CULTURE: An Owner's Manual

CULTURE: An Owner's Manual

CULTURE: An Owner's Manual is a newsletter covering pop culture and the hidden mechanics behind it from W. David Marx — author of Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style and an upcoming book from Viking on status and culture.

Latest

Jul
21

Notes on Our Tasteless Era

Recent journalism, criticism, and social media posts suggest a surge in bad taste across art, fashion, and media. What does
7 min read
Jun
23

Vanilla, Peaches, and All the Other Lesser Smells

The scientific search for fundamental human taste preferences is commendable but our "evolutionary instincts" can't explain the full complexity of
4 min read
Jun
08

The Sociology of John Mayer’s Outfit Guidance

John Mayer's "point-system" for balanced creative dress reveals a few key realities about how culture works Guitarist and songwriter John
4 min read
May
26

Future Sounds: Cheap Gear and Easy Samples

Does the democratization of electronic music tools change how we hear the sounds? Like many others in the late 1990s,
5 min read
May
11

Art versus commerce in the NFT Era

With no more "art for art's sake" nor "selling out," we have landed upon a new resolution in the long
5 min read
Apr
28

Notes on The Nineties

Thoughts on Chuck Klosterman's The Nineties: A Book and the lived experience of the Nineties, a particular decade I. Remembering
6 min read
Apr
01

What is Culture? Part Seven: Summary and Bibliography

Wrapping everything up, with a few clarifications and some suggestions for further reading We started with a near-impossible mission: Define
3 min read
Mar
15

What is Culture? Part Six: Defining cultural phenomena

If everything in culture is made of conventions, we should be able to explain all cultural phenomena in terms of
4 min read
Mar
11

What is Culture? Part Five: A web of meanings and values

Conventions explain why we follow the same regular behaviors in our community, but they also explain how groups agree on
3 min read
Mar
08

What is Culture? Part Four: Conventions

If culture describes the arbitrary aspects of life, conventions explain why communities repeatedly make the same arbitrary choices over so
5 min read