Read the article...
I read this, assuming the writer was making a very serious point.
And then I got to the end of the article and read:
Undoubtedly, this sort of critical machinery deepens the cultural experience. But it threatens something precious: disposability, and the confidence that most cultural offerings are things you don't need to think about. I'm pretty sure America could survive the end of NEA-sponsored Shakespeare festivals. But the end of trash culture would really be a loss worth mourning.
So, I changed my opinion for a moment and assumed the article must be a joke.
But I read it again, looked at the title "Improving ourselves to death" again, and realized that this closing "argument" was indeed deadly serious.
I want to look at these two (profoundly stupid) statements:
"The end of trash culture would be a loss worth mourning."
"...Cultural offerings are things you don't need to think about."
I looked up culture on Dictionary.com. Forgive me if my meanings are less than accurate. The word culture comes from the Latin cultus, which means to till, that is to till the earth for growing whatever crop you want. We use the word culture to indicate not only the growth of our society, but the climate in which societal growth takes place. Art, science, technology... this is the soil from which invention and new thought springs. Necessity is also the mother of invention. Combine at least these four and you have the beginnings of culture.
The Latin word cultus also seems to mean worship. Worship is that reverent love and devotion accorded to God, and the ceremonies, prayers, or other behaviours by which this love is expressed. It should not surprise anyone when art and religion are combined as in the Sistine Chapel, philosophy and religion meet in persons such as Sir Thomas More (and others). Many feel that science and religion should not meet... but of course, I would dispute this. Religion certainly makes use of technology; it has since before the time of Gutenburg's printing press and will continue to do so as long as there are preachers.
But here we have, from this guy, "trash culture" and "you don't need to think."
This guy doesn't know what he's talking about!
He's right up there with the guy from my "If I were a rich man" entry who said "I'm not anti-education, I just don't know if economically it makes sense," as though education is best measured in coin!
Please tell me he was kidding.