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Works and Days

A Culture in Ruins

November 24th, 2013 - 11:19 pm

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Lady Gaga reportedly spent $25 million on pop art to jazz up her new and apparently underwhelming album. In contrast, Miley Cyrus’ sexual twerking at the MTV Music Video Awards earned her more millions by exposing her rather unimpressive anatomy. Both make the once vulgar Madonna seem like June Cleaver, but at least raise an existential question: how much lower can we go?

Meanwhile, hip-hop artist Kanye West is promoting his own new music video. He seems to be having sex with his girlfriend Kim Kardashian while riding a motorcycle. If you did not know that Kanye West was the singer of the background music, by the quality of the lyrics and beat, you might think that a fourth grader was spewing rhymed obscenities, in the fashion that Gaga and Cyrus make up with obscenity, both spoken and visual, what they lack in musical, dance, and artistic talent.

In the two-second attention spans of our app culture, a bare nipple, a potty-mouth obscenity, or a multimillionaire’s flippant reference to a “ho” earns followers and thus big money in a way that even once cutting-edge Elvis Presley’s melodies or an against-the-grain Van Gogh impressionistic painting or a T.S. Eliot poem could never quite seem so shockingly profitable.

Professors know that bored students do their Facebooking rather than listen to lectures. Commuters fear that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. Pedestrians are hit by other strollers whose heads are glued to iPhones. No one believes that such fixations arise from watching the History Channel, googling the Renaissance, or reading the Economist. No matter — in our therapeutic culture, in theory millions of students could do all those things, so the next new fad for our broke universities and trillion-dollar indebted college students is to provide them all with free iPads. Only the absence of an iPad robs us of future Edisons and Einsteins.

The radically egalitarian ethos demands always the descent to the lowest common denominators of taste. A world without requisites is the fairest. To capture the most attention of the masses requires a Cyrus, Gaga, or West. Once classical canons of artistic, literary, or musical expression were torn down, and once those classically trained rebels who ripped them apart have passed on, we are left with the ruins of trying to shock what is perhaps beyond being shocked. What more could Miley Cyrus do — wear two foam fingers? Could Mr. West mount his girlfriend, and sing and dance while riding backwards?

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Top Rated Comments   
I was a DJ in college, on WBNY, Buffalo. I was playing really advanced stuff then, and hardly anyone listened. The majority were listening to The Knack, ripping of the Beatles almost note for note and Rush and other totally fabricated bands. The majority rarely, if ever, have good tasted, much less any tasted at all. It hurts to be in the minority in terms of one's beliefs and habits until one realizes that if everyone was like us, it would be really crowded where we are!
I mean, a typical week for me, here in suburban NYC, I eat great food, in a small restaurant, for a great price, I drink at my bar in my old house that I've set up the way I want. I even go the shooting range whenever I want. I know all the ins and outs, and everywhere I go, I do my best to avoid the moron clouds. It's not easy but once you have a system where you can do your thing, you eventually start running into kindred spirits.
The problem is, of course, mass media. Firstly, if you have children, you can and must do your best to keep them away from it as long as possible. That means, 1. Antenna TV only. 2. No internet until they're as old as you want them to be. 3. Forcing them, while they're still flexible into the mold you have made, a. taking them to the shooting range while young, b. teaching them about the Constitution, and making them memorize the Bill of Rights, c, teaching them honesty and fair play, by example, charity, etc.
They'll turn out ok. There is nothing stronger than mom and dad to make a good citizen. Then, hopefully, they'll breed and make some more good citizens. I know this sounds like fantasy, but my wife and I did this. Our kids are in their 20s, one is married, working a good job with a husband doing the same both in their 20s, and critical thinkers, fully exercising all their Constitutional rights. The other is deeply involved in high tech research, cutting edge stuff.
We all need to breed and make good citizens. Remember, ignorant peasants breed and responsible Conservatives/Libertarians breed or adopt. Liberal/Progressive nut jobs generally are so narcissistic that they cannot or will not replace themselves. It's a fact.
They hate us but we have the numbers. They just have the money.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I read this over the weekend and promptly forgot to whom to attribute it, but this line says it all: "In half a century we went from teaching classical Greek and Latin in high school to teaching remedial reading in college."
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am pretty sure this entire script of total cultural decline occurring in our Country now was written 76 years ago by a woman who escaped Communism in her youth because of the evil she saw and was able to predict the exact way it would transform America. Her book was American history written before it occurred. Kind of like Back to the Future except she had not been there, but understood Communism and where it would take us. She issued her warning.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (111)
All Comments   (111)
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these are the fruits of the postmodern left's gramscian agenda as executed by kgb tools and dupes for the past 50 years.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Essence of PM politics and its polity~ GREED,ENVY,INDOLENCE
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
PM Culture~ Fashion as the Poor Man's Art; distraction from distraction by DISTRACTION.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
And so will be built upon the ruins of the West?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We have always been at war with East Asia."
Barak BB Obama
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The script was written way before Rand, 500 years ago by Machiavelli for purposes of documenting our current, long slide back into the oblivion of earlier eras. What we are seeing is the emerging dominance of a new state religion, which is really just a return to the paganism of 2000 years ago.

It's a materialist theology that holds there is no elevated source of morality, that we are here quite by accident, and that it is in this world that our rewards lie. Since there is really no higher and lower, except from the standpoint of physical complexity, we are just another animal, which means that we are to be afforded the same kind of "humane" treatment we would afford a pet: medical therapies, physical or chemical sterilization, euthanasia.

And since we are mere animals, all desires are natural and, therefore, good, since they are a part of who we are. The state exists to help us act on the sanctioned desires and to punish those who argue for a different morality than that fashioned by the materialist, pagan system.

The leader of the state acquires the trappings of divinity, as he did in Rome, and gets to say what is right and what is wrong. He is assisted in making these determinations by the appointed high priests, the effete, intellectual snobs of our era.

The state has declared that the oppression of sexual impulses is forbidden, for example, and that marriage is to be what it was in ancient times rather than that prescribed by Christendom.

In a broader sense, the state religion is now undertaking an aggressive assault on the preeminent competing theology that it will continue to try to drive from the public square by mandating support for abortion, imitation marriage, with support for child sexuality and cloning right around the corner.

Meanwhile, the new Caesar covers crosses when he speaks, removes the diplomatic representation from Vatican city, celebrates Ramadan but not Easter, and views American Christians as gun-toting crackers. And the knockout game takes on a familiar, antisemitic twist.

The persecution is just getting started. We are the new Rome
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eric Hoffer, that old conservative put it best when he said, ambition is a talent in itself... The sad thing about so many of today's artists across many fields is that they do have actual talent. Lady Gaga has a quality voice and a background in musical comedy; she just realized that it is easier to shock and do something outrageous than it is to spend a decade showing up at auditions only to reach her forties or fifties without a penny in the bank. Many other pop singers went the same route. This is the real source of a culture in ruins; the society, including the masses, cannot or does not know how to recognize talent and to encourage it, or to make money off it. I teach college. Even my brightest students react poorly to music in which the words are easily understood; they refer to them as "Disney songs." Imagine that, Gershwin and Cole Porter wrote Disney songs... The same goes with art, writing, design, etc. In short, not only does the cream not always rise to the top anymore, if it does get there, people don't want to taste it.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not a mistranslation at all, Friend. In this day and age, in this country, it takes great humility to persist in hope, to continue to believe in the triumph of good over evil, and to continue to strive and keep acting “as if” it all matters, because it does. Hope is not a virtue that is simply its own reward. Hope is what will take us there. It powers the engine that makes us continue to strive for the good.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good write Mr. Hanson. So here we are on a runaway train being robbed by sophisticated con men who keep the passengers under control - divided and distracted, reassuring the passengers the entire time that if they just cooperate everything will be o.k. All the while they are planning to crash the train. Almost half of us have been trying to get off this train for some time, but can't because of the other passengers and powerful forces working against us.

While in my seat, reading the news of the day, I have to muse at the irony of NOCare enablers (fools) who are now victims of their own making and further knowing more and more victims will come big time with this and probable amnesty lurking around the corner.

When the train crashes, the con men and loot will be gone. The foolish survivors will say to themselves, What Happened? I do not feel any empathy for them but I do however feel much empathy for my fellow passengers who want to, but can't get off the runaway train.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am cautiously optimistic we're headed towards a new revival..

Partly a renewal of faith, but I find a lot of youngster, my kids a prime example, are fascinated by the knowledge they aren't being given.. Little things, like even playing a game like fallout with my son.. all kinds of last century references he doesn't understand.. and he wants daddy to explain.. what was the cold war daddy?.. did you kill Russians?.. .. well no.. then you end up with a history class.. as you explain the reasons for.. the who's the why's...

Kids, the perceptive ones know that certain pieces are being left out of their education.. and question why..

I never went past High School, but my history, geography, mathematics and literature were solid foundations.. and I read everything.. drove the school librarians nuts with requests.. read all their WW II history, all their books on earl American and frontier history.. the civil war.. I was fascinated.. and went further on my own than anyone expected..

Kids, even my childrens cousins and friends, are dying to learn, will ask questions and sit spell bound as I tell them about a time when PC's laptops, cell phones and cable were all not created yet.. they laugh and wonder why my childhood pictures are all black and white..

I see a grand awakening coming, as the newer generations open themselves to knowledge that the current gate keepers want excluded.. it won't be marches in the streets, but young people looking for their cultural foundations they had with held. Why does the father.. grand father they love, feel this way about that.. or why does the teacher say that thinking is bad.. "daddy's not a bad man".. but teacher says..

That can lead to the confusion which demands answers..

Maybe I'm just overly sentimental.. but I don't believe God is done with us yet.. there's a storm coming we all know it.. a final collision between the world, and radical islam which cannot tolerate our refusal to submit.

We'll have to face that, no one else has the technology or the strength..

Our testing is coming, we best be ready.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amen. Kids know I'm a Soldier, know I fought in Afghanistan... I drove my college professors nuts by arguing politics with them, usually ending in teaching the class FOR them (what they were outraged to hear). Got the kids in MMA, teaching them firearms, got them all reading way above grade level.
I'm a parent who thinks. I'm the government's worst nightmare.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
ME81150 - Thank you for your observations. In the midst of all this darkness you've hit upon something universal, the gift of cultural renewal and the fact that all children are looking at the world with the same eyes that we once did.

I was like you in that I received a pretty good basic education through high school and took that foundation to educate myself further. I think the knowledge we have to seek out on our own gives us a deeper understanding and, looking at higher education as it is today, a fuller comprehension of what the world is about.

You sound like a great dad. You're kids are lucky. Do you ever watch the classic films of the '30s, '40s and '50s on Turner Classic Movies with your kids? The old films aren't just entertaining, they give a sense of what accepted morality used to be and a vivid historical perspective.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
That is why, of course, the ethos that informed, filled, guided, animated, and surrounded the people in those old 1930s-40s films had to be obliterated and transmogrified into what we currently see on things like the putrid, self-congratulatory, and empty music awards the other night.

P.S. Of course without the Left's destruction--via the fraudulent "postmodern thought" now taught at and "guiding" virtually every university and college, not to mention high school, in the land--of our old, traditional analytical methods and criteria, standards and values, the no-talent, crude and course garbage that fills our stages and entertainment channels and its purveyors and "artistes" would have been laughed off the stage for the meretricious, no-tlaent crap and nonsense that they are.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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