Our culture? You might say Nock wasn’t a big fan: “Our civilization is certainly a poor enough affair, anyone who is even half satisfied with it ought to be ashamed of himself, and everybody ought to kick about it as hard as he can, poke fun at it, ridicule and satirize its shabbiness, meanness, childishness, and spiritual poverty. Especially should everyone throw mud and bricks at the disgusting airs it puts on when it goes on dress-parade. There cannot be too much of this sort of thing done.”
I found that in his essay, “Alas, Poor Yorick!” in Snoring as a Fine Art. There are plenty other instances, cultural criticism being his specialty. I especially liked this one from his journals. He was talking with a man on a train who mentioned that this is a great country and that he had confidence in its future. Nock said of his response: “I agreed with him that this is still the land of opportunity as far as money and comfort go, and asked him if he knew of anything else it had to offer that is worth having, and whether, all things considered, the money and comfort do not come pretty high. This seemed to be a brand-new idea to him, so I left him to mull it over. I told him if he thought of anything before the train reached New York, I would be glad to hear about it; but I did not see him again.”
That’s from 1934, and I venture to say that, unless you don’t count 50 Cent and Madonna, this country never changed: plenty of material benefits, little spiritual and cultural.
But of course, the Washington-Wall Street connection has killed the material benefits, too.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList