The Creation of Culture

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

The impeachment trial rolls on, and continues to be so boring, even the senators involved were falling asleep.  I have a classic Boomer colleague with whom I share a classroom, and he has been following the impeachment with rapt attention, periodically bursting into fulminations that “both sides have already made up their minds!  They’re not even listening to each other.”

He’s a sweet man, so I bite my tongue.  The reason no one is listening is because the whole thing is patently a sham.  The process isn’t being taken seriously because it’s been cheapened:  it’s merely a lurid attempt—the latest in a long series—to undo the results of the 2016 election.

That deep division is so predictable at this point that it’s not even interesting anymore, even if it remains important.  But rather than dwell on the fundamental division between two diametrically opposed philosophies (and, in many ways, theologies), I want to devote today’s SubscribeStar Saturday post to something more positive.

I’ve been pondering lately the ways in which culture gets created.  So much of our current political battles are really, at heart, spiritual.  They are also cultural.  In essence, some people are allowed to have culture; others—straight white Christian men, for example—are not.  Never mind that straight (and a few gay) white Christian men gave us the greatest works of classical music, notions of liberty and self-government, and all sorts of other wonderful cultural products.

That’s not to say that other people can’t create culture.  Not at all.  Simply saying that Aristotle was a great thinker doesn’t diminish, say, the accomplishments of George Washington Carver.  But if we’re allowed to celebrate Carver as a black scientist, why can’t we celebrate, say, Mozart as an example of the greatness of Western Civilization?  Indeed, the greatness of Western Civilization is that its principles may have started in Europe, but are, in fact, universal:  George Washington Carver was able to conduct his peanut experiments awash in the intellectual ferment of Western culture.

But I digress.  A good friend of mine has written an excellent collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights.  The poet, Jeremy Miles, collected the poems as he wrote and performed them at a local coffee shop’s open mic night nearly every Thursday night for a year.  The work is a powerful example of how culture—and a culture—gets created.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

One thought on “The Creation of Culture

  1. […] “The Creation of Culture” – This essay is a SubscribeStar exclusive, but it features a long introduction, mainly because I wanted to get in a plug for my friend Jeremy Miles’s new book of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights.  I highly recommend you purchase his book (yours portly is in the “Acknowledgments,” tee hee).  I express dismay at a “political moderate” colleague early in this essay, but the point of the essay was to explore how culture is created and nurtured.  Jeremy’s book of poetry was one example of both culture-creation and culture-chronicling, as it was compiled over the course of going to open mic night’s for year.  Many of the poems were inspired by the cultural ferment of the open mic scene. […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s