The National Culture: News as Roman coliseum shows


I ran across an article that is pretty interesting. It’s a collection of speeches by Joe Bageant. He’s enamored with South American culture. That’s fine for him, but I don’t particularly identify with that culture. Too much touching. Joe may long for a “daily life in the flesh, belly to belly and soul to soul, lived out in the streets and parks and public places, in love and the workplace,” but that sounds like hell to me. God. The last thing I need is mutual public belly-touching.

However, his critique of American culture is well articulated:

Our daily news is the modern version of Roman coliseum shows. Elections are personality combat, chariot races, not examinations of solutions being offered. None are offered.

I happen to disagree with the implied solution he proposes (emulate the fuzzy tactile family structure of Belize), but I’m grateful that he actually goes so far as to offer up a solution to discuss. I have a different solution in mind. I think we could do a lot better if we spent more time and money on the work of craftsmen. I think it would be great if we were each others’ patrons when it came to individualized beautiful works of art and technology. The corporate, fad-oriented, marketed to death, planned obsolescence, throw-away culture is oppressive. But there’s no need to give up our comfortable “personal space.”

But my dream of a Neovictorian techno-utopia is far fetched. The blogosphere is my substitute for now, though. A place where people can engage intellectually with a little distance from the pervasive corporate interests… and there’s a great book on the subject over at on how to make money while blogging! Buy it through the link at right and support TBU!

(I’m only being half-ironic. Seriously, that button up top? You can buy that too! Know a designer who can spruce that up that design for me for a reasonable fee? Give me a yell.)