In a posting somberly entitled “Death Knell,” acdouglas.com announces the Impending End of the West, adducing as evidence a series of statements recently culled from an assortment of culture and art blogs. These statements, he claims,
are all reflective of the current cultural Zeitgeist; a legacy of the ’60s, and one that has been sounding the death knell for all the high arts, classical music very much included, for almost three decades now. And although a death knell, it’s been heard by most who ought to have known better (viz., intelligent, educated, cultured people such as those represented above) not as a death knell, but as a clarion voluntary heralding a new, welcome, and desirable equalitarian embracement of all art — high and low, great and trashy — without distinction.
No, I’m not going to embark on a(nother) fulmination against such wrongheaded, woodenheaded, purblind idiocy. I’ve done my share of that on this weblog; some will say more than my share.
Well, maybe just a teeny bit more than his share. For one of the statements, it seems, comes from “About Last Night”:
I’m blogging from the apartment of ________, who is sitting in her Eames chair (yes, she has an Eames chair!), looking shockingly beautiful as Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two twang away on the stereo (didn’t I tell you she was cool?).
Needless to say, the lady of the blank was Our Girl in Chicago, who has an Eames chair and listens to Johnny Cash, to whose music I introduced her a number of years ago. Which means, according to Mr. Douglas, that she and I are both part of the horde of woodenheaded, idiotic cultural relativists who are gnawing away at the foundations of Western culture.
Excuse the hell out of me, pal, but you obviously haven’t read one-tenth of one percent of what I’ve been writing for the past quarter-century about cultural relativism and its discontents, and I don’t plan to sit still and let you dump all over me like that. Among many, many, many other things, I draw your attention to something I posted in this space
a couple of months ago, apropos of the Great King-Hazzard Imbroglio:
I don’t think The Long Goodbye is as good a book as The Great Gatsby, and I believe the difference between the two books is hugely important. But I also don’t think it’s absurd to compare them, and I probably re-read one as often as the other.
The point is that I accept the existence of hierarchies of quality without feeling oppressed by them. I have plenty of room in my life for F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Chandler, for Aaron Copland and Louis Armstrong, for George Balanchine and Fred Astaire, and I love them all without confusing their relative merits, much less jumping to the conclusion that all merits are relative.
In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s part of what this blog is all about–a big part.
I think perhaps Mr. Douglas didn’t notice. I think perhaps there’s a lot he doesn’t notice. And I think perhaps he should do penance by ordering a copy of A Terry Teachout Reader, in which he will find plenty of evidence of just how much he hasn’t been noticing.
Enough said. All is forgiven.
UPDATE: Mr. Douglas has responded (the link’s the same), or at least thinks he has.