Saturday, January 14, 2017

I just lost an opportunity

I just lost an opportunity to promote my new novel, IF ONLY in a popular newspaper because I refused to put my name to an article which mentioned IF ONLY and In Praise of Older Women, but started by paying homage to "Madonna, one of the most famous persons in the world." Several incidents of this kind made me realise that it is not the lovers of classical music and great literature who are elitist. 

Stupid is the new elite, and they do their best to make us disappear - or at least become invisible, so people won't know that there is another world beyond the mass media. When I came to the UK in 1965, the "Culture" sections of the leading broadsheets were about thinkers Bertrand Russell or great classical musicians, great writers - individuals who had added something of value to civilisation. Today even the "Culture" pages are featuring predominantly articles about television programs. And they are surprised that newspapers lose readers.

If you love pop music, every day there is something in the news to reassure you  that what you love is the most important thing in the world.  If you are an intelligent person you are made to feel lonely by the media, confirming that you are member of a very small minority. It’s no use spending money on education if everything outside school tells you that fame is the greatest achievement in the world. The BBC, financed by taxpayers, is as guilty of this as any other media organisation. Talking about the importance of mental health and then feed people explosions, mindless thrillers and nothing that could inspire them to exercise the minds is pretty absurd. You could become mentally unbalanced just by watching a few hours of BBC television. 

This is not just a question of high culture which inspires you to think, reflect, practice concentration and have deeper feelings - the country's mental health, security and  productivity depends on it.


Francis Berger said...

"Who in the West cares about great art when there are so many distracting little indulgences?"

Do you remember this quote? As you know, I addressed this rather tragic state of affairs at great length in my work.

Nonetheless, there is a positive side to all this, which you allude to at the end of your post. A growing number of people are tuning out the mainstream (which has been dubbed as the 'lamestream' by many. Newspapers are losing readers, television stations are losing viewers, and book publishers are losing money.

People are rediscovering art and culture (and news and everything else for that matter) through alternative media sources - self-published books, You Tube channels, blogs, etc. - and these alternative media sources grow in popularity every day.

Perhaps art and culture will survive, but certainly not in the mainstream (unless it undergoes a complete renewal, which it probably won't).

Francis Berger said...
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