In “Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore,” Peterson and Kern discuss the phenomenon of an emerging class of omnivorous “highbrows.” When Americans were not particularly obsessed with consuming, there was a time where products and services were bought only out of necessity and function rather than entertainment.  Around the 30s, it was fairly simple to categorize those who were snobs and those who didn’t have the resources to afford these kinds of luxuries.  I would think that omnivores, as Peterson and Kern describe them, would have been nonexistent back in the day because there were limited chances to expand one’s cultural capital with lacking technological and social advancements.  I feel that there would have been almost to no opportunities for one to access a particular class without the right knowledge, skills, or tastes. 

    Fast forwarding to our generation where technological, social and economic advancements have far exceeded our expectations, the space where highbrows and those of “lesser” cultures can meet and mingle has been broadened.  Omnivorous consumption is a on a high making social class distinctions a lot hazier to the gazer.  As Peterson and Kern say, omnivores consume things from all cultural categories and this practice of consuming can also make you gain high cultural capital, regardless of low or high economic means.  And I think this is possible through cultural intermediaries who effectively translate from the cultural industries to consumers.  We often rely on cultural intermediaries for our consumer habits.  I think this is very much true especially in our society today where we are willing to try new things as long as they have good reviews (online, magazines, papers).  Needless to say, consumers of my generation and younger are avid users of the Internet.  Online reviews of restaurants, stores, bars, spas, clinics, home services, etc. are becoming essential to consumers.  For example, “yelping” a certain restaurant before you go and reading numerous reviews on rude customer service but amazing food may bring you here once but maybe not for another visit.  It has become extremely important for stores to have a good reputation on sites like Yelp because it’s basically their lifeline.  Having access to these kinds of customer reviews and comments can really attract consumers from all hierarchies of society.  If there are raving reviews on a really hip and cool bar in Brooklyn that serves great Irish beer, it may attract a high society “snob” who loves to drink Irish beer.  ImageImage

    I think the reason why we are gearing towards an omnivorous culture is because “older cohorts of highbrows with more snob-like tastes are being displaced by younger, more omnivorous cohorts” (902) as Peterson and Kern puts it.  As mentioned above, all these societal and lifestyle advancements that have been made in our lifetime have created more open-minded consumers willing to consumer more and a variety of cultural objects.  

 

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