Saturday 19 February 2011

Cultural oblivion

This post is a follow up to that one, and pretty much a rambling post. I am reading One Hand Clapping at the moment, about to finish it actually. It is taking me too long and I should have read it in a weekend. It is nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable read, very funny yet very bitter. It is this bitterness that got me thinking. The story, set in Brittain of the sixties (but it could almost be today) is about a used car salesman who has little instruction but a photographic memory, which allows him to win a thousand pounds on a TV quizz then a lot of money through betting. Wealthy, he is still unable to appreciate life and modern consumerism make him suicidal. Like for A Clockwork Orange, I have been wondering if the novel was not prophetic: books are not read anymore, great artists are now just names for quizz shows questions, songs are now just stuff for aspiring pop stars in talent shows, education is often devalued, we get lots of wealth, but losing culture. Maybe we are already in a cultural wasteland. I remember how much I felt contented rediscovering stage performances last summer, how much I thought I had missed something for so long, something simple and genuine. I am glad I can at least appreciate it still, I wonder if the stage, like librairies and bookstores, is not in danger of disappearing. Through the laugh I got reading One Hand Clapping, I cannot help but shiver with dread.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even most music is mass produced for a consumer audience, and is mostly performed by little more than eye candy. I have not read 'One Hand Clapping' or any Anthony Burgess for that matter, but I don't have to have done so since I am filled with that same dread, and to completely relate to this post of yours. It's a pretty accurate summary of the state of the arts, and literature.