Broken Culture, Broken Politics?

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J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he studies literature and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about cultural decadence recently. It seems that, absent a dominant culture with it’s own narratives explaining “what are people for?”, or conversely multiple poles of meaning seeking to explain the same, politics drops the pretense of being about anything other than power, and that’s when it gets ugly and unworkable because nobody can have power without someone else letting go of power- maintaining power is the highest ideal. Maybe another book to read would be Arthur Schnitzler’s “Road Into the Open”. I don’t know if Barzun is right, but I love the line about Marxists by default, which is something I was trying to articulate in that post on the culture wars being held in the absense of culture.Report

  2. Avatar Mark Boggs says:

    “Here, at least, we’re rooting for more than jerseys.”

    I’m not sure if you’re insinuating this, J.L., or whether it is an attribution to Barzun, but either way, I think some of our politics problem comes simply because we’re rooting for jerseys with no real understanding of what those jerseys represent. And the fact that there are only two major jerseys makes the problem even more black and white. It kind of speaks to the problem that Jason (I think it was Jason) addressed the other day in his post about the Colorado election that might result in the GOP being relegated down ticket with the rest of the riff raff, and what the two major parties do to keep the riff raff down ticket.Report

  3. Every so often, I find myself thinking about this question in some form or another, and about the extent to which questions of culture are what ultimately drive a society, with politics being little more than a symptom of that culture. I seem to recall that the first time I thought about it was around the time when you, Brafford, Nathan Origer, and I guest-blogged for John Schwenkler (so it’s entirely possible you were the first to put it in my brain). My post in response to Scott the other day was perhaps my latest attempt to wrestle with the question, but I never seem to get as far as I’d like with it.

    I never seem to get as far as I’d like with the question, but every time I think about it, I wind up concluding that it’s the single most relevant question in understanding the things I write about.

    All of which is simply to say that I’m looking forward to your follow up posts on this over the coming weeks.Report

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