Cultural Omnivore: Endangered Species?

18 Mar

Do you like television?  How about the ballet?  When was the last time you were at the Kennedy Center?  Played the Wii? NPR has a great piece out about the sorts of people who enjoy all those things: the cultural omnivore.  But, it seems that the cultural omnivore is in decline — perhaps the result of a cultural wedge being re-inserted into our society.

Normally I’d say you should read this article, but after reading it, I suppose I should say I loved reading this article.  Here’s an excerpt I found particularly interesting:

Omnivores thrive in an environment in which, if you are defined by your cultural interests, you at least don’t have to be defined by any one cultural interest. Tolerating the ideas that classical music can be viscerally stirring and that Survivor can be sociologically interesting allows much better balance — which benefits everyone — than an escalating and unnatural war between fun and art. Fun and art are natural allies (despite often appearing separately), and forcing them to do battle just divides us into tinier and tinier camps, where we can only talk to people who like precisely the same kinds of culture that we do. That benefits absolutely nobody — not artists, not audiences, and not the quality of discourse.

You can read it in full here.

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One Response to “Cultural Omnivore: Endangered Species?”

  1. catherine March 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    geez, i thought everyone was a cultural omnivore at heart! i for one only like very bad and very good things – it’s a mediocre cultural product that really offends.

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