Fifty Years Battling the Kultursmog
R. EMMETT TYRRELL, JR.
[SPECTATOR.ORG] At The American Spectator we call it Kultursmog, it being the popular culture of the country, occasionally even the high culture of the country. You want examples of Kultursmog! Think of the production of a Shakespeare play with the players appearing in the nude or dressed up as 1930s gangsters, complete with machineguns. I have never seen, say, the Royal Shakespeare Company, perform Shakespeare in the nude, but doubtless their day will come. On the other hand, I have seen Macbeth cast in gangster garb. It was twenty years ago, and I was either in New York or London... after a few drinks I get the two confused. I suppose their outré casting of Macbeth was supposed to make the audience think.
One of the false assumptions of the Kultursmog is that Americans do not think at all, and so Kultur’s sacrosanct duty is to make us think by disturbing us, by making us want to tear down the theatre, by giving us a nosebleed, by making us really ill. I have never gotten even mildly ill at a high culture event or even a low culture event. I have laughed out loud, but never thrown up ‐ not even over the art of Andy Warhol or of Robert Mapplethorpe or this modern clown of the plastic arts, Jeff Koons. Incidentally, yet another of the Kultursmog’s false assumptions is that high art, if it is good, has disturbed people. You know, at the premiere of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, or Michelangelo ’s unveiling of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, or Rodin’s The Thinker. In truth, if Beethoven’s or Michelangelo’s or Rodin’s artistic goals were to disturb their audience or annoy their patrons they would be out of work in a flash and quite possibly tossed in the calaboose
You have the right to remain silent...
by Prince Esterhazy or the Crown Prince, or the Emperor or whatever.
Kultursmog may be laughable and trivial and childish, but it is everywhere. Americans cannot escape it. Even Europeans and Asians cannot escape it. Which is why The American Spectator has survived for fifty years. It’s been one laugh after another always at the expense of the Kultursmog ‐ its pollutants and its polluters. The sociologist and other such frauds decry the abundance of dead end jobs here in America. But for me having a dead end job hasn’t been so bad. I have been at The American Spectator, as editor-in-chief, for fifty years without interruption, without being furloughed, without being promoted, without even being fired, no sexual harassment charges, and always the same crummy two-week vacation ‐ year in and year out.
We began by laughing at the Kultursmog when it was the product of Liberalism. There was, for instance, the Alger Hiss farce. It went on for decades. At the Nation magazine it doubtless still is going on. There, Alger remains innocent. One of the magazine’s most convincing arguments was made by Hiss’s son who argued that Hiss could not be a communist because he once caught his male member in the zipper of his trousers. We thought that was funny. There was the Reagan Administration when all major media believed that President Ronald Reagan was an ignoramus and clinically insane, even as he was winning the Cold War and reviving Jimmy Carter
...only the second worst president ever...
’s decrepit economy. There were the Clinton years when the Spectator scandalized polite society by doing what was then never done: talking about a string of cuties that Bill had violated and Hillary had covered for. Today we call Bill’s innocent White House recreations Sexual Harassment ‐ and if you do it, watch out. And by the way, what is this talk about the Russians having some mysterious dirt on Hillary? It is no mystery. You will find it chronicled in the Spectator for over twenty years. How about in 2007 when I reported that the Russians had taped Bill having phone sex with Monica. He did it on open telephone lines.
Posted by: Fred 2018-01-29