There's no doubt that we're going through a dark age-- not just politically, but culturally and artistically. The general population-- the bulk of the audience-- seems not only to be satisfied with mediocrity but to defend it as if they have a stake in it. This sort of thing is cyclical-- innovation followed by stagnation. However, I think that the opportunities afforded by the Internet and other modern technologies are ultimately the antidote to this. I know a bunch of independent creators and their works satisfy me and entertain me far more than most corporate product. After all, why is most modern entertainment so bad? Because it was chosen for you by some guy in a suit based on how many billions of dollars it will make for his company-- it was chosen to appeal to the lowest denominator. Now that truly sincere artists, writers, poets, musicians, moviemakers et cetera have the opportunity to share their work, the culture will slowly evolve away from the corporate model. Or so one hopes.
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I can see your point, of course, J. Generation gaps and all that. Thanks for your input, J.! And your right, describing culture is like Seven Blind Men and the Elephant.