Episode 442: Staying Classy with the Classics

February 17, 2016

Episode442

Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

What qualifies as a classic? Will anything from modern day be considered a classic in the future?

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2 comments on “Episode 442: Staying Classy with the Classics

  1. Ben, I enjoyed this episode and agreed with the main tack of your points about classic works. However, I don’t agree that literature written for a commercial audience is especially vulgar or pandering. Fortunately, I don’t have to defend my position; it has already been defended exhaustively by Paul Cantor at the von Mises Institute (a libertarian think tank). You can watch it on Youtube or get the audio from the Institute’s website.

    No words of praise are too extravagantly exalted for these lectures. No doubt the von Mises institute would force everyone on earth to hear it at gunpoint … were they not libertarians. Cantor’s knowledge of culture is vast and he makes his points convincingly and entertainingly. (His introduction to Grand Theft Auto is hilarious; his predictions regarding the coming “Shakespeare of video games blew my mind.)

    Cantor’s basic point is that genius is unpredictable and that each kind of financial support for the arts (wealthy patrons, government subsidy, paying customers) has equal share of brilliant successes and embarrassing failures. Or, most succinctly: Shakespeare was a commercial artist!

    (Love the show, by the way. That goes for my teen son as well as me.)

  2. I’d also like to say I’d prefer people reviewing the classics give them ratings that reflect their own personal experiences. I don’t see the point of everyone giving five stars to, oh, say, Crime and Punishment (to pick an example purely at random). It’s likely going to get 4.8 stars anyway, and reading the 3 or 2 star reviews can be quite enlightening (and, let’s be honest: the 1 star reviews are deeply amusing). If everyone gives it 5 stars you can’t sort the negative reviews very easily.

    Give in to the dark side, Ben: two stars for Crime and Punishment!

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