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culture

How Pop Culture Works

A (personal) theory on the persistence of popular cultural flotsam:

• Culture as an autonomously self-propagating information-processing system has evolved to encode (i.e. store) itself in multiple, parallel ways – for redundancy and continuity.

• The value of such superficially-itinerant, largely vacuous, trashy culture is in the various ways that it stores partial, incomplete images or microcosms of aspects of the whole culture – distributed across and as the entire surface of that (popular) culture.

• The primary “aspects” being stored or recorded as manifest redundancy through distributed narratives, themes and artefacts are not those narratives, themes and artefacts.

• What is actually being stored is the method and practice of encoding, this is more efficient and provides a more certain depth of resilience and redundancy-proofing against catastrophic partial or near-complete information system and culture loss.

Rather than copy the artefacts, etc. – these systems of culture have evolved to copy the encoding methods which proves to be a smarter strategy, even when the artefacts themselves might be a bit dumb. From Kardashian to Kardashev: (algorithmic) recursion, exponentiated.

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