chapter  8
24 Pages

Filthy Media

Affecting Bad Taste in Beach Culture
WithRobin Canniford, Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee

Surfing has been a site of cultural contestation since the Euro-American colonization of the Pacific. Indeed, critical scholarship in sports history, cultural studies, and consumer research illustrates diverse constructions of this ancient activity. Tastes are preferences acculturated within, and reproductive of, social contexts. Such preferences locate value in particular experiences, often aesthetic in character—e.g. opera and orchestral music, art patronage, museum visits, or haute couture. Surfing culture is an ideal location to examine the combined representational and affective powers of music and moving images. To be sure, affect is a key component of the intense embodied experience of surfing. Surfing was transplanted to Southern California during the early decades of the twentieth century. Though it remained a fairly exclusive activity during the 1940s, economic growth, increased leisure time, and growing disposable incomes led to burgeoning numbers of coastal residents during the 1950s.