The theme of this Spring Break Week is short stories, but more deeply it’s that of culture generally. Indeed, The Portly Politico has dedicated itself increasingly towards cultural, filmic, musical, and literary matters far more over the past few months than ever before, for a reason: creating culture is far more powerful and interesting than largely meaningless squabbles over minute points of policy. That’s not to say that politics aren’t important—at the local level it’s very important—but there’s not much we can do in a practical sense to sway the indifferent national government at this point.
Culture, on the other hand, is something we can proactively create and promulgate. A major push on the traditional Right as of late has been to do just that: create a compelling (counter?)culture to the prevailing popular culture of nihilism and materialism. Rachel Fulton Brown’s Centrism Games: A Modern Dunciad, the product of her excellent Telegram chatroom Dragon Common Room, is one exquisite effort at creating (and reviving) a rich literary culture on the Right. The collaborative nature of the work—RFB is the editor, with sections of the epic poem composed by different members of the chat—further highlights the proactive act of creation among like-minded individuals, each mixing their unique voices into a scathingly satirical blend.
My own book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, is my own meager contribution to this new culture—a work so honestly reflective of my teenaged self, I didn’t even fix some of my collegiate typos! It’s a bit postmodern and absurdist, but it at least gives a glimpse into the gradual transformation of one young creator (in this case, me!).
My music, too, is a humble contribution to cultural creation. I’ve always thought of The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, in particular, as an eschatological statement of sorts. At the very least, it attempts, musically, to reflect a civilization‘s fall into decadence and nihilism, before the cycle repeats.
But I digress. For this week’s edition of TBT, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before: bring a post from my SubscribeStar page out from behind the paywall.
The occasion for writing this post—“The Creation of Culture“—was the release of my friend Jeremy Miles‘s collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights. Jeremy is no Right-wing traditionalist, but his collection is the result of a year of attending open mic nights and performing his (very entertaining) poems. In essence, he created culture out of a vibrant community of artists and musicians, both chronicling and enhancing the performances that took place at a local coffee shop’s open mic night over the course of 2019.