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Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

It has taken forty years of wandering in a cultural desert for conservatives to realize that their leadership, economic and military victories will not supply what is sorely missing from American society. Things continue to get worse. Cultural values and standards continue to decline. Public architecture, monuments and memorials are a national joke. Education has become a matter of class warfare, with children of the poor and middle class shunted into prison-like warehouses. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who controls the White House, the Congress, state and local governments, or even the Supreme Court. The lens through which most Americans view the world has been ground by the liberals. We see the world as defined by a cultural elite increasingly out of touch with reality. By “lens” I mean the culture: the arts, media, education, history, architecture, literature, music, popular culture, television, movies, fashion and, most importantly, the epistemology of language. Many conservatives revere Ronald Reagan. They should study his Farewell Address to the Nation, in which he warned that “the diminution of cultural values, the loss of civic ritual, will result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.”

— James F. Cooper, In Defense of Beauty: Conservatives and the Arts

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I believe, along with Andrew Klavan, that culture drives politics far more than politics drives the culture.  Georgetown University’s Patrick Deneen raises an interesting point that “are mutually reinforcing.” Putting me in a position, as Dennis Prager says, to “think a second time.”

Indeed, there can be little doubt that the greatest technology of human origin and making is culture itself. Culture is the repository of memory and the medium of transmission of human accomplishment as well as human failings. It is the conduit of past to future, the vessel of memory of countless generations of the past to countless generations in the future, an inheritance and a memorial. The Greeks understood this well, counting the nine muses as the primary goddesses of culture, and the daughters of Mnemosyne, or Memory. Culture is indeed the offspring of memory, the collective wisdom of humanity that allows us not merely to survive, but to flourish—essentially, to become human.

The necessity of culture for human survival and flourishing also demanded a human vessel in which such memory could be transmitted—namely the city, itself a masterpiece of technology. Indeed, for this reason Aristotle writes that “man is by nature the political animal,” understanding that we would not be human but for our capacity to govern ourselves in concert with one another, to create stable and longstanding human communities. Culture couldn’t perpetuate itself in the absence of politics, and thus politics and culture are mutually reinforcing; politics and polis are shaped by culture even as they shape the culture.

— Patrick J. Deneen, “Technology, Culture, and Virtue,” The New Atlantis, Number 21, Summer 2008

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hammer-and-tickleBecause it’s easier than working. … [enter rimshot sound effect here]

Did you hear this one:

A man walks into a café and say, “I would like an order of borscht, a steak, a coffee and a copy of Pravda.”

The waiter says, “Certainly, sir. I’ll bring you those things, but I have to tell you, sir, there isn’t a Pravda anymore. That was available only under the Communists.”The waiter goes away and, after a few moments, brings the man his borscht.

The man savors his borscht and then tells the waiter, “Now bring me my steak and my copy of Pravda.”

The waiter says, “Sir, you don’t seem to understand. There isn’t any Pravda, the Communists are gone.”

The waiter brings the steak, and the man enjoys it. Then he says, to the waiter, “Thank you, now bring me my coffee and bring me my copy of Pravda.”

The waiter getting annoyed and visibly angry now says, “Look, how many times do I have to tell you! Pravda is gone! The Communists are gone! It’s all over!”

The man says, “Yes, but I like to hear you say it.”

I heard those jokes watching “Hammer and Tickle“, an excellent documentary about the role humor played in bringing down Communism, produced by that notoriously Right-wing media organization BBC4. This documentary was produced in 2006, so I figured three years after it was made it would certainly be available at Netflix. Nope. Nothing there. Blockbuster, perhaps? Nope, not there either. How about a DVD copy from Amazon?  No DVD has been released either, just like  “The Path to 9/11”. It seems that there are some DVDs the Media Elite would rather people don’t watch.

Thank goodness for YouTube, where the entire documentary was broken down into 10 parts and posted for public perusal. I’ve linked them all below the fold, to make it easy for folks to watch. I think this is an important documentary both to shed light on the history of International Communism and provide some insight current events. It is important to understand the role of satire and comedy, in a context of university speech codes censoring some voices and the reluctance of many comedians to find nothing funny about Pres. Obama.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not think people will be sent to slave labor camps because the made a joke about bureaucrats in Washington D.C. I do not think that someone will spend 9 months in prison, 6 of those months in solitary confinement, for mocking Nancy Pelosi, Harry Ried or Barney Frank. People have lost or had their jobs threatened because they made a joke someone didn’t like. Students have been threatened with expulsion from colleges and universities because they mocked the wrong person. Serious repercussions follow if you say the wrong type of joke to the wrong person.

Please watch these videos, share these videos. (more…)

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Sunset in the Yosemite Valley

Sunset in the Yosemite Valley

In addition to my love for this great nation, I love a good story, in print, on film or on canvas. A good story takes me out of my dull, humdrum world of bills, rent, taxes and speed limits and lets me live out all sorts of fantasies. A good story helps me get in touch with feelings of love and compassion so deep that I am brought to tears and can feel actual pain in my heart. A good story lets me live, even if it is “just in my head,” in a “Galaxy far, far away” or in an historic period when “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” A good story challenges me with hard questions without giving me easy answers; like would I let the child remain with the kidnapper and his wife or would I turn them in and return the child to an home where drugs and prostitution are the norm? A good story reminds that, because I am priviledged enough to live in the greatest nation on God’s green earth, I have the freedom to dream and be anything I want to be.

I have been ruminating for some time on whether or not I’d take up politically charged topics on this blog, though I may have already crossed that Rubicon with the post on Socialism. My original intent for this blog was that it would focus on topics of health and the free market, since that is what a home-based business I’m involved in promotes. As time has gone on, I find myself drawn more and more toward issues and topics of a political and cultural nature. The current Presidential Administration made it clear, at the end of the campaign that one of its goals, if its major goal, is to “fundamentally transform” America. In just a few short months it is clear that it intends to follow up on this campaign promise. I will not stand idly by while the Left fundamentally transforms a great nation into something closer to a Europe. I think it is time that people got a different story than the one they hear every day in all other media formats.

I am not so much interested in what the Power Brokers in Washington D.C. are doing as I am in what the Influence Peddlers in Hollywood and New York are pushing. I learned several years ago that there is power and there is influence. Washington D. C.  is the center of power in America. Hollywood and New York are the centers of influence. They are like two suns around which D. C. orbits, and what grows from the light cast by these suns is not healthy for the body politic. I think it is possible to change the light the Hollywood and New York orbs cast. I want to play a part in changing that light.

I want to point out what I think is good story telling and what is bad story telling. I bring nothing more to this endeavor than my passion for America and for Story. I have no special education, I have not spent years in the New York publishing world, I am not a frustrated Hollywood screenwriter, director or producer (Okay, maybe I’m a mildly frustrated screenwriter who has yet to finish his first script). I am one of the many millions of people who have spent a lot of hard-earned money on entertainment that, more often then than not, insults everything I hold dear, and I’m just not going to take it any more. I stand firmly with people like Andrew Klavan who wrote, “We can win back the Presidency, the Congress and the Supreme Court, but if we lose the Culture, we ultimately lose the country.” America is the last best hope for humanity.

There is a reason why millions of people cross its borders, legally and illegally, everyday. This is the country whose Founding Idea is that, in the Creator’s Mind, we are equal and that all shall have the opportunity for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I am confident that there are wordsmiths out there who also believe this and whose stories, whether told in words or images, embody this Founding Idea. I want this blog to be a place that promotes those kinds of stories.

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