Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Rise of Zombie Culture, by Ian Oakley

In my self-appointed role as cultural critic of The Lanchester Review, I have been musing of the general malaise of Western civilisation.

It not just the dire economic performance of the USA, Europe and Japan over the last twenty years (compared with, say, South Korea and China in that same period), but it can be seen in wider culture. 

Whereas American culture helped destroy the Soviet Union, today Western culture is all over the place.

In almost every art form, the centre ground of culture is crumbling.

In films and theatre the middle ground has disappeared to be replaced by dumb blockbusters at one end, rehashing old films endlessly: how many reboots of Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, and on and on, do we need?

While at the high art end, it is esoteric. Apart from the cultural in-crowd, nobody knows what is going on and nobody else cares.

It is not just films, though, but even documentaries. We used have landmark series, such as The Ascent of Man and Civilisation.

But now, we get Jeremy Paxman presenting a series about the First World War, which he clearly knows nothing about, and endless documentaries that seek to divide culture, such as The Art of Women, whatever that even means.

Why does this matter?

It matters because it is out of the rich culture of the West that innovation and progress come.

It is not just the technical knowledge, which the Chinese and Indians have in huge amounts, that produces the mobile phone and the drone. It is the riches of a free, vibrant mass culture.

As an example, when most people in Britain know only of Big Brother as a reality TV show, it does not fill you with confidence.

As with a lot of things wrong in the West, as well as a lot of what is right, this all began in the 1960s.

The cultural zombies of that era refuse to die. This was brought home while watching the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury on TV in 2013.

Someone I was watching with turned to me and said, ‘Why are those zombies singing?’

Why, indeed?

No comments:

Post a Comment