Friday, July 24, 2009

A Culture of Effort

I'm reading Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason (and mentally rebutting her about every two pages) when I came across a phrase that I really like. Here's the phrase in context.

The larger edifice of middlebrow culture, which once encompassed Americans of many social classes as well as ethnic and racial backgrounds, has collapsed. The disintegration and denigration of the middlebrow are closely linked to the political and class polarization that distinguishes the current wave of anti-intellectualism from the popular suspicion of highbrows nad eggheads that has always, to a greater or lesser degree, been a part of the American psyche. What has been lost is an alternative to mass popular culture, imbibed unconsciously and effortlessly through the audio and video portals that surround us all. What has been lost is the culture of effort.

Maybe our culture of vapid celebrities is what we deserve, considering how little effort most of us put into bettering ourselves these days.

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