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View Diary: We have failed a moral test. History will not judge us kindly. (95 comments)

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  •  So how does what you watched last define you... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    old possum, lyvwyr101

    ...and your own personal cultural index, if such a thing existed?

    In NYC you can travel very short taxi cab rides between Carnegie Hall performances and basement betting parlor cock fights. Are they both parts of our culture? Does it depend on how many people participate, who sees it, or how visible the events are?   I don't know, I'm no expert, but maybe I yearn for more adjectives when using such a loaded word like culture like popular culture, low or high culture, etc. so as to not let the lowest forms of entertainment and sales marketing be misinterpreted as American culture, to not even accidentally participate in the dumbing down of our expectations and self assessments.

    •  I think we're having the same problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck, lyvwyr101

      here that scholars have:  what the heck is "culture"?

    •  Well, billionaires like David Koch (0+ / 0-)

      (and their wives) make endowments to the "fine arts" so their names can be engraved on American Institutions. Speaking as someone with a lifetme commitment to "art" I think I can say that the fine arts mainly exist to validate the power and wealth of the wealthy and powerful. Artists come and go who challenge power and try to bridge the gap between "the people" and the art, and for the most part, they're co-opted by wealth or they fail.
      The reasons I listen to Beethoven or Gershwin or get involved with a van Gogh, or a Caravaggio or a film by Antonioni or Stan Brakhage is secondary.

      We have the most diverse, culturally rich society in the history of the human race, but if we're talking about the "dominant culture" we're talking about TV., not "fine arts. Everything else comes in second.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 05:18:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm, interesting perspective. (0+ / 0-)
        •  I agree with your point about "the media" (0+ / 0-)

          being a commercial product, made mainly for hawking other commercial products, most of which we don't need as much as they're telling us.

          However, what percentage of people in this country are reading books? Not very many. So literature is mostly for the literary elite, art criticism for the art theorist crowd, science for the science geeks, art galleries for the rich and the hipster, painting for the painters, sculpture for the sculptors, etc. Not that there aren't some polymaths and dilettantes or old school broadly interested people out there, but when someone comes along who spans several distinct areas of art and culture, or science, they're ballyhooed as something incredible for that fact, who "think outside the box", aren't bound by "academic" categories, etc. In fact there's a distinct category for those folks, and a prescribed language and structure in which they must work, in order to signal to everyone that's in on it that they're legit and not just flailing around for gimmicks.

          And now the big thing is the "new technology", e-books, the point of which is the purchasing of new products which are not necessary, but upon which the economy is based.

          So, are all those people out there who don't read books (a majority) excluded from "the culture".

          What would an extraterrestrial anthropologist or sociologist observing from a truly objective standpoint say?

          What's the point of my gripe? I'd like to see Americans with more discretionary income, and the type of education and culture in which they'd spend some of their money on young painters and sculptors, appreciate independent filmmakers more, respect poetry, and public art such that it isn't mostly an expression of power at corporate headquarters, etc.

          There are some things going on on the streets of Oakland or LA, for example, as it always has.
          The brightest spot, really, is in popular music, but again, that gets co-opted into corporate profit-making pretty quickly, and then the meaning gets inverted.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:05:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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