(Visual) Notes on Culture
  Some Thoughts
Just a few thoughts - each, I think, are symptomatic of bigger problems facing our world, or are concerns somewhat specific to this blog.

1) Patrons "not understanding" that GRINDHOUSE is the name of a "double-feature" film program comprising Planet Terror and Death-Proof. What is there not to understand? Did any of them look at the poster? Is the concept of the "double-feature" now so hopelessly and irretrievably dead that it simply does not register?

2) Seen at two unrelated places on Myspace.com - "Fuck all the bull shit." What are the chances?

3) Liking Shakespeare is the easiest thing to do in the world. Praising his plays and prose is so far beyond cliche as to be laughable. Politicians should list "the promotion of Shakespeare's works" as a talking point if they want to appeal to undecided or moderate voters, because it is, quite frankly, the least scandalous position to hold of nearly any position one can hold. Admitting that Shakespeare's works are an insurmountable goal for future generations should be silently passed along during grade school and left at that. Shakespeare should no longer be included in "best-of" lists (its understood), lists of genius (its implied), or in literature canons (his works are their own canon that trumps the other canon and sits comfortably atop). One can't expect to muster many votes for liking Marlowe, Thomas Middleton, or Dryden - but please, don't stick to what is safe.

4) This has been making the rounds in certain refined circles. The elites read in disbelief, laugh, and shake their heads. Those out of that loop say "so what?" One has to admit, the extremity of the set-up is ingenious...it not only exposes the publics' lack of cultural rigor, but it also exposes the supposedly soulless bureaucrat types for what the art establishment call them - soulless bureaucrats. However, I doubt that many people would be able to spot Branford Marsalis under the same circumstances. Or could identify R. B. Kitaj if he were offering to paint caricatures for $5 a head. Pretty much no figures in the so-called "higher" arts have any facial recognition these days, all this despite the ever-increasing profusion of our image culture. Less than 1% of the world could spot Robert Venturi standing next to his own building.
All very good points, which has left me wondering, what do people know? Because when you look at all these polls about basic knowledge in arts, literature, history, science, and so forth, an abysmal proportion of people know much of anything. My favorite recent example is a survey in 12 developed nations which concluded that 30% of respondents believed that tomatoes did not contain genes until genetic engineers put them there, while 35% did not know. The point is, people are spending their time thinking about or doing something, but I can't for the life of me figure out what that is.
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Writer on film, culture, art, media, and music.

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