Tagged: culture

Don’t say a word

Things were better before there were facts. — (Anon. Buzzfeed Journalist).

Concerning his critical appraisal of the “spring clean” of Chartres Cathedral: Martin Filler is likely a typical American blowhard (and the French grandees are right to scoff at his claims), but I appreciate his accurate description of Frank Gehry in the The New York Review of Books.

It is axiomatic among architectural editors and art directors that if a building is not very good, then one should use images of it at sundown; if it is worse than that, show it reflected in water at twilight. This perhaps explains why several publications, including Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times, have depicted Gehry’s newest work in a dim crepuscular glow, rising above its shallow pools and dramatic stepped cascade. Recourse to special photographic lighting does address one of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s basic shortcomings, however, for in a city where it is overcast much of the time, a glass-skinned structure such as this is bound to look rather dull quite often.

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I’m surprised there was ever a market for ghost-written autobiographies.

It would be more apt to characterize the careers of Beyoncé, Gaga, and the like as having achieved a “partial Madonna.” Ms Ciccone is the original.

Cultural decline

Some cultures don’t survive the onslaught of historical change, apart from museum displays.

I’m persuaded there’s a “liberal” predisposition in most of the major US institutions (to describe it as “left-wing” is hyperbolic though). What I’m not persuaded about is that this is bad thing. The problem of persuasion for conservatives (a truly deep and serious problem) is the fact that the Enlightenment Genie can’t be jammed back into the lamp of history and the displacement of a “conservative” cultural tradition by a “liberal” one is not reversed by elections, talk radio, or Federalist Society position papers. Imagined cultural atrocities such as the “War on Christmas,” the abject horror of Spongebob’s “gay pants,” and other media gimmicks are purely defensive measures. They are mostly effective in lining the pockets of the cultural entrepreneurs — from Palin to Limbaugh to the self-publishing network of self-defining “intellectuals” — who benefit from such atrocities and horrors. After all, Michelle Malkin is more easily marketed than Hans-Georg Gadamer or Harvey Mansfield.

In the marketplace of ideas, there are winners and losers. The stronger arguments drive out the weaker ones (at least according to Oliver Wendell Holmes). Culture is not democratic.