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The Article

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A friend of mine sent me this article when it was still only in hard copy, and now it’s shown up on Arts and Letters Daily.

It’s a truly WONDERFUL article. 

And if he writes a book on the same topic, I’ll be first in line.

Written by janeh

April 27th, 2012 at 7:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'The Article'

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  1. I made the mistake of reading the article while tired so won’t comment yet. But I will declare a bias – the 50s was the period when I went to high school and university. I’ve never understood what was supposed to be wront with it. The decade I dislike is the 60s.


    27 Apr 12 at 2:23 pm

  2. Ah yes, humanity’s infinite monkey need to define in-groups, delineate the superiority of same, justify one’s membership in or oppression by said in-groups, et endless cetera.

    If we can’t divide the whole by color, religion or big or little-endian, we’ll do it by what one reads or doesn’t, where one went to college or didn’t, what one talks about over booze, or in the ultimate absurd extreme, by who you don’t want to be like. Just so we don’t all hang together. This is news? It is not.

    Humans will behave in this fashion even when it seemingly is in opposition to the actual survival of group or individual. It may be our primary need, beyond even food, shelter or procreation.

    Besides, shortly after the 60’s we have the rise of the “authentic” being a person who *didn’t* go to college, who lives a “real” life, as opposed to the academic or intellectual, who lives life at a remove. It’s all fads & fashions, shifting and mutating.

    Cultural prescriptivists are as silly as grammatical prescriptivists. Language and culture both evolve, high and low are artificial delineations, and while the high-culture intellectuals are gathered bemoaning whatever bug they have up their collective butts this decade, culture is off fulfilling the needs of the people who live it, or not fulfilling those needs, in which case, change is a’comin’.

    Used to be an academic or intellectual could refuse to watch TV, and be substantially insulated from mass culture. Now, it’s in their faces all the time, everywhere, and the internet intensifies the invasion. So they’re all feeling kinda vulnerable.

    Anyway, I probably entirely missed the point of the article. Poor intellectuals.


    27 Apr 12 at 3:02 pm

  3. Just to rub in the point: that television of Shakespeare and Tillich is the same 50’s TV which was “banal” about three posts back, and the Dwight MacDonald here is the same Dwight MacDonald who was such a nice guy when the blog was about “Masscult and Midcult,” only Siegel sees MacDonald pretty much the way I read him. MacDonald’s contempt for popular study programs–read “The Book of the Millenium Club” for instance–gives the game away. He wasn’t upset with people skipping the hard intellectual work. These people were buying, reading and discussing some very difficult and important primary sources. He was a union boss defending his monopoly, and worried about the proles getting ideas above their station.

    Lymaree, warn the academics and intellectuals: if they see a see a Brittany Spears or ANTM headline, DON’T CLICK ON THE LINK! I’m sure most of them can get the hang of it eventually.


    27 Apr 12 at 5:40 pm

  4. Finally back on line after my ISP was down for 4 hours (probably the phone company rather than the ISP).

    I get a sense of a group of people talking to each other and saying “we’re wonderful, why doesn’t the rest of society realize it?”

    Is there a contradiction in calling the generation that fought World War II “The greatest generation” and then sneering at their culture when they are 10 years older? The people who fought in the war were the 30 to 40 year olds in the 50s.


    27 Apr 12 at 10:09 pm

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