Taste died a long time ago. Pretension, though, is still alive and well. Intercontinental cultural integration has not fostered understanding so much as it has borne a new global standard for superficiality and ignorance. We’re decades removed from the age of discernment, from the time when millionaires could tell the difference between resplendent villas and tactless, derivative mansions.
As taste has faded, the refinement that used to characterize those who possessed it has been hijacked and lost by a socialite generation that can no longer discriminate between genuine and false quantities. Woe is upon us—and we don’t even know it. Our consumption is routed along a vapid trail of poor choices and terrible taste. One can no longer, as one of my professors said, pick up a carton of milk in Williamsburgh without putting on eye shadow.
The sum of our poorly-chosen parts? The HBO series roster—Entourage, The Sopranos, Curb, Rome—has joined pizza and sex on the list of things that are always “awesome, bro” the morning after. Emo kids are more pretentious that jazz fans, and a hip-hop has-been who wears a clock for jewelry is more closely followed than the scientists who keep telling us that the world is melting.
Just a short time ago, Western culture was film noir, existentialism, sports gods, and electronic classical music. Now, anyone with a camcorder and gun ownership statistics is the new cinematic Jesus, no one can even spell existentialism, and the world is obsessed with demonizing Barry Bonds. The only vestige of true culture is electronic music, but word has it MTV is catching on to the trend. In other words, it’s only a matter of time before that last sacred remnant of a better time is defiled.
I say we all get the hell out while we can. Move to Israel, land of spirituality and heritage. Move to Canada, land of decriminalized marijuana and Willy the Barber. Move to the Nordic countries, lands of social democracy and low population densities. Move to New Zealand, land of 99% literacy and 118 airports (and chronic methamphetamine abuse. Check out https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/nz.html). Just do yourself a favor and move to any country where Paris Hilton doesn’t live.
Stay Stimulated, New Zealand