Monday, March 29, 2010

Untitled cultural critique no. 1

What follows is scattered, unorganized and rambling. It's rather free-form and somewhat influenced by the meds I'm taking to kill a crippling headache. But here it is anyway:

Until I had something like an epiphany yesterday, I viewed the United States -- or at least certain elements here -- as preserving western culture. I've been very defensive on this point, despite hating certain aspects of our culture, mostly the trashier elements. The truth, though, is that several decades ago this country started down the road of culture toward an elevation of pop culture above high culture, history, tradition and faith. Pop culture is no longer culture as such but is nothing more than a hodge-podge of entertainment opportunities.

Reality TV
Celebrity worship and stalking
Obsession with sports
The complete blur between news and entertainment
Abandonment of objective journalism
Music made by and for pretty people
Grossly disturbing views of beauty
Sex sex sex

There is little that is high or elevated. Nothing is sacred in Post-Modern America. If it dulls your senses -- mindless crap on TV -- or gets your adrenaline pumping (MMA), it's good.

The closest we get to spirituality these days, without being blatantly "religious," is to do yoga.

Traditionally western spirituality, primarily European brands of Christianity, seems to be in serious decline. Churches have to come up with various ridiculous gimmicks to get butts in the pews. The only western music left is pop-rock. Easter is about the bunny. Christmas is about shopping and eating until you can't move. Thanksgiving is about getting wasted on the "biggest bar night of the year." I won't even talk about what the mouthbreathing frat boy party types have done to St. Patrick's Day.

If the people didn't have Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken and Keith Olberman telling them the "truth," they wouldn't have a clue where to find it for themselves. Reading and self study are out; the History Channel (a great resource, no doubt) and wikipedia are in.

Americans seem hell-bent on being European. At least the elitists on the left do. Europeans seem to be coming more American, though they're not honest enough to cop to it.

It seems to me that much of what made the western world free, prosperous and progressive has been thrown out and replaced with cheap, plastic imitations.

America is not preserving western culture. It is destroying it, at least the more classical variety. In some ways are critics in the east are right and have been right for awhile.

The more I see this the more I find myself wanting to withdraw.

Admittedly I'm a product of Post-Modern American culture. I like popular music, I love the internet. I like sports and enjoy being entertained. Yet, I feel myself slowly peeling away. TV here has been replaced with books, some limited movies and even contemplative time (music, prayer, study, writing.) I care not for the goings on of celebrities. I'm more interested in St. Augustine, John Calvin, the Founding Fathers and C. S. Lewis had to say than what Limbaugh and Olberman think.

There is no longer a place for people that see things in this way. We're eccentrics. "Boring." "What, you don't have cable? What's wrong with you? Too cheap?" "You don't know what's going on with Tiger Woods?"

1 comment:

Seiber said...

I could'nt stop reading it...very sad and true