Lazy Sunday XLVIII: Culture

A paradox of blogging is that the more I write, the more difficult (at least some weeks) it is to think up a good theme for Lazy Sunday.  Part of the problem is that the earliest editions often featured very broad categories; thus, the proliferation of “Part II” posts throughout.

Of course, that’s probably a problem for me, the writer.  You’re just looking to scan through a list of hyperlinks while enjoying your pre-church coffee (or—given my tardiness posting of late—your post-church nap).  Such is the nature of the relationship between creator and consumer—thirty minutes put into crafting a blog post equates to about thirty seconds of skimming.  But it’s worth it to have your eyeballs (eww…) for those thirty seconds!

On that note, I’m dedicating this week’s Lazy Sunday to matters of culture.  In compiling this short list of recent pieces, I came to realize that I way overuse the “culture” tag on my blog posts.  In my defense, I do so because I see most issues as cultural (or, even more deeply, theological and philosophical), rather than merely political or economical, in nature.  The major political battles we’re fighting in the West today are, at heart, about culture.

Naturally, you’d think I’d proceed to define a term as slippery and protean as “culture,” but it is Lazy Sunday, after all.  For now, suffice it to say that I largely mean it in the sense of Matthew Arnold, and derived from essays from Kenneth Minogue and Roger Kimball; that is, culture is the soil in which a society and its ideas flourish, assuming the soil is healthy and nourishing.  I also like the metaphor of culture as a miasma, something in the air—we don’t see it until we’re not in it.

Okay, okay, enough armchair philosophizing.  Here are some recent posts about my favorite overused tag, “culture”:

  • Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony” – There is something about this composition, Beethoven’s “Pastoral,” that speaks to my soul.  After hearing the South Carolina Philharmonic perform the entire symphony a few weekends ago, I began analyzing the score of the first movement with a private lesson student.  Even when he played the opening motif on a digital keyboard with synthesized violins, it stirred something in my soul.  That is the power of music.  What is it about that arrangement of notes in that way that conjures up such emotions?
  • Milo on Generation Joker” – This post is both my own review of Joker, and my summary of Milo’s excellent essay “Why I’m Counting on ‘Generation Joker.’”  The film is a dark example of what happens when a culture is poisoned—when the soil is no longer fertile and nutritive.  It is a bleak movie.  Most movies with an intense anti-hero—and, in this case, one who completely embraces villainy and, therefore, becomes a proper villain—tend to romanticize lawlessness and moral ambiguity.  Joker manages to avoid that counterculture impulse, and instead portrays, simply, the un-romantic nature of the title character’s descent into madness and evil.
  • 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.

Well, that’s it for this week.  Go out there and make some culture—and, in the process, start to heal it.

Happy Sunday!

–TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

30 thoughts on “Lazy Sunday XLVIII: Culture

  1. These are fun but as your archives deepen (I’m coming up on 9 years of mostly daily posts) that if you try it you’ll have part 95 posts, because most of what we write is connected and relates to many things we have written before, sometimes from a different perspective, either ours or the event.

    That to the side, it is all cultural, either in how things continue or in how they are a break, and yes, my culture tag is desperately overused too. It is a given if we do more than a simplistic, surface view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “[The culture tag] is a given if we do more than simplistic, surface view.” Amen! Yep, even after around 406 days of consecutive daily posting (not to mention the posts from 2018 before I went daily), I forget about things I’ve written (usually it’s the material that’s truly forgettable—ha!).

      Kudos on nearly a decade, NEO. That is quite impressive.

      Liked by 1 person

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