13 Crabapples for Calling Culture Culture

Yesterday, I was sitting around a lunch table (can I call it a lunch table if it isn't formica nor smeared with PB&J?) with a bunch of high-powered people at a work function. The conversation, which was as contrived as the wine-shitake sauce that reigned the room, turned to "culture" at one (quite pointy) point.

And I quote:

Lady: "Culture is really going down the tubes."

Other Lady: "It sure is. Devastating" [shakes head downwards like she has just seen a man in a suit butt-fucking his dog]

Man: "It's this upcoming generation. Really changing culture for ill."

Other Lady: "For example, my son thinks it's okay to say the word sucks. To me, that is still a bad word."

Hooooooooold it, sistahs and hotboyz. For the record, this "culture" animal of which you speak: is not a singular thing, is not an object that you can pick up and judge like a balled-up sock or a pear. Culture is always relative, always arbitrary, always composed of such a web of dangling signifiers, misplaced modifiers, and volatile meaning-makers that it can never be tested holistically and concretely by any method-- no matter how epistemically sound. Also, it is always already affected righthererightnow by you, Other Lady; you are not immune because you have on ugly pearls and a suit jacket that is the pukiest shade of puse ever. We can do our darndest to judge culture in pieces, and I do so lamely and futilely to help me sleep at night, but I would never attest that I can in any sense make a conclusion. That's plain silly. And, despite my messy use of anaphora and my stuffy assertion of the future anterior tense, no literary device or turn of phrase can ever unravel this inherently inextricable batter of signification into a clean pattern that we can resolutely name "culture." Can you take the flour out of the cookie dough? Hells no. And why would you want to? It tastes so fricking good. [I urge you to stop me before I get into the chicken and the egg metaphors.]

I can't do it just as much as you can't, Other Lady; the difference is that I admit it.

Why? Because you suck.

13 crabapples for shoving culture in a pet carrier.


Blogger kate.d. said...

i refer you to everyone's favorite patriarchy-blamer, twisty, for a concise and curse-word filled diatribe on exactly this issue:


love her.

12:13 PM  
Blogger kate.d. said...

i don't know how to make that a link within comments...if anyone knows how, tell me :)

12:14 PM  

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