The Sunday Times is a huge British newspaper that is published every Sunday (obviously) and takes approximately a month to read. You need to have worked out at the gym for months to be able to carry the bloody thing home.
And when you get home you open it up and it consists of section upon section of news, business, sport, money, fashion and many other subjects.
One of those magazines is a newspaper in its own right called “Culture”.
I always try to read this magazine – mainly because it has details of what is on TV over the coming week. However, there is a lot more to it than just TV listings.
The “Culture” magazine has articles on the latest books, music, movies, art, ballet, opera – you name it, “Culture” probably covers it.
Nevertheless, the subjects are genuinely more high-brow – or “cultured” if you like.
Take the movie reviews, for example. You may have read my last post about movies, in which I sang the praises of superhero films, comedy films and action thrillers. Such movies barely get a mention in the Sunday Times; the reviewers opt to cover more cultured movies – for example Lincoln, a film I absolutely slated in my previous post.
And this leads me to ask the question – am I cultured? Or am I just a boorish philistine with shallow views who scoffs at profound and deep meaning in books, music and entertainment in general.
You might agree, if you are a regular reader. I have insulted opera, Shakespeare and modern art in this blog and I can imagine that a “cultured” individual, who loves opera and cries whenever he sees a rousing Shakespearean speech while appreciating a vomit stain on the walls of the Tate Gallery, might roll his eyes, shake his head and dismiss my, in his eyes, shallow views on such erudite art forms.
As far as films are concerned, I know what I like and to be honest I don’t really care whether people think I am a philistine for preferring movies that don’t bore me to sleep.
The same goes for books and music. Many years ago I was intrigued by the fact that Salman Rushdie had had to go into hiding because of a book he wrote. Somebody offered me the chance to read one of his novels, some years after that. It wasn’t The Satanic Verses, the book that got him into so much trouble. I can’t recall which one it was – I think I have blocked it from my memory.
Why? Because it was awful.
Now I am sure that people regard the books of Mr Rushdie as cultured but I hated my one and only foray into his imagination. The same can be said about other books that are meant to be magnificent works of art and “must reads”. I have tried a few and been completely bored with them.
Does this mean I am a philistine? Does the fact that I would rather read a Stephen King novel make me an uncultured barbarian when it comes to literary (so-called) masterpieces?
As regular readers know, I despise and detest contemporary art and the insipid pseudo-intellectual arguments like “it is breaking new ground” or “it’s not been done before” to justify an absolutely horrific load of shit masquerading as art hanging on the walls of a modern art museum. So-called cultured people fawn over these pieces of excrement describing them in the most colourful words and phrases that in reality mean absolutely nothing.
The fact that I do not believe the words they are using to try to describe what the artist was trying to achieve makes me, in their eyes, an uncivilized savage compared to them.
And what about music?
Such people love the fact that I listen to rock music and sing its praises because it confirms my standing as an uncouth monster that lacks any intelligence or taste.
Except I don’t lack intelligence at all and I love to prove this to pseudo-intellectuals whenever I get the opportunity.
In my view, progressive rock is the new classical music. Such music is technically brilliant and comes from the minds of geniuses. The instrumentation is perfect and the songs are mini symphonies. Take another genre I am currently enthralled by: symphonic rock. Artists such as Nightwish prove that orchestral music and heavy metal can be made to complement each other.
Here is an example which proves that what is essentially a heavy metal band can produce a wide range of musical styles, in this case an instrumental orchestral piece. Even if you hate heavy metal please press play – because this will surprise you and hopefully amaze you:
So am I cultured?
If being cultured means being a pseudo-intellectual making up bullshit about a pile of bricks in the middle of a room – then no!
If being cultured means buying and reading a book by an author who is vastly overrated and only gets reviews in the Sunday Times – then no!
If being cultured means pretending that I like a film like Lincoln because it won Oscars – then no!
If being cultured means not buying the music I love because “heavy metal” is the music of thugs and savages – then no!
If being cultured means raving about Shakespearean actors performing Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon – then no!
If being cultured means sipping an expensive wine instead of my favourite pint of bitter – then no!
I hate modern art; I prefer Stephen King novels to boring Sunday Times bestsellers; I love my no-brainer action movies and not boring Oscar winning nonsense; I buy the music I love whether it be heavy metal, pop music, progressive rock or classical symphonies;
And Shakespeare is STILL rubbish!
I personally think that culture is an individual quality. If you are happy with your opera, Shakespeare, Rushdie or even framed vomit-stains on a wall in a museum full of junk masquerading as art – then that’s fine by me. Just as long as you don't pretend to love them just to appear cultured.
I regard myself as cultured – and you are too (unless you are a pseudo-intellectual in which case you are a pretentious arse).
Do you agree, dear reader?
Do you think I cultured or am I a philistine?
Do you think you are cultured?
If not, why not?