Monday, May 20, 2013

Culture wars of the deluded

Mark Latham in his article on the culture wars has not worked out that the best response to the attack of a cultural warrior is not to fire back but to demonstrate the shallowness, ignorance and simple lack of connection to reality inherent in the idea of a culture war. Latham's response to Nick Cater's The Lucky Culture and the Rise of an Australian Ruling Class is no more considered than the initial provocation he senses on reading the book. Cater kicked a lousy, deflated ball to Latham and he just kicked it back. Latham should have refused to play the game. 

Instead he opines that "most footy fans would rather cut off their fingers than swap their jerseys for a seat at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra." This simply bears no connection to reality. In February this year a crowd estimated to number over a quarter of a million crowded into downtown Melbourne to be part of White Night, an all-night arts festival. In a city with a population of four million that is every sixteenth person. Mark Latham wants to tell us that none of these people manage to combine a love of the arts and sport; that, as in the delusional world of the cultural warriors, people see things in neat and clearly divided boxes. If only it were so simple. It ain't. The culture wars exist only in the heads of cultural warriors like Latham and Cater. The average person on the street is far better at navigating the complexities, apparent contradictions and diversity of the real world than the simpletons amongst the ranks of our cultural warriors ever will be.

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