January 27, 2012

A Sign of Cultural Apocolypse?

From time to time you might run across people who twist up their face, pound the table, and decry with great fury and indignation the erosion of culture in America.

Usually I dismiss those people as pessimistic blowhards; even when faced with evidence like Jersey Shore and Ke$ha.

But then I read in Publishers Weekly that none of the major morning new shows accepted an offer to let this year's Newbery and Caldecott Medalists speak about their books. The Newbery and Caldecott medals are awarded to outstanding works in children's literature. Getting the recipients of these awards a little press time was a common - and not difficult - practice in the past. Unfortunately it looks like those days may be behind us.

It's always been my position that there are different levels of entertainment and culture, and each has it's own audience. So for every Toddlers and Tiaras there is a NOVA. Those who lament a society that would allow something like Snooki to exist fail to acknowledge that the presence of low-brow doesn't destroy the high-brow. They can both exist, and do both exist.

However, if we fail to even acknowledge the existence of the high-brow, of the excellence in a field, then we might as well as be destroying it.

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