say that this isn’t a ground breaking commentary, nor is it likely to be something new to you. But I want to place into perspective a concept I’ve heard remarked upon that is somewhat in error. People talk about how product placement in media is subliminal, that there is an effort to use messages to sell a product. People talk about how media “glamorizes” drugs or violence. People talk about how popular culture is totally manipulated by those in the advertising and marketing departments towards the ritualized indoctrination of youth.
But people who make up popular culture cannot swim outside of the stream, they are a part of it, they are not thinking Dog poop is yummy no matter what someone might insist, and they follow their interests. I know two retailers who told me that customer purchases completely changed their outlook for their business by purchases and revenue streams showing them where the money to make existed. Not in one associated product, but another they thought would be ancillary. That is, the tail does not wag the dog. The voices of popular culture might embrace a product, might endorse it by use, but if Bruce Willis decided to glamorize dog poop by eating it in his films, there’d be no rush anywhere, no matter how we love Bruce, to model his choice ourselves.
Absinthe is a perfect example of how a product, that artists tended to desire to use became celebrated in media. Outsider creative communities seemed to adopt the use of it, and it became a product that possessed a certain air of mystique around it. And then it became taboo and banned in many places. Popular culture might celebrate things like drug use, but just as often, it uses media and the voices of popular culture to isolate and remove what it perceives as dangerous. Just like poets. All voices that are deemed dangerous get shunned, or silenced. So, if a product or view is uplifted by media, it probably already exists and is being reflected.