Highest Common Denominator

envisioning the dream of the commons in mass culture.

An increase in scale does not always entail reductiveness: one effect of the best mass culture is to trace or forge the connections among the unprecedentedly diverse experiences of its unprecedentedly broad audience. When artists find this common ground, the experience, however fleeting, of so enormous a community is visionary and exalting. When they fail, they can retreat into an irony that thrives in the vast range and dense detail of American consumer culture.

George Scialabba, writing against Dwight Macdonald’s “Masscult and Midcult.”

Dwight MacdonaldDwight Macdonald.

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