I read in this piece today that Argentine philosopher José Pablo Feinmann plans to return the award given to him by the city of Buenos Aires, the ‘Distinguished Personality of Culture’ award, because the city has recently given the same award to Marcelo Tinelli. For those who don’t know, Tinelli is a highly successful TV personality and celebrity figure in Argentina, very rich and very famous from his decades in shows and program production based around a popular entertainment format that these days includes dance reality shows as well as the typical false polemics, gossip and simplified sktech type humour of the genre. For those who do know Tinelli (and Feinmann) it won’t come as much surprise to hear Feinmann’s complaints that Tinelli produces rubbish for the masses in order to idiotize society and that he doesn’t want to be thought of in the same room as him.
OK, fair enough, background over but the piece really got me thinking about the word ‘culture’, its origins and development and what we the 21st century human understands by the term because my natural reaction was to side with Feinmann, but it got me wondering just what culture is…and why we automatically assume it to be high-falutin’ brainwork rather than the type of facile entertainment that Tinelli and his ilk produce. Which is where Wiki comes in because the days when you’d look up things on Wikipedia and not tell anyone your reference for fear of ridicule are long over. My how Wiki’s grown up and if you don’t believe me, take a look at the superlative discourse it gives on the word culture, right here. It’s seriously the best thing I’ve read all week.