August 25, 2008

August 25 reading


Today's Bible Reading Lamentations 1-3

I'm also reading:
Family Driven Faith   Voddie Baucham, Jr.
Solomon Among the Postmoderns   Peter J. Leithart

Last night as I read Solomon Among the Postmoderns, I came across a concept that captured my interest and gave me cause to consider this interesting new angle on culture and the arts.

As the boundaries between aesthetic and functional have been challenged, cultural products have become commodities, subject to the economic forces of supply and demand. This is partly an effect of easy reproduction. Paintings can be downloaded from the web, and we can play symphonies at will on various musical devices. But culture here also refers to values, aspirations, dreams, and goals, which are now manipulated and employed by companies seeking to sell lifestyles as well as products. Advertisements don't sell goods; they lend lifestyle value to goods, and what they really sell is happiness.

Once the boundary between art and life is breached, the hierarchy of high and popular culture soon collapses. Modernists like [T.S.] Elliot once fondly hoped that poetry would trickle down from Parnassus to refresh the language of the common people, but the language of postmodern commoners is taken from advertising jingles, TV shows and movies, pop music, and news sound bites. Our cultural literacy is not gathered from snippets of Western classics but from ever new surges of popular culture. Treatment of Shakespeare, as always, provides a barometer of cultural trends. On the one hand, the Royal Shakespeare Company advertises Coriolanus with a poster that invokes the film Natural Born Killers; serious Shakespeare adapts itself to popular culture. on the other hand, Disney's The Lion King retells the story of Hamlet—regicide, unscrupulous uncle, temporizing prince, the whole thing—but ensures a happy ending for Simba and his quite sane Ophelia.

Solomon Among the Postmoderns, Peter J. Leithart, pp. 49–50

No comments:

Post a Comment

No personal attacks. No profanity.

Please keep your comments in good taste. Leave a name so we know who you are. Your comments are welcome, but anonymous flames and sacrilege will be deleted.