Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grant on a Rant: The End (of Culture) is Nigh

Good evening ladies and gentlemen it’s time for a new segment we like to call Grant on a Rant. That’s right folks that’s where I, your host go on ranting about a topic that I find to be of significance. So now that we’re all ready, what’s our topic tonight? Doris, may I have the envelope please.
            Tonight’s topic is culture, specifically the end of it. Now that we’ve got our topic and I’m all fired up we’re ready to begin.

(For Added Experience listen to this while reading)

            I might be an old man at heart, but it seems as though things weren’t what they once were in terms of art. There seems to be a trend, with at least the very posh, of minimalism that is just ridiculous. Tom Friedman illustrates this point perfectly. A recent work of his can be described by the following: A dead ladybug in a Styrofoam cup. “No one would buy such a thing!” oh but yea of little faith. It was sold. It was sold for $29,900. If this isn’t ridiculous I don’t know what is.
            It doesn’t stop there of course If we look back to 1952 John Cage composed his immortal 4”33. If you’re wondering where you’ve heard this piece, my answer is you haven’t. Seeing as there is nothing to be heard as it is simply four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. The idea wasn’t even original because he was sued over the composition. Cage simply just extended the time of his most enduring work. The purpose of 4”33 is to inspire its listeners that music can be found anywhere. Perhaps that is true, but regardless you could just tell me that and not make me sit through 4”33 of silence.
            While I’m talking about music, might as well mention dancing. During my time in Germany a friend already living in the town I was staying in asked me if I would like to go to the Abiball. Basically the German prom (Yeah, be jealous, ‘cause alcohol was legal there) and I learned the Viennese Waltz just so I could dance on the second day I was in that country. I learned it maybe an hour before the dancing started. Dances in the United States pale in comparison; our dances are nothing more than jumping up and down and grinding. Maybe a two-step here and there if you’re in the South but you’re probably doing it wrong.
            This was a place where I heard waltz music in a crowded room on the dance floor, with teenagers. The best we can do is country. Musical composition of the day just isn’t up to scratch. Like the song That’s not my Name. I mean seriously people, how many brains does it take to come up with such a silly song. Then there are songs like Friday. I rest my case on the matter of poor composition. All of this music is being produced and when I would suggest that we listen to some blues people reel in horror. Our culture will dwindle and be lost if we don't take care of it.
            I’m not a culture snob. Okay maybe I am a little. Rap, pop, country are all cool I guess, just put some thought into the lyrical construction and we might not have to worry about our brains flowing out of our ears. Put some thought and real symbolism into your art projects and other miscellaneous doodlings. As far as dancing is concerned, I don’t see any hope there. Yeah that one’s a lost cause. We should try and strive to maintain our cultural heritage. Ragtime for instance is an important part of American history and helped lay the foundation for all other subsequent musical styles. Yet fewer and fewer people know this or even care. We need to protect our heritage and understand where we came from in every sense. Without culture we as humans are nothing.

-Grant Silverman



    I believe this meme illustrates your point precisely.

    Well done rant! I wholeheartedly agree, but I must point out that as much as we may dislike it, beauty is still in the eye of the beholder, and we have an unnatural amount of obnoxious tween girls running our culture right now. so. yeah.

  2. Good examples. You set a high standard for rants in America.

    About the lack of culture in our culture, there's also the problem of our contemporary culture somehow clawing its way into daily lives abroad. I just hope the Viennese Waltz knows how to fight for its territory.

  3. Eh. I just think you have to know where to look. "Friday" isn't respected for being a great piece-- it's sneered at for being absolutely horrible. Every generation and century will have its own cultural highs, and those will be what the future remembers. I mean, no one goes to the opera to listen to crappy arias. They go to listen to some of the greatest pieces ever written.

    As far as fine art goes... Do not fear, Grant! Looking at art, it's easy to feel as if everything's meandering towards "Klein Blue", but it's not. You're just lookin' in all the wrong places.