Kurt Anderson, writer, critic, and public intellectual

I share (most of) David Sasaki’s sentiments when he says,

Along with David BrooksJeffrey Goldberg, and Jad AbumradKurt Anderson belongs to my select fraternity of idealized, intellectual American man-crush.

But while Sasaki is disappointed with Anderson’s “Person of the Year” article, I am concerned about his recent article in Vanity Fair titled “You Say You Want a Devolution.” Anderson contends that the past 20 years have seen a total stagnation in the production of new cultural aesthetics. In other words, the end of the 50s looked nothing like the end of the 70s, but 1989 looks remarkably similar to 2009. Anderson concludes:

We seem to have trapped ourselves in a vicious cycle-economic progress and innovation stagnated, except in information technology; which leads us to embrace the past and turn the present into a pleasantly eclectic for-profit museum; which deprives the cultures of innovation of the fuel they need to conjure genuinely new ideas and forms; which deters radical change, reinforcing the economic (and political) stagnation.

This is concerning, since that means the entirety of our blog is nothing more than the fungal growth sitting upon the neutral technological substrate that we impregnate with decaying cultures of past decades. Tattoos, Facebook, Burning Man, the iPhone, Twitter, sex dolls, wifi, internet memes, reality TV, geek culture, hipsters, video gamesfaux-vintage photographs, and dubstep are all popular topics on our blog, and (along with blogging itself) are products of the last 20 years. Anderson assumes that cultural objects are made possible through technology, but refuses to admit that technologies can also be cultural objects in and of themselves. more...

Via Next Nature.

Lately I have been trying to list all of the spaces, places, moments in time, story telling techniques, life courses, and jobs that are not popularly considered “the real world.” Here is the not-so-comprehensive list I came up wtih:

  1. The Internet
  2. Video Games
  3. Books
  4. Graphic novels
  5. Reality television
  6. Movies
  7. School
  8. College
  9. “Theory”
  10. Fiction

A note about number 3 (and 4). I say “books” as a whole, to capture two sentiments. The first, is an aversion to the nerdy bookworm that is exemplified in The Twilight Zone’s “Time Enough At Last” (SPOILER). The second is a sort of anti-intellectualism more...