Monday, December 29, 2008

Who Cares About the Cultural Altitude?

Norm Geras quotes Cosmo Landesman who cites Allan Bloom:

Allan Bloom, in his 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind, argued that listening to rock music destroyed a young person's ability to appreciate high culture. Could it also be true that an appreciation of high culture destroys a person's ability to appreciate popular culture?
Norm's skepticism of the idea is no match for my outright guffaws at its expense. Can the same person have a taste for both high and low (and middle) culture? Can a cow eat hay?

Yes, obviously, a person can enjoy both high and low culture. Take me for example. For Christmas gifts I happily received a DVD set of films by Ingmar Bergman (Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, and The Virgin Spring); and volume 2 of American Dad on DVD; and the book More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman; and more besides.

I say the Hodgman book alone collapses any high-low distinction even if the rest of it does not.


Adam said...

Yeah but American Dad is awful. And I'm not saying that just because it's popular culture, either.

Dale said...

Adam, awful? It's not as inspired as Family Guy, and it can sometimes get a little too topical (war on terror stuff especially) but it has grown on me. Seth McFarland is great.

But of course, tastes vary.