Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

A Terry Teachout Reader

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

A Terry Teachout Reader

Article excerpt

A TERRY TEACHOUT READER. By TERRY TEACHOUT. Yale University Press. 448pp. $38.

This generous collection of Teachout's writing on books, film, music, television, theater, dance, and more is only a small sample of his work as a "critic-for-hire" since the mid-1980s. During this period, he says, "America crossed a great cultural and technological divide," and he hopes this selection "may have some value as a chronicle, a road map of how we got from there to here, and what we lost-and gained-in the process." Technologically, we've gained digital tools with which we can store, transmit, and select from a vast array of music, movies, and visual arts. But we've lost the wide sharing of any single experience of art: as we select just what we want, we diminish our chance of being exposed to what we don't already know. We've been confirmed in solipsistic habits by "niche marketing" and "narrowcasting"; and popular culture has been "proletarianized" and "coarsened," as witness reality TV and gangsta rap. Culturally, we've had "a loss of nerve," adopting a postmodernism that "disbelieve[s] in truth and beauty, claiming instead that nothing is good, true, or beautiful in and of itself." In the higher reaches of our culture this has produced more theory than art, and in the more demotic branches it has led to "the sniggering, fearful Irony Lite that was the hallmark of American culture in the '9Os. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.