DO we need cultural seriousness, intellectual contemplation, works of depth and complexity? I’ve been hearing for most of my life — I came of age in the ’80s — that we don’t. Just asking the question got you branded, when I was a kid, a sissy or a bookworm; now it gets you called a snob.
But a very fine, reasonably long essay by my Yale editor Steve Wasserman tackles the sources of American anti-intellectualism and shallowness and argues for the importance of complexity. I’m quoted briefly in there; these issue are the subtext, in some ways, to my book Culture Crash.
The piece, in The American Conservative, will appear in longer form in an anthology that comes out this spring.