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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 2000)
Fop culture, fine art revolutionaries
examined in NETV documentaries
By Jason Hardy
The history of American
pop culture is, for the most
part, relative to who’s telling
For millions of young
people, watching Elvis shake
his hips on national television
was one of the greatest
moments of their lives. For
millions of older people, ^^
it was a sure sign that <mL- /
the United States of 1Wp j§»
America was specifi- \ m
cally pinpointed for ^
“Culture Shock,” a jfiSl
two-part series of docu- ^pPl
mentaries on the MB£
Television Network, J|
takes an in-depth B
look at some of B
and most despised •
moments in pop-cul
The series started oR|
Sunday, Jan. 30, with RR
“Born to Trouble: wS
Adventures of R|
Huckleberry Finn” and Pi
“The Shock of the Nude: | -
Manet’s Olympia.” The 1
series continues this Sunday \
with “Hollywood Censored: 1
Movies, Morality and the I
Hollywood Production Code” 1
and “The Devil’s Music: 1930s
Each episode is one hour
long and addresses the social
acceptance and implications of
these artistic endeavors.
Ronald Hull, special advi
sor to Nebraska Educational A
and a professor of
broadcasting at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said
it was important for people today to
see how the arts have struggled for
acceptance in the past and the present.
“That’s the way it was, and people
should know how it was,” he said. “It
makes a wonderful point about cul
ture and human beings.
“The arts are there to entertain us.
But if they’re true art, they enlighten
Tom Larson, an instructor in jazz
history at UNL, said people today
could learn about how to react to art
by looking at the past and seeing that
not everything feared ends in tragedy.
“Jazz was very closely tied in with
the gangster scene,” Larson said.
“Since this coincided with prohibi
tion, there was a very clear sentiment
of jazz being the devil’s music.
Everywhere it went, it was closely
associated with gambling, prostitu
tion, drinking, crime and gangsters.”
Like a lot of fads, it wasn’t too
long before the taboo surrounding
jazz gave way to a nationwide frenzy.
“Around the mid- to late ’30s,
dancing became more popular, and
jazz bands started adding more mem
bers just because the music was
j|jj[ David Jane/DN
ing,” Larson said. “The bands got big
ger and more exciting and, all of the
sudden, everything just clicked.
“That became the thing to do, and
it just affected everything. It was
mainstream America. So at that point,
it kind of lost its association with
being something negative.”
Larson said analyzing the history
of pop culture was important “simply
because it makes us realize that
change is good, and we have to be tol
erant to new ideas and new things that
“If there were certain people in
charge of this country, there wouldn’t
be any National Endowment (for) the
Arts and there wouldn’t be any
National Public Radio,” Larson said.
“It takes these people to break down
barriers before some things can be
Hull agreed the social impact of
art and pop culture went far beyond
the perimeters of entertainment.
“I think we’ll see that the coun
tries that succeed are the countries
who applaud and recognize diversity
and take chances withideasHull
said. “Art fixes those things in time
“The Shock of the Nude:
“The Devil’s Music:
The entire series will run on
EduCabie on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at
1:30 p.m. The final two episodes will
run on NETV at 5 p.m. on Sunday,
for us. We’re able to capture that art
and look at it from all angles. And if
it’s good, it will instruct and inspire
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