Fabricating the Absolute Fake: America in Contemporary Pop by Jaap Kooijman
By Jaap Kooijman
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Extra info for Fabricating the Absolute Fake: America in Contemporary Pop Culture - Revised Edition
45 Whether the global omnipresence of American pop culture is passively consumed, actively appropriated, or even not recognized as being American at all, does not alter the way American pop culture promotes its American conception of the world as an assumed self-evident ideal of human universalism. To recognize its American character remains significant not so much to prove its Americanness, but instead to challenge its claim of being universal, as the human universalism presented by American pop-cultural artifacts such as Coca-Cola and “We Are the World” tends to depoliticize global politics by reducing socialeconomic and political issues (like famine and poverty in Africa) to a personal we are the world 41 matter of individual choice.
The star image, however, is constructed by both its industrial production as well as its reception and consumption. The construction of the star image can be read as a star text, containing meanings that are not only produced by the actual performances on screen, record, and stage, but also by promotional material, interviews, critical reception, gossip about their private lives in the tabloid press, and fan cultures, including fanzines and websites. As a commodity of production and consumption, the star image contains a wide range of meanings, which can include conflicting values and fantasies.
42 Reagan failed to mention that “We Are the World” also was an international bestseller, topping the pop charts in many countries outside of the USA. Three weeks earlier, on April 5, Good Friday (emphasizing the song’s being a predominantly Christian act of benevolence), USA for Africa had been launched as a worldwide media event, when “We Are the World” premiered simultaneously on more than 5,000 radio stations around the globe. Reagan also failed to mention that “every few minutes on the radio” the world was subjected to an American ideology, promoting freedom, democracy, and individualism, although the American president undoubtedly supported its message, hence his reference to “We Are the World” at a ceremony honoring the American Peace Corps.