CULTURE: An Owner's Manual

CULTURE: An Owner's Manual

CULTURE: An Owner's Manual is a newsletter covering pop culture and its hidden mechanics from W. David Marx — author of Status and Culture: How Our Desire for Social Rank Creates Taste, Identity, Art, Fashion, and Constant Change and Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style.

Latest

Nov
22

Links on Culture - November 2022

Drake's daft Daft Punk, Moneyball culture, Third Eye Blind as cool, the other Gallagher brothers, and natural wine decline Once
6 min read
Oct
18

Links on Culture - October 2022

Restaurant reservations, preteen painters, cultural appropriation, and the end of the internet Once a month I analyze the latest culture-related
6 min read
Oct
05

The X of Generation X

Douglas Coupland's book Generation X ended up giving his demographic cohort a permanent name, but we shouldn't overlook the deeper
4 min read
Sep
27

Aesthetics are Everywhere... and They're Social Constructs

Virginia Postrel’s excellent The Substance of Style charts how aesthetics took over consumer society — but aesthetic conventions themselves always
4 min read
Sep
20

Links on Culture for September

Beer cooler status symbols, wet putty cars, and how #oldmoney isn't very Old Money The last few months have seen
4 min read
Sep
02

21st Century Culture: Boring or Static? (Or both?)

Whether the 21st century ecosystem of pop culture is suffering from stasis is a separate question from whether its output
5 min read
Aug
22

My New Book: Status and Culture

A sneak peek into my new book that links individuals’ fundamental desire for social status to the formation of taste,
4 min read
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