I was reading a little discussion of Christian support of arts and culture (or lack of said support) over at jon's blog, and it got me thinking about a couple of things I saw this past week. I was in Vienna from Sunday night til Wednesday morning. Quite a lovely city, and one where you can walk anywhere, and anywhere is worth walking to--I didn't find any "bad" neighborhoods in my constant wanderings. Anyhow, at one point I remember suggesting to one of my companions that I'd heard about a cool concert that would cost about eighteen bucks to get into. She said for that price she'd rather get a CD she could listen to over and over. I don't say that to embarass her, but rather to point it out as an example of how american typically view culture these days, i.e. something that can occur in the privacy of one's home.
To continue with the narrative, though I never did figure out where that particular concert was being held, we did attend the Vienna summer film festival showing on Tuesday night. That particular night was a concert from St Petersberg from a few years ago. There were probably a thousand people there watching classical music on a giant screen, not counting those who just came for the food and beer. I was trying to imagine how such an event would go over in the US. First of all, they wouldn't serve beer at a state sponsored event. Second, they wouldn't dare attempt to show something with such limited appeal as classical music. Third, people would be asking if they could get a live webcast they could watch at home.
I think perhaps we have become so enamored with our technologies that we are willing to substitute iamges for the real thing. We can control when and where and with whom, if anyone, we play our CD's and our DVD's. Thus we don't need public culture. And thus our souls grow smaller and our recliners grow bigger. Thus we don't need to learn to make music. We can simply push a button and hear the finest musicians in the world.
It's my website and I'll rant if I want to.