Draining beauty from art

Recent public debates about “cultural appropriation” are the latest signs that your favorite superhero franchise or cable miniseries might feel pressure to assert the identity of the porous and inessential addicted subject, and address its various and sundry political virtues.

The near-complete banishment of middlebrow culture from bookshelves, stages and screens, large and small, has created a vast chasm between low and high culture, but that gulf is being earnestly bridged. Rest assured that anyone who seriously contemplates the revolutionary potential of twerking to overthrow racial and heteronormative oppression won’t rest until the struggle has been carried to talk shows, cooking programs, children’s cartoons, zombie dramas, and the Marvel Universe.

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