Talk: ‘High & Low’ as a Political Tool
Track: Lifecycles of a Cultural Distinction
Date: Day 1 – 12:30
Location: Neufert-Mansion, Gelmeroda
“Why is popular culture so contrived, plastic, empty, meaningless, grotesque and incredibly retarded?” asks Paul Joseph Watson, member of the alt-right movement, in a video on his YouTube channel. Oftentimes, debates on the right about cultural identity and ‘Leitkultur‘ glorify high culture. Thereby the new right joins the tradition of the educated middle classes criticizing commercialized popular culture and its cultural-industrial technologies of production. At the same time, they voice resentment against contemporary art, dismissing it as mainstream, and produce themselves as the only countercultural movement still existing. Thus, the cultural discourse on high & low is being instrumentalized for the political one, and a renewed demarcation of the boundaries between a ‘high’ culture – more worthy – and a ‘low’ culture – less worthy – is being called for.