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Thoughts on Jacques Barzun - From Dawn to Decadence.

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posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 11:06 AM
Although in reference to Europe in the 15th century, this could well be said about South Africa in 2019:

When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. The term is not a slur; it is a technical label. A decadent culture offers opportunities chiefly to the satirist, and the turn of the 15C had a good many ...

(Quoted from Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 To the present. 500 Years of Western cultural life. HarperCollins Publishers: 2001, page 11.)

On Jacques Barzun and this book (which was published when Barzun was 93 - he died aged 104 in 2012):

Darn, I guess he beat the current constantly outraged Leftist lynch-mob, and their penchant for eventually cannibalizing their own online in his dust. What a lucky intellectual!
Just in time to publish a work for a new era without having his reputation torn to shreds by a bunch of self-defeating "social justice warriors" and vindictive, misandrist and albophobic, snot-nosed trolls posing as "revolutionaries".

Of course I mention South Africa here because that's my cultural milieu, but it could well apply to many other countries with Western cultural ties and roots.

Although I've done spot-readings of his aforementioned tome in the past, I've started to read it from start to finish, and I hope to add to this thread as more issues become relevant to our current culture wars.

What strikes me so far is how old an occidental yearning for "primitivism" is (and yes, this yearning hardly occurs outside the occidental sphere of influence), juxtaposed with ironically wanting all the advancements of modernism.
While Barzun certainly discusses "primitivism" as a driving force in occidental culture (or even anti-culture, or counter-cultural aspects of dominant "culture") the current contextualization and phraseology is my own interpretation.

Anyway, a highly recommended book.
edit on 19-1-2019 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 11:34 AM
At the time of the death of the author (2012) or when the book was first published (2000) things were not yet as needlessly polemical, over-sensitive and vicious.

But I think he foretells it in places, and if published today, I can well imagine some trolls would have found it offensive, and he would have been stripped of his reputation.

Would Barzun have been de-platformed for speaking engagements from campuses at least due to some imagined slur? I have an inkling he would have been. I mean nowadays simply by the dint of being white and male you must be doing something mentally nefarious. A "social justice warrior" or "Twitter archeologist" must just get motivated enough to find it. And like all good inquisitions you're found guilty from the point of accusation. That's how fast the academic bastions of Leftism and so-called "free-speech" have descended into outright fascism.
edit on 19-1-2019 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 12:17 PM
In the meantime, it's best to stay apart from that, get the popcorn and gradually watch them devour each other, as identity politics become tighter and more ridiculous each day (while also becoming obscenely more biased each day).

Maybe those with true academic and media interests will one day rebuild the ruins that the current intellectual establishment left behind.
edit on 19-1-2019 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 01:13 PM
Just a footnote: I did first write snippets of this on my Facebook account, while testing the waters for what is sustainable as a thread, or "thread-worthy" on ATS.

Entertaining or testing a lot of ideas doesn't always suit ATS, and especially in the more serious forums it may disrupt the thread-flow.
So I work from a template, especially with more intellectual threads.

Just saying, in case anybody Googles it, and gets it twice that was both me, and my own work.
Except where quotes are indicated, I can't really plagiarize myself.
And short of spelling it out, all the keyboard wizards and mods on ATS can see exactly who I am, and that I am the author.

I also understand that if ever published I will recognize any Internet platform (including, and especially my dear ATS) as part owners of such material.

Just something that worried me for a while, because I tend to toggle between two sites, but I'm not committing plagiarism - I'm the same original author. Yeah, and you'll find the same pics too (I made sure I'm recognizable - there's method to the madness).

It should all go without saying - but, I'm just foretelling the day some "Twitter archeologist" turns his attention to me and claims, but Halfoldman stole half of what he wrote from some dude on Facebook.
Yeah, and that dude is me.
Very easy to prove.
edit on 19-1-2019 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

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