The broken culture

Critics are used to playing Cassandra – lamenting the fallen state of the world and prophesying its woeful future, all while giving you the latest news on gross-out comedies, reality television or the state of young adult fiction. As such, you can be forgiven if the latest prediction of cultural calamity strikes you as more than one too many, inspiring more yawning than hand-wringing.

That’s my usual reaction, but something about “The Year the Culture Broke,” an article by movie critic Armond White that ran in an August issue of the National Review, made me stop and consider if he had a point. Especially since, on reflection, I can’t deny that while taking on the role of cultural critic for the run of the decade White talks about in his piece, I have never felt more disconnected from that culture, not even during a rather stridently rebellious youth.