May 4, 2005

Michael Blowhard on "Weirdos and Culture:"

The suave and cheerful cofounder of 2Blowhards reacts to Terry Castle's hilarious memoir on Susan Sontag, the one that I noted awhile back, with an essay on the kind of people he has met in his three decades in the culture industry:

When I came to NYC in the late '70s and sneaked into the culture-and-media world, I was under the sway of a lot of Romantic-'60s ideas about art, inspiration, and madness. My reasoning -- too dignified a term for what was really a set of adolescent feelings and fantasies -- went along these lines: you have to be a little crazy to commit substantial life-resources to the culture world. The culture-life is impractical and quixotic, after all. But that kind of craziness is good! It's sweet! It's generous! It's a gift! It's all about the giving and the getting of pleasure! And pleasure is a wonderful, indeed priceless, thing! ...

It took me ages to understand that many of the people I was encountering in the cultureworld weren't charming eccentrics or engaging oddballs. What I finally woke up to was the simple fact that many people in the cultureword are real weirdos -- people who are so deeply off as to be close to mentally ill, if not actually mentally ill. They aren't crazy with a small c -- crazy as in eccentric. No, they're Crazy with a great big C -- crazy as in loony-bin-worthy, or something close to it.

I also woke up to the fact that many inhabitants of the cultureworld aren't sweetly nuts. They're destructively nuts. In my clueless smalltown way, I'd had trouble imagining that anyone -- anyone short of a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Jeffrey Dahmer -- might wish the general run of humanity ill. Yet what I found was that a fair number of people in the American cultureworld seethe with bile and contempt towards the mainstream. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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