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Klavan On The Culture

As I Was Saying … More On The Arts

June 29th, 2012 - 8:29 am

"I swear this post is not about me!"

It seems almost belligerently contrarian to put up my usual late-in-the-week post about cultural matters after a day of such immediate political consequence. So let’s get started.

I was delighted with and interested by the brief but spirited response to my post about my post about The Grey. To recap, I noted that PJMedia readers did not comment as actively about cultural matters as they did about political ones, and a number of readers offered explanations or responses. See the comments at the link. Commenter Pinky began her or his comment with “I wonder how much of this is the old Breitbart thing, that conservatives don’t engage with the culture.” And yes, that’s exactly what I was wondering as well.

Here’s a story to the point. As an artistic solitary, I was more or less shocked and confounded when I first started receiving invitations to speak. One of my earliest efforts was before a largish group of conservative college students at an event for the Reagan Ranch’s Young America’s Foundation. Well, they were college kids, so I figured they’d be interested in liberal arts stuff and I delivered a learned disquisition on the development of the idea of the individual in western culture. About halfway through, I looked up and saw a sea of glazed eyes and blank faces and realized, much to my dismay, I was dying the death. Afterward, a small handful of admiring students followed me out of the room to praise my talk. I was gratified, but asked them why I had bombed so terribly with the rest of the audience. They responded, “These are conservative college students! Except for us, they’re all business majors!”

Depressed by the experience, I went home and called a friend — the then more-or-less obscure internet curmudgeon Andrew Breitbart.

“I just tried to talk culture to a group of conservatives!” I wailed.

Andrew laughed wryly and said, “Welcome to my world.”

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