Andy Warhol, né Andrej Varhola, was the fourth child of Lemko immigrants from Milková, Slovakia. His elder brother was born and died in Slovakia. The family was Byzantine Catholic. Andy was a sickly child, often bedridden. He was an outcast at school, and bonded especially with his mother. As an outcast from a family of immigrants, his observations of Americans were particularly astute.
Warhol’s mass reproduction of the iconic trademarks and personalities of American popular culture are but his disdainful pronouncement of the pathetic obsequiousness, the painful naïveté, the misguided loyalty of the American masses, both blue and white collar.
Why drink Coco-Cola? Why eat Campbell’s soup? Why use any of the tired, old, chemically engineered, chemically toxic, iconic American products? Why the artificial flavours and artificial colours? Why artificial preservatives? Why hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup? Why homogenisation and pasturisation? Why artificial sweeteners, artificial butter, artificial anything? Why eat foods which flatter taste but feed not, swollen insufficiencies swallowed as names of better things? Why modify foods genetically for the commercial gain of government subsidised monster agriculture? Why is this the only country in the world where corn and soy, in all their chemically contrived manifestations, may be found in everything? Why?
Andy Warhol was right – Americans as a whole are duped. Pop is determined by lowest common denominator, through mass marketing, mass deception, mass appeal, mass hysteria.