The "Global Culture": Postmodern Half-truths and LiesIn an essay entitled The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World Vaclav Havel advances the idea that "cultural conflicts are becoming more dangerous than any time in history". At some point he uses the example of a bedouin riding a camel drinking a coke and blasting a boombox. He says that he is not shedding an intelectual tear because this is a good sign of a global culture taking shape.
This is a half-truth one so obvious it deserves a place of honor in my big book of postmodern lies and half-truths (I'm still working on it). Ok so maybe it's good that we will share one culture.
This ignores three major facts that I am very fond of repeating:
- We do not own this culture.
- We do not participate in this culture.
- Our interests are not served by this culture.
Now I don't go that far, but at certain times in history this has been advanced by various people (I'm not sure I think the unabomber advanced such a line of reasoning, either that or he condemned modern industrial society .
We are not limited to choosing between this global culture and no culture. Things aren't black and white (thought postmodernists appreciated that sort of thing). We still have the old cultures and they aren't all bad. Shakespeare is good (well I mean some people like it). In my opinion the bible is kind of crummy (read Deuteronomy in the old testament and the part in the new testament about widows not being supposed to remarry. But you get the idea there are some things we want to keep and some things we don't.
Now the idea is that there is nothing wrong with this new culture being functional (that is screwing all of us to allow a few intellectuals, admen, and various other riffraff (probably me included) to gain some sort of power over the rest of us (I'm included here too)). The point is as follows, while the cultural forms of yore reflected and even shaped the political sphere of our societies. This new global culture is organised so as to do this to an unprecedented degree.
Basically this boils down to this: we are throwing away certain aspects of traditional cultures (both good and bad) and amplifying certain other aspects (also both good and bad). Now since WE are not effectuating this triage, that is to say since this is being done by a very narrow section of society, one which depends us holding very unhealthy worldviews, we can't just sit back and embrace this damn global culture.
I apologise for swearing, but I want this to be clear:
I REFUSE TO EMBRACE A CULTURE WHICH I CAN NOT CONTRIBUTE TO, WHICH I DO NOT OWN IN ANY WAY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY DOES NOT REPRESENT MY INTERESTS
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