A phenomenon that gained momentum in the 1990s, Trash Culture is often degraded and regarded as the detritus of culture and society. While works by Shakespeare and Chaucer are deemed to be aesthetically and culturally ‘good’, hardboiled, pulp fiction has often been considered culturally ‘bad’. What is popular is often deemed trash. Yet Richard Keller Simon, author of the work Trash Culture: Popular Culture and the Great Tradition, writes ‘many of the differences between trash culture and high culture show only that storytelling adapts to changing economic, social and political conditions.’ Thus Trash is constantly in a state of flux. What previously was popular, or trash, may no longer be so, and cultural artefacts previously belonging to high culture find themselves in the realm of trash.
But what is Trash Culture and how does it fit in with society? Various transformations exist within the culture of trash: artefacts that have transformed from trash to higher forms of artistic culture (The Rolling Stones, Comic Books), and artefacts that have become trash (Britney Spears, The Simpsons). Not all trash exists within the same institutional matrix. Using an image of the bin as an analogy, there is better trash on the surface of the receptacle (Pulp/Hardboiled fiction), as opposed to the juicy remnants at the bottom of the bin (90210, The OC, Glee). And then there is authentic trash (Justin Bieber). All forms of entertainment and culture have a sizeable chunk of trash, and it is this chunk that, contrary to common perceptions, is an invaluable addition to the wider aspects of society. Without trash, both authentic and cultural types, there would not be a higher culture with which to compare to lower forms of culture.
TRASH is an open-access journal that welcomes submissions on various aspects of trash culture, be it:
-Cultural artefacts (television shows, bands and music, films, books, magazines, celebrities, etc)
-Politics of trash culture
-Transformation of trash
-The benefits of low brow culture and the problems with high-brow elitism
-The dissemination of trash culture
-The Philosophy of Trash
Topics that contributors are welcome to write about, but are not limited to, include:
-Pornography, Playboy, etc.
-Computers and technology
-Barbie Dolls and other toys
-Halloween and other American things…
-Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton and other ‘famous for being famous’ people
-Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm
-Food- Pizza, McDonalds, etc.
-Comic books, including those of Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco, etc
-Make-up and beauty products
-Mickey Spillane and other hardboiled writers, art, books and magazines
-Coldplay, U2 and other ‘trash’ bands
-Actual Trash (Garbage, rubbish)
-The Beatles and other previously ‘trash’ bands
-Nintendo and other entertainment systems
-The Jerry Springer Show (and other talk show programs)
-Sport (including wrestling, racing, etc)
-Star Wars and the culture of the ‘blockbuster’ film
These lists are, of course, open to interpretation. Contributors are encouraged to add their own examples.