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Culture wars

Related: culture - cultural Marxism - war

In the United States

The term "culture war" (sometimes pluralized as "the culture wars") has been used to describe ideologically-driven and often strident confrontations typical of American public culture and politics since the 1960s, but especially beginning in the 1980s. The term evokes the 19th-century German Kulturkampf. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_war [Jan 2006]

See also: American academia

Culture is War (1995) - Leo De Haes

Culture is War is a 1995 Dutch-language essay by Leo De Haes. It focuses on cultural pessimism through the ages, and more specifically on pessimism in Belgium regarding the effects of "televison culture" and "visual culture" which came about in the late 1980s and 1990s. At that time, Belgium started to broadcast the video-clips of MTV and more importantly allowed air time to the first commercial (as opposed to state funded) television station VTM.

Today, the "dumbing down" debate with regard to "visual" versus "written" culture has largely subsided, due to the rise of the internet, which is largely a "word culture" (webpages, email, chat). Cultural pessimism, however, continues to exist.

From the introduction:

Let me show you that the ever maligned commercial visual culture is richer than it is generally believed to be and that most judgement of mass culture suffers from empty, superficial concepts. It is not mass culture which is poor, but the theory and theorists surrounding it.

In the second chapter I will investigate the nature of elite culture, and more specifically the gap between mass culture and elite culture, how this gap came about and how to transcend this conundrum. This chapter cannot but focus on the influence of the artistic guerilla of the historical avant-garde.

The third chapter digs deeper en questions the perceived opposition between "word culture" and "visual culture", showing that this opposition is out of place and even dangerous: culture is always "visual", every (new) culture is about representation and wages war against previous cultures with a new "image" of humanity and society at stake.

--Leo De Haes via Cultuur is Oorlog (1995) http://www.brakkehond.be/redactie/leovwd.html [Sept 2005]

See also: Leo De Haes - pessimism - optimism - culture - war

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