In my continuing quest to put together a grand unified theory of everything, I was reading part of the introductory essay in Robert Hughes’ Nothing if Not Critical, The Decline of the City of Mahagonny. Here, he talking about the nefarious influence of mass media (on humans) and you can easily extrapolate this onto our difficulties in moving past now-obsolete notions of growth and expansion. To wit:
This has not been a matter of choice, let alone fault. The power of television goes beyond anything the fine arts have ever wanted or achieved. Nothing like this Niagara of visual gabble had even been imagined a hundred years ago. American network television drains the world of meaning; it makes reality dull, slow and avoidable. It is our “floating world.” It tends to abort the imagination by leaving kids nothing to imagine: every hero and demon is there, raucously explicit, precut – a world of stereotypes, too authoritative for imagination to develop or change. No wonder it has predisposed American artists toward similar stereotypes. It is stupidly compelling, in a way that painting and sculpture, even in their worst moments of propaganda or sentimentality, are not.
Always difficult to figure out what’s wrong with one thing without stumbling onto what’s wrong with another.