Buying through this banner helps support the forum!
Page 6 of 11 FirstFirst 1234567891011 LastLast
Results 76 to 90 of 158

Thread: Is Our Culture Ready for the Trashcan?

  1. #76
    www.markbastable.co.uk MarkBastable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,447
    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    I'm afraid it doesn't:

    "There may have been people who had knives during that period but they were not schoolboys."
    According to him, they were. Also knuckledusters, chains and all the other stuff of hand-to-hand gang warfare.

    But so what? He says so; you say otherwise. The two are contradictory and useless as evidence for or against cultural decline.

  2. #77
    No, but it is a great example of why relying on anecdotal 'evidence' is intrinsically unreliable, as a quick trip into the Manchester City Centre Tesco (to pick up milk for the office tea bellies) evidenced Sabrosa and Festival variety strawberries on offer and not an Elsanta in sight!
    They're earlies, give it a few weeks and you can go and get your Elsantas.

  3. #78
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by TheFifthElement View Post
    No, but it is a great example of why relying on anecdotal 'evidence' is intrinsically unreliable, as a quick trip into the Manchester City Centre Tesco (to pick up milk for the office tea bellies) evidenced Sabrosa and Festival variety strawberries on offer and not an Elsanta in sight!

    There's an intrinsic danger in relying on sentimental nostalgia as a guide as to whether things are 'worse' or 'better' now than they once were. The comments about kids not carrying knives until recently nearly made me choke on my Braeburn. Kids have always carried knives, the difference is that now it's seen as a problem where it didn't used to be, so it wasn't reported. It's simply a perception issue. As an illustration, let me offer you an alternative nostalgic anecdotal vision of that innocent, earlier age in which there was no anti-social behaviour, no violence, a nostalgic memory right out of the world of Swallows and Amazons, The Railway Children or The Famous Five. In this nostalgic memory we find a young lad, let's call him 'Billy' in his little short trousers with scuffed and dirty knees out in the countryside digging himself dams and having great adventures with his pockets full of string and whistle and squashed up sandwich and stones and bluetack and his pocket knife which he uses to dig with or whittle himself a little toy from a stick he found in the undergrowth. A nostalgic little memory which is familiar to many, I'm sure.

    Poor little Billy now isn't permitted a knife for any purpose because, apparently, these days it's assumed that he could only possibly want it to stab someone with, and the fact that boys have been carrying knives as a nifty little tool as long as they've had pockets to put them into is one little piece of 'nostalgia' that is, too often, forgotten. Little Billy now would be splashed over the news as evidence of anti-social behaviour and the ever declining society which we're all supposed to be afraid of.

    As to anti-social behaviour - is it worse or better? Who knows. The concept of 'anti-social behaviour' is a recent phenomenon, and police, I'm sure, never used to record the amount of times they cracked a bunch of young 'upstarts' over the head and told them to go home. Of course we're supposed to feel disgruntled that the police can no longer dole out summary punishment without following due process, but to my mind that's an improvement because the violence now is recorded and not simply doled out by those in positions of authority. In terms of supposed in school violence - my kids have never seen an actual fight at school, though their Dad at a similar age had been in many (and had become the c*ck of the school - an honour bestowed by means of being the best scrapper of all the lads - remember that anyone?) and I had seen plenty before I reached high school too. If anything I'd say the standards of behaviour have improved, teachers certainly focus plenty of attention on it, whilst the bigger problem in schools these days seems to be one of apathy rather than open rebellion or violence. Certainly that is what I see in the schools my kids have been to, anyway.

    I think the bigger issue, for Britain at least, arises out of overcrowding. All the places I used to play as a child: the school playground, open countryside or fields, are now either blocked off with 6 foot fences or have been turned into supermarkets or housing estates. So we're all on top of each other and kids, wherever they play, are watched over by disapproving eyes because they are noisy or playing or running around and being inconveniently alive. If people see a group of teenagers on the street it's instantly considered 'anti-social behaviour', something threatening, but the fact that those teenagers might have nowhere else to go isn't entertained for a moment. No parent wants 16 kids in the house, all the open land where teenagers used to go when I was a kid has been built on, parks are closed in the evening and social or youth groups tend to operate one day a week only. They might not be causing any trouble, and in most cases they really are not even slightly interested in the passerby, but the mere fact of them being there seems to be a problem. If they were out of sight, as they used to be, no one would really care. But instead we're all right on top of each other, you can't escape it and there's rarely an acknowledgement from the adult's side that their reaction to the teenagers being there, the desire to remove them from the street, is as much a part of the 'anti-social behaviour' problem as the kids themselves are supposed to be. And the poor kids can't win because if they're outside they're considered an anti-social menace, and if they're inside their considered to be layabout couch potatoes who spend all day on their mobile phones, the X-box or Playstation, or messing around on Facebook.
    Poor little Billy sounds awfully cute with his penknife but not everyone thinks so:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7484103.stm
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  4. #79
    biting writer
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    when it is not pc, philly
    Posts
    2,184
    This debate has seemingly devolved into your social pathology is better than mine, and it is not really an indicator of cultural apex, cultural golden age, or cultural decline.

    Look, I complain on my blog about social pathology all the time. The attendants who have victimized me have kept my post traumatic stress symptoms alive and well, and turned my biases into a nearly entrenched certainty of experience, so my heart bleeds, truly, for instructors on the front line-- but luke and Neely and Brian and Fifth and me can sit down over coffee and revel in Wilde's attributes, yes?

    Isn't that a retention, even a strength, of Western cultural resilience? I don't like muddy waters when it seems no one has a decent definition of what they mean.

  5. #80
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    LA
    Posts
    1,913
    Blog Entries
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    It wouldn't take much effort to research the history of drug abuse... and alcohol abuse as well as the history of violence and gangs and highway robbery etc... across Europe in past centuries.
    As for the Araxes, it is, according to some accounts, larger, according to others smaller than the Ister (Danube). It has islands in it, many of which are said to be equal in size to Lesbos. The men who inhabit them feed during the summer on roots of all kinds, which they dig out of the ground, while they store up the fruits, which they gather from the trees at the fitting season, to serve them as food in the winter-time. Besides the trees whose fruit they gather for this purpose, they have also a tree which bears the strangest produce. When they are met together in companies they throw some of it upon the fire round which they are sitting, and presently, by the mere smell of the fumes which it gives out in burning, they grow drunk, as the Greeks do with wine. More of the fruit is then thrown on the fire, and, their drunkenness increasing, they often jump up and begin to dance and sing. Such is the account which I have heard of this people. -Herodotus Histories
    "So-Crates: The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing." "That's us, dude!"- Bill and Ted
    "This ain't over."- Charles Bronson
    Feed the Hungry!

  6. #81
    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The George Orwell sub-forum
    Posts
    4,638
    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    I don't see how pop music is a sign of Western cultural decline. Have you heard Korean, Chinese or Japanese pop music? I think we're winning.
    :s,ilielol5:

    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    Anyway, whether this is a cultural or a social decline, it seems to me that there is a general lack of respect in society today and that is my argument, certainly in the UK, which is fast becoming one of the worst countries in Europe.
    How do you rate them on the goodness and badness scale?

    How do they compare against life say, 400 years ago, under the fuedal system. Was virtual slavery an advantage in cultural excellence.

    I think you're getting closer to Aunty S's problem though, which is actually: "Cultures Change".

    SLG has been berating the point, but I'd like to add that cultures do change, and the evidence for that is pretty obvious. Change does not equate to improvement or regression, it just means change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    After all, we - the older generations - are in fact the cause of what happens. The culture, the youngsters, are not some aliens seperate from us, but are linked to us and how we brought/ are bringing up our kids. The challenge is to do it better.
    Amen.
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

  7. #82
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by Jozanny View Post
    This debate has seemingly devolved into your social pathology is better than mine, and it is not really an indicator of cultural apex, cultural golden age, or cultural decline.

    Look, I complain on my blog about social pathology all the time. The attendants who have victimized me have kept my post traumatic stress symptoms alive and well, and turned my biases into a nearly entrenched certainty of experience, so my heart bleeds, truly, for instructors on the front line-- but luke and Neely and Brian and Fifth and me can sit down over coffee and revel in Wilde's attributes, yes?

    Isn't that a retention, even a strength, of Western cultural resilience? I don't like muddy waters when it seems no one has a decent definition of what they mean.
    Got to agree with this; it's unfortunate that threads which address this and similar subjects, always break down in this way. I don't think Aunt Shecky's original post re Western cultural extinction has been adhered to and is rapidly devolving into nit picking.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  8. #83
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,294
    Quote Originally Posted by mortalterror View Post
    As for the Araxes, it is, according to some accounts, larger, according to others smaller than the Ister (Danube). It has islands in it, many of which are said to be equal in size to Lesbos. The men who inhabit them feed during the summer on roots of all kinds, which they dig out of the ground, while they store up the fruits, which they gather from the trees at the fitting season, to serve them as food in the winter-time. Besides the trees whose fruit they gather for this purpose, they have also a tree which bears the strangest produce. When they are met together in companies they throw some of it upon the fire round which they are sitting, and presently, by the mere smell of the fumes which it gives out in burning, they grow drunk, as the Greeks do with wine. More of the fruit is then thrown on the fire, and, their drunkenness increasing, they often jump up and begin to dance and sing. Such is the account which I have heard of this people. -Herodotus Histories

    But those people are not aristocratic, neither schoolboys. They didn't live in England, so they do not account for Western Civilization. Plus, statistic is bad, unless they are used as something vague, numberless.

    After a time travel, I finally found a society without social revolt. There was no decline, saddly no improvement either. They are called dinossaurs and they have two suns. One that moves straight to the earth, according to Mr.Flintstone. By the way, I am nitpicking because the irony of irony cann't be well understood unless a prostitute (this recent invention of human society) threw the naked truth on me.

  9. #84
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    next door to the lady in the vinegar bottle
    Posts
    5,053
    Blog Entries
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    Got to agree with this; it's unfortunate that threads which address this and similar subjects, always break down in this way. I don't think Aunt Shecky's original post re Western cultural extinction has been adhered to and is rapidly devolving into nit picking.
    Rest assured that it doesn't break down until it reaches the point of Godwin's Law. (Although the earlier references to Goering come close!)

    Back to the point of whether we've only recently begun to slip down the proverbial slippery slope or if it goes back 40 years or more, here's some more "anecdotal evidence"(a contradiction in "terms.")

    Back when Dwight MacDonald was writing his seminal essay, there was no Internet, no cable. The predominant mass medium was broadcast television. We were the famous "last family in the neighborhood" to get a TV, and I think I was about 8 years old when we finally had one, which only brought in one VHF channel well, another family member having broken the dial.

    But this was the time of "The Golden Age of Television,"which offered important plays on the Philco Playhouse,Kraft Theatre, Playhouse 90, and the like, with the works of Odets, Serling, Chayevsky, etc. Those drama series were somewhat like the equivalent of Masterpiece Theatre on PBS today, or since they were contemporary teleplays, like HBO without the swearin'. Keep in mind though, they were on network tv, which today offers soul-killing "reality" shows, and the dumbest fare you can think of.

    But even then, Newton Minnow of the FCC complained about the "vast wasteland," as many viewers watched the "l.o.p."--"least objectionable program." There were just as many lame-o sitcoms in the early 60s as there are now,
    but they were tempered with real talents, such as Sid Caesar,Carl Reiner, Dick van Dyke, even Woody Allen and Neil Simon.

    These days it's rare for even PBS to broadcast an opera, a ballet, or a concert of classical music. (Their more-and-more frequent "pledge breaks" have been going the "pop" music route. Last week they even had "The Beatles" --in the personae of a "tribute" band!)

    But can you imagine one of the 3 American networks actually putting classical music on during prime time. But they did at one time. Now, this is going way, way back, but when I was little I used to watch Leonard Bernstein explain the various instruments of the orchestra and how they related to the symphony that they were about to perform. Even then, when I was so young and uncouth and never introduced to the finer things in life, I thought it was wonderful. This is what the rich kids have," I remember thinking, "this is what they've got in Westchester County and Connecticut." Just last fall when
    I learned about Earl Shorris's humanities program, I realized that decades ago I must have had the same feelin as
    his students

    So --in the very limited domain of the idiot box, yes the culture has definitely deteriorated.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 03-22-2011 at 05:55 PM.

  10. #85
    www.markbastable.co.uk MarkBastable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,447
    The two most popular free-to-air TV shows in the UK in the last year I paid attention (2009, I think) were Big Brother and the BBC's dramatisation of Bleak House - all ten hours of it. The figures suggest that the audiences overlapped by a high percentage. The Proms at the Albert Hall are screened every year, and get huge ratings.

    Ordinary people like loads of stuff. The audience's tastes are less stereotypically predictable than marketing strategists would have us believe.
    Last edited by MarkBastable; 03-22-2011 at 06:27 PM.

  11. #86
    www.markbastable.co.uk MarkBastable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,447
    .....

  12. #87
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBastable View Post
    The two most popular free-to-air TV shows in the UK in the last year I paid attention (2009, I think) were Big Brother and the BBC's dramatisation of Bleak House - all ten hours of it. The figures suggest that the audiences overlapped by a high percentage. The Proms at the Albert Hall are screened every year, and get huge ratings.

    Ordinary people like loads of stuff. The audience's tastes are less stereotypically predictable than marketing strategists would have us believe.
    Interesting. Could you provide the overlap figures that suggest a high percentage of Big Brother's audience also watched the ten episodes of Bleak House ? I am also one of those who occasionally watch the Promenade concerts, but I would be interested to see the figures for those particular audiences, throughout the whole of the season and not just the razzmatazz of the last night, compared to those of, say, X Factor or any of the mass audience programmes that habitually occupy television screens today.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  13. #88
    www.markbastable.co.uk MarkBastable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,447
    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    Interesting. Could you provide the overlap figures that suggest a high percentage of Big Brother's audience also watched the ten episodes of Bleak House ?
    That'd be statistics. You wouldn't want that, except to dismiss them.

  14. #89
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,294
    I really hoped that you would say "I will ask my father."

    Anyways, could you provice the anedoctal evidence anyways? Give Emil some credit (or rope), plus it is interesting data. (Even if irrelevant, Dickens was accused as one of the motors behind the decline of higher literature, in his books there is not much aristocracy and many boys out of school, so Bleak House is obviously ready for trashcan).

  15. #90
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBastable View Post
    That'd be statistics. You wouldn't want that, except to dismiss them.
    Agreed, but I was more interested in the word 'suggest' than the figures themselves.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

Similar Threads

  1. Racism
    By ImaginaryFriend in forum Serious Discussions
    Replies: 232
    Last Post: 07-30-2012, 02:31 PM
  2. Ready
    By Jerrybaldy in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-30-2010, 05:21 PM
  3. Humans seek to transcend nature via culture
    By coberst in forum Philosophical Literature
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-03-2010, 06:51 PM
  4. Yellow on the Outside, Shame on the Inside: Asian Culture Revealed
    By scarlettpikachu in forum Write a Book Review
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-11-2009, 11:35 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •