Sunday, November 11, 2007


I mentioned to my friend John R that I felt American culture was profoundly insincere and ironic. He said he agreed, and what made this interesting is -- Americans as a group are unable to see irony.

I said, "But American popular culture is ironic."

He said, "Yes." But the kids he had as students that last fifteen years he taught college did not see the irony. They saw people like Tarentino as "extreme," rather than ironic.

This strikes me as disturbing. At its best, American culture is ironic. It's also dishonest and hypocritical. If you can't see the difference between the surface and what lies below, then you are not seeing America.


Blogger Tallgeese said...

I would strongly encourage a visit to the basement of the TMORA exhibit, where the "grotesque" art is on display. To me, this was a powerful counternarrative to the art above, and underscores for me how aesthetic positions need to be understood in their social context. The artist was a social realist in a society which he saw as developing toward communism. He opposed the grotesque in art at that time. Since the collapse of the USSR, he has taken up the grotesque in much the same way as China Mieville has -- as a form of social critique of a rotten, grotesque post-socialist nightmare. :)

3:09 PM  

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