This Week’s Insights: There is no popular culture anymore; it’s fragmented away… What if the market economy has discouraged really good things?… The Met Museum records another record attendance year… It’s difficult to get attention for new books… You might surprise yourself when you collect data on what you’re consuming.
- The Day Popular Taste Died: No one genre or taste dominates anymore. This has profound implications not only for what culture gets supported, but also for what gets made. The mainstream is itself in peril as much as the domination of any narrative art within it. Indeed, the very notion of a mainstream seems to be perishing in overproduction and disaffection with the cultural gatekeepers. And as the culture fragments, so do audiences – audiences which increasingly have little to do with one another or anything resembling shared experiences.
- The Market Economy Has crippled All Sorts Of Things Of Value: The market imperative means that business enterprises are supposed to behave in certain ways. These ways are often not conducive to the public good. Or to the highest quality. The consequence for consumers (or audiences)? We are all customers now; we are all supposed to be kings. But what if ‘being a customer’ is the wrong model for healthcare, education, and even highly specialised crafts and trades?
- Another Record-Breaking Year At The Met Museum: The museum, which had only a year or two ago telegraphed that it was being squeezed financially, posted the record even as admission for out-of-staters increased to $25. Good news right? Sure – But it also has to be said that so many people are thronging to the Met throughout the week, that it has largely ceased to be a contemplative experience. One could even say that for all the museum’s attempts to improve the visitor experience, it is in fact a less good experience. And yet, the record numbers suggest interest in what the Met is doing and a willingness to support it. At what point though, do the crowds become more of a negative than a positive?
- How Do You Get Attention For A Book? Young leaders in the publishing industry lament what the business has become. Book reviews have largely disappeared, and publishers have taken to chasing social media “influencers” and celebrities who can endorse.
“Pandering to influencers is just, like—I’d rather fling myself off a cliff,” one says.
- Intentional Arts Consuming: It’s easy to fall into a rut of going to events that reflect your biases. So Howard Sherman kept track of statistics about his theatregoing in 2017, and didn’t like the numbers he came up with. Did he see more plays by women and nonbinary folks and more plays by people of color in 2018 – and what will change in 2019?