— aleatory

Misrepresenting Culture


Image courtesy Ardfern

The Derry~Londonderry bid has won the right to host the UK’s first City of Culture in 2013. Apparently one of the organisers trumpeted on the night of the announcment that she wanted to see ‘every child with a musical instrument’ by the time they get round to hosting it.

And that’s what irks me most about this notion of ‘Culture’ being bestowed on a city for a certain period:

Culture is surely one of the most incorrectly used words in the English language today.

What is Culture? Culture is ubiquitous. There is football culture, geek culture, urban culture and a truckload of subcultures in between. Culture is a description of society not a judgement on it.

Yet we keep seeing this crap debate about whether one city is more cultured than another.

The word these lunatics are really looking for is art. Use that phrase and they can then go round in circles arguing over which is more deserving of awards and luvvie attention all they like. As it stands we get creative fascists telling us how one social tradition has more merit than others, which seems to me to be wholly inappropriate. Is Birmingham’s R’n'B subculture more deserving of awards than the parading culture in Londonderry?

It’s an absurd notion. You might as well argue over who’s better, Blacks or Whites? And then further add to the damage by boxing the winner in a twee one-off event that gives their ‘culture’ – what should be a complicated & inate social structure and value system – some kind of artificially elevated status promoting nothing more than it’s commercialisation.

I guess we’re lucky Culture gets misinterpreted as art. At least then real culture will not be put at risk of contamination and freak show celebrity while the Marie Antoinette’s of this bid can get on with their instruments for every child gimmicks as the world trudges on regardless.

Opened my thoughts on ‘big society’ with this as it’s exactly the sort of government promoted social-engineering a society at peace with it’s own responsibilities should be avoiding.

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