Conservatives are always saying take a lesson from history. Well, here’s a lesson to take from history: Don’t scorn popular culture. Everyone who bet against the dominant form of popular culture at any point of history has lost the aesthetic bet. Conservatives of Shakespeare’s day hated the theatre, they wanted to close it down and eventually succeeded in doing it in the 1640s. But, again, there’s almost no form of what we now regard as high culture that was not, in it’s own day, condemned. The reason is simple. When a cultural form is popular and alive and vibrant it produces lots of stuff and the majority of it is bad. It is, again, a familiar market argument. What popular culture does is to produce lots of stuff and it has to be sorted out in market fashion over time. You look at products in the marketplace. Most new products are bad and they lose. They lose in the marketplace. At first, it’s easy to criticize them. So, indeed, popular culture is a form of marketplace and, over time, the cream comes to the top and that becomes the source of our great art.Read the whole interview; it's a very interesting discussion of popular culture and its history, and how conservatives have viewed it.
Conservatives and Pop Culture: An Interview With Paul Cantor, who wrote Gilligan Unbound: