Canclini’s statements on pages 90-91 of “Identities as a Multimedia Spectacle” regarding culture evolving into a post-national identity phase got me curious about what cultural authenticity’s value is going to be in the future. He explains, “Subject to fewer restrictions and greater speedup, the circulation of people, capital, and messages brings us into daily contact with many cultures; consequently our identity can no longer be defined by an exclusive belonging to a national community” (91). How much harder will it be to find content influenced and produced purely by one culture? How long is it going to take for this future to take a more thorough phase of effect?

We discussed this issue in class through the lens of African American culture. As it has been commodified and sold to the white suburban mainstream, the next frontier of taste making is, as it relates to a commodity like music, to search for who or what has subverted external pressure while embodying hip hop’s core values. Thus, the product is inherently the same – just with the added injection of the appearance of authenticity.

There is now a space for an array of brands to financially leverage this desire for authenticity. A strong example of this is Vice Media (, which, with its trademark edginess, has achieved major success in recent years, expanding to a show on HBO and receiving a 5% investment from 21st Century Fox. Vice’s success, and cultural impact, is a direct response to culture’s lack of authenticity in this day and age. It’s the company a scholar of Canclini may build.

With Vice in mind, it was interesting reading angieelee’s post ( about how the Korean ethos of the Gangnam Style video was ripped away as it gained mass global exposure. That video is a Korean cultural artifact that was mainstream-ized to make it sellable. Vice’s content is the other side of the coin. That is, it’s very culturally immersive to give it as little mainstream encoding as possible, in an effort to then sell it to the mainstream as authentic. When trying to think about mainstream consumer demands, it’s fascinating there’s such a desire for both extremes on the spectrum simultaneously. It’s a possible sign that the desire to identify with ‘hip,’ ‘edgy,’ and ‘authentic’ is rising dramatically as culture becomes less and less those three things. What better way to satisfy the guilt of watching Gangnam Style thirty-five times than checking out a Vice documentary on North Korea?