(The following is a tentative excerpt from the introduction to my book-in-progress entitled “The Cultural Abyss: When Mediocrity Is Enshrined And Civility Fades”)
We are witnessing all around us an unprecedented decline of civilization.
“We” being those who have, if not personally and intimately aware of a better time and era, are at least aware of such times through the study of history and from the remembrances of others. And we who are cognizant of of the precipitous and rapid decline of our society are in the minority, finding ourselves constantly on the defensive.
The unquestionably vast and growing segment of today’s world is engulfed in the cesspool surrounding them, unaware of or not caring about alternatives to it or the betterment of their cultural situation. Most, in fact, are content in their sewers. Societal mores are, at best, used as quaint dismissals of rebuff by the hoi poloi and cognoscenti who control and produce what passes as “art” today. If any criticism is launched or offense taken at this work then obviously the ones making such charges are labeled as prudes, neanderthals, repressed, Christian fanatics…or worse.
Class, decency, good taste, tone in music, plot in literature, manners, civility, proper grammar, appropriate attire—all relics of a Victorian, sexually-inhibited past these modern day members of the cultural elite claim. Steeped in their arsenal and verbiage of postmodern, relativistic, nihilistic and amoral ideologies, the older ones among them bid “good riddance” to bourgeois values and old fashioned, class-determined rules of conduct.
In fact, rules or structure AS SUCH are anathema to such people. Constraints or restraints of any type or form—in art, dress, appearance, expression, often even in law—represent oppression and must be opposed regardless of context or circumstance. Even the mere voicing of disagreement with the cultural cognoscenti represents an immediate need for reeducation, censorship or, in some cases, economic boycott.
The younger members of what I shall hereafter continue to refer to as the “cognoscenti” go still further and do away with even attempting a justification of their behavior: they are totally and proudly dogmatic in their righteousness of being “free”—ultimately from ANY dictates of reality. Dictates? Reality? Inventions of a ruling class to keep “the people” down. Reality is only what one perceives it to be the younger generation has been taught—and the only valid dictations or decisions are those that are derived from feelings or emotions.
The mundane, the mediocrity, the inane and the insane, the trivial—most of it lascivious and meant to titillate—has been enthroned in the culture of the modern West, not only in everyday entertainment but in the so-called higher “arts.” And while more options and choices are available to those of us who wish to opt out of the daily, normal stream of headlines that carry the modern messages we cannot escape it—we can only hide from it temporarily in moments of solitary sentimentality. Certainly those of us with children can only shield them to a point: the moment they leave our homes they are exposed—immediately in most cases—to scenes and sounds that would have been unimaginable even twenty years ago.
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