"America's not on top anymore, because we've been exporting nothing but lukewarm fajita platters and spray-tanned celebrity jackasses for decades now. The days of closet-reorganizing professionals and Botox parties and hiring a personal trainer for your nanny's personal chef are over ... and thank God for that."
Amen. This kind of mediocrity has seeped all the way through our cultural landscape. It's the reason I gravitate towards 20th century literature, music and art. After 1979, something happened which radically changed the fiber of our country. This "change for the worse" shows up in the culture from 1980 onward. It's a shift away from humanity, community and common good towards selfishness, materialism and conformity.
I've watched the transition from the 80s hard-core greed to the 90s meaninglessness to 00s fear. I've witnessed writers cater to readers and audiences who superficially protest against these values.
A cultural shift is coming. Our political system guarantees it. The recession supports it. As the article writer notes, we can't rely on catastrophes to create this shift. The job of those in the arts these days - myself included - is to witness, validate and build momentum for change.