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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great Audiences + Great Poetry = Great Culture

To have great poets, there must be great audiences ~ Walt Whitman

Okay,  doesn't this quote by Uncle Walt seem to make perfect sense? Doesn't it seem like one of our most important cultural endeavors --to become an active participant in "The Great Audience" of our time?

And don't we, as a participant in this making of culture, "vote" every day on how that culture gets created and how it grows--by what films, plays, concerts, readings we attend or don't attend. By what music and books we purchase or don't. By what educational classes we take or, in some case, what courses we teach. Or don't.  By what websites we visit and by what social media we use? Or don't.

And isn't it all kind of obvious?

The vibrancy of our culture is determined by us.

Does that mean then, that we--as the makers of culture--as "Cultural Citizens,"  if you will--have a lot more power than we realize?  And, if so, does that mean we have a cultural responsibility as well?


Odelette K. said...

That's very interesting because a lot of media mogul-types would argue that they are deciding for us--that (much like politics?) we consistently choose the aspects of art and culture that are most hyped because they have the highest financial investment by people who have the means to control the culture. Those folks likely have different motives--some just want to make money while others want people to think or feel certain things--but we definitely have pressure on us to participate only in certain forms of culture that are, as it were, "approved."

So possibly the most radical and subversive thing we can do is read/view/listen to and promote an artist who isn't part of that machine, yes?

Lois Roma-Deeley said...

Reading poetry = Cultural Game Changer