The Establishment, Still Doing Its Thing

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11 Responses

  1. Who’s the quote from?

    I googled “truly unparalleled social integration” and the top result was this post.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    You are correct every culture sets standards. What Ross misses is standards are usually so ingrained and seemingly obvious to the people in the culture they don’t see them. He would have to immerse himself in other cultures or ways of looking at society to see our many cultural standards.Report

  3. Avatar A.R.Yngve says:

    Old cranks usually miss the point when they can’t catch up with the *new* prohibitions and stick to the *old* ones. They are confused because they haven’t caught up. One has to be aware of the rules changing, but they are still rules and (basically) exist for the common good.

    A few examples of modern prohibitions:

    1. During a funeral, it is considered wrong to ask the host/hostess if you could have a piece of the deceased to bring home for dinner and/or medical experiments.

    2. If you observe that police officer is gunning down an unarmed dark-skinned man because the target was holding a cell phone or wallet in his hand, it is considered wrong for you to shout “Help! Police! Murder! A killer on the loose!”

    3. It is considered wrong to gang up on violent, aggressive fanatics and inform them that the general public outnumbers them by a large factor, so Shut Up With The Death Threats Already Or You May Find Yourself At The Bottom Of The River.

    Who knows how the rules will have changed in a hundred years’ time?Report

  4. Avatar A.R.Yngve says:

    By the way, I was joking. (Another prohibition: Many consider it wrong to use irony on the Internet.)Report

  5. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    I’m afraid Douthat is buying into a broadly Whiggish view of history, in which superstitions are unraveled and irrational prohibitions lifted. Obviously Douthat would characterize this process less than favorably…

    The word you’re looking for is declension.Report

  6. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Absolutely. And the other thing that the Viacom/South Park incident brings to mind is that America is unique for just how much of the culture is produced by corporations. They might not seem to have standards at times, but ultimately, this means that producing culture on the mass level means making a big cash investment, and accountants tend not to be radicals when it comes to spending money. This leads to a certain amount of small-c conservatism- media companies don’t exactly take wild chances with the cultural products they put out. Actually, looking at Hollywood, pop music, and the sort of rehashed shows that wind up on tv, it’s hard to believe they take any chances.Report

    • Avatar David Schaengold in reply to Rufus F. says:

      @Rufus F., Yes! In fact, I think this is one of the most important features of life in the 21st-century United States. In order to justify the large capital investment that cultural corporations like Viacom represent, it’s necessary to produce cultural products that are all essentially identical, varying from one another exactly to the degree that will both satisfy and maintain the demand for novelty.Report

      • Avatar Rufus in reply to David Schaengold says:

        @David Schaengold, When you mentioned the standards set by the establishment that remain largely invisible, I think of things like the rule we were given in “television production 101” that a shot in a film shouldn’t last more than seven seconds. That rule would seem to be just one more reason that nobody will ever again make a film like Barry Lyndon in Hollywood.Report

  7. Avatar A.R.Yngve says:

    “America is unique for just how much of the culture is produced by corporations.”

    I’m glad you reminded us about this fact, because it is truly weird and historically unique that corporations should control culture.Report