Cultural criticism, revisited


“When I refer to the death of culture, I am in truth referring to our inability as a society to discourse. Tony Judt, prior to his passing, noted that the inherent failing in the modern world is our inability to talk anymore. Instead we find ourselves banding together against new ideas, railing against those who dare raise a critical word or different idea, and instead of listening and discussing, attempt to bury their ideas under an avalanche of nay-saying.

It is the wretched state of cultural discourse that has left us in this unenviable position of putting national narratives to bed. If culture and art is supposed to be dedicated to higher purpose, then our purpose has been to wholly defeat the Filipino spirit. Our sense of artistic community has been trampled in favor of almost incestuous self-flagellation, where anyone who dares criticize the commonly acceptable understanding and themes in Philippine culture (and history) is taken out behind the woodshed and flogged for daring to raise a new idea, or dismissed out of hand using a number of choice phrases. There is a prevailing sense of ennui in Philippine culture. A creeping almost haunting perception that we have become static; and in that state are collapsing in on ourselves. A culture that lacks vibrancy, that is absent artistic conflict and joy, chaotic exploration and intellectual combativeness, is stuck and unchanging. What else is death, but a state of never changing?”

– from this post by a cultural writer whom I met recently.

At some point, this has to change.



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