June 25, 2006

The black hole of contemporary culture

This seems like a particularly uncreative time in contemporary culture, with most of the traditional arts arousing little excitement: E.g., Name three painters younger than David Hockney. The New York Times recently announced the results of a poll of the best novels of the last 25 years, and practically all the winning writers were born in the early 1930s. Perhaps architecture has a little buzz right now, although most of the architects winning critical hosannas seem meretricious to me, but, overall, the high culture fields seem pretty somnolent. The popular culture of the 20th Century also seems to be treading water. Movies are okay, but certainly not getting better. Popular music, after three generations of extraordinary stylistic innovation, seems stuck, with most of the styles that were in place by 25 years ago remaining dominant today. Television ads are glitzier than ever, but so what? This is a good decade for hour long TV dramas, but a weak period for half-hour TV comedies. And so forth...

So, where is the creative talent going? The most obvious candidate is into video games. But video games, at present, seem particularly ill-suited for cross-fertilization with other media. The lack of quality video-game criticism is particularly striking. John Scalzi at Whatever offers an exhaustive explanation of why there isn't yet much videogame writing that would be interesting to anybody other than somebody considering buying the game. (Via 16 Volts)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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