What IS Cultural Criticism?
: A tool for interpreting, analyzing and commenting upon the qualities of humane or inhumane values and origins of any Cultural Artifact; whether political ideology as a system of values deriving from the social milieu of any given historical and intellectual tradition, iconic assumptions of Truth derived from any given spiritual tradition, or the postulates underlying scientific methods or speculation that go to inform working Paradigms and the practical applications to society these entail.
Taken together, Cultural Criticism is an intellectual and moral discipline applied to the analysis of Values as exemplified in any society, with a careful unpacking of what may be referred to as the First Principles underlying any Cultural Artifact and the consequences to the evolution of society at present, and throughout human history, available for such scrutiny, among them the anecdotal evidence that the current day news cycle puts forward as important to that society (which is supremely telling of the sanctioned values that society harbors principally as its own fixation).
Certainly, the readiest examples of such Cultural Artifacts can be had from the way in which a society presents to itself the important issues of the day sanctioned by major media outlets, and all those orbiting satellites of the same posing across the information highway of the World Wide Web their own brand of emphasis on these, or ostensibly tangential Other news topics capturing the public’s interest, or even informing the same. It’s often a tricky piece of speculation to separate the two, some arguing with convincing critique how official culture (which we may call: Ideational Iconography) actually manufactures the public interest to ends which serve ensconced and privileged and powerful, i.e., influential, groups within a given society. There’s good reason to believe that there is truth to this assertion, and it would be one of several very important objects and goals of the discipline of Cultural Criticism to investigate this distinctly important dynamic, where the evidence permits.
Not unlike Literary Criticism, Cultural Criticism would maintain a number of ‘schools’ having as their impetus differing ends to their critiques, choosing one or another Artifact as better suited to unpack the underlying ideological assumptions or values at work informing the given evidence (artifact), here specifically given as a verbal construction complying more or less with the rules of grammar under the aegis of whatever language tradition and their expressed, logical coherence, whether cerebral or emotional, intellectual or affectual, objective or subjective, constituting links in the train of thought being propounded.
The reader will notice here that we have come face-to-face with an important and profound conundrum that will likely serve as a perpetual proving ground of contest in the scientific community, and which will be fundamental in the future and inevitable redefinition of science itself, as to its modern conceits of epistemological veracity. It’s an almost certain expectation that what one generation considers to be the objective and empirical parameters of knowledge will become in the next an evident and proven misconception, if not child-like and misbegotten obsession with a too limited scope of demonstrable facts, albeit often yet unprovided by the dominant paradigm of the hour. Intellectual history and the philosophy of science is littered with just such abandoned and discredited paradigmatic failures, and it would be naive to believe that some important ones of our own will not most certainly enjoy the exact fate.
Cultural Criticism as here practiced participates in the methods and goals of associated academic schools and is positioned to become perhaps the chiefest of examples for cross disciplinary studies as yet not fully imagined. It shall remain the focal point and lodestone of our efforts here as we continue to explore the many applications of this evolving discipline the weeks and months ahead, asking the many probing questions at first that will remain the directed goal of Cultural Criticism to answer in the last. It is our fondest hope to thereby lay the stage for that very community of interests who share our vision of a world and a society capable of interacting with the driving and emerging demands of Modern Civilization that enhance or degrades our capacity for survival into the next century. A dubious prospect, indeed.
For the purposes of illustrating what we perceive to be the power and influence of this ‘community’, as a linchpin to answering these pressing demands, we chose to dub them our “Commentariate,” from whom we shall carefully expect the level of wisdom commensurate to our species adaptation and viability going forward, and upon whom so much truly depends. May the spirit of their cooperation prove the means of Humanity’s long sought panacea.
Until next time, we salute our interested readers with the warmest: Fare well.