Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Archdruid on the Internet?

It sounds oxymorony, but it's true, there is an archdruid on the Internet. Probably not the only one. I like this blog that my dad recently introduced me to, The Archdruid Report. Thoughtful and intelligent though somewhat predictable stuff about life yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His post last week, "The Twilight of Meaning," inspired me to make this comment:

I thought when the post opened with "this is hard to write" and then led to "unplug" that you were leading up to saying that you were ending your blog. Very relieved to find that that's not the case.

But I have the subsidiary reaction of .... well, do we unplug or not? I suspect my habit of spending so much time reading one pundit, blogger, commenter, tweeter, or what-have-you or another expostulating on his or her theories of life, the universe, and everything is probably at least as mind-numbing/culture-killing as watching a few episodes of "The Wire" or "Arrested Development," if not more so.

I also suspect that contemporary popular culture has not really changed so much throughout history, whenever your version of "contemporary" is. It's the same as the "kids today" complaint... the same lament, repeated generation after generation; why can't we hear ourselves being our grandparents? Popular culture is never good enough for the people who consider themselves "cultured." Charles Dickens was not revered as a literary master in his day. He was more like, say, Stephen King. I can easily imagine that one day Stephen King will be respected more like Charles Dickens.

And I have to ask, why does everyone who wants to take a pot-shot at popular culture use Lady Ga-Ga as their target? Because it's easy? Requires no research, no verification of any claim? Because lots of people who have also not investigated will chuckle and nod? That's certainly one formula for appealing to the lowest-common-denominator. I'm not an art historian, I'm not a teen-ager, not a hipster, not even a Lady Ga-Ga fan. But it doesn't take too much investigating to see that Lady Ga-Ga is a phenomenal and powerful cultural force, delivering messages that seem to be going over most of our heads. Next time you need a cultural punching bag, I suggest you use a Kardashian, Justin Bieber, or maybe The Wiggles. But maybe, for the integrity of your argument, at least Google them first.

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