Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


2005: The Year in Culture
January 7, 2006 10:05 AM   Subscribe

The Year in Culture: a different kind of 2005 roundup—influentials are asked to mention significant cultural points of the year. Hitchens on intelligent design ruling: "Just for once…one can hear the lucid tones of reason, detachment, culture, and irony"; Gladwell on the Streets: "the British take an African-American musical form and wonderfully reinvent it" (again); others muse about rare high points in South Park, or of Brokeback Mountain and the future of movies, or the Rove-esqueness of Cindy Sheehan, et cetera.
posted by Firas (17 comments total)

 
What a great roundup! And what a great idea. Would love to see this return annually, even be expanded.

This year, I really found myself wishing for something more on this note from my favorite media sources. I respect the NYTMag's attempt to mark the passage of important people with their "year in obituaries" thing, but to me, this is a much more effective way to look back at a year than to scrub up some already-written obits of a conglomeration of random people who happened to die within the same year.

Sorry I'm ignorant, but these Streets, they are some kind of British band? Can anyone enlighten me?

I also love Judy Rosen's entry.
posted by Miko at 10:13 AM on January 7, 2006


Also, having the signal for "we haven't made a decision yet" being the same as "the room is on fire" may not be the best way to communicate information.

...that's the funniest thing I've read in 3.25 years.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:13 AM on January 7, 2006


The Streets

(not very 2005)
posted by mr.marx at 11:06 AM on January 7, 2006


Miko: yeah! It's definitely a remarkable piece, especially considering that its genesis is basically 'write a few sentences about something current that you find interesting'. I could totally go for a little annual booklet that asked a handful of luminaries from each country to write a couple paragraphs in that style—it's interesting to dig through for recommendations on what to watch/hear/read next. Also, as a media source, Slate.com rocks in many ways in their writeups about music, movies, tv, politics and general culture.

thanotopsis: now that's some accurate record-keeping. Pray tell, what did you come across 31/4 years ago?
posted by Firas at 11:31 AM on January 7, 2006


Oh my. For the second time in 30 years, the British take an African-American musical form and wonderfully reinvent it.

So was it the whole dance music scene of the late 80's and early 90's that completely passed him by, or is he just too young for the sixties beat boom?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:35 AM on January 7, 2006


I was surprised to discover that Gladwell -- an author I've always liked -- is such a lam3r.
posted by matteo at 11:51 AM on January 7, 2006


and, what mr. marx said.
posted by matteo at 11:53 AM on January 7, 2006


a good roundup, but skimpy. I'd love to see what people not in cultural or literary fields were struck by too.
posted by amberglow at 11:56 AM on January 7, 2006


Neil Labute is the writer and director for the remake of The Wicker Man??

Okay, now my new year is ruined.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:43 PM on January 7, 2006


Why is the explosion of faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster not listed?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:40 PM on January 7, 2006


Nothing that remarkable in the piece - but maybe i'm a little jaundiced from all the other end-of-year write ups. And I wouldn't describe any of the pundits as influentials.
posted by the cuban at 1:57 PM on January 7, 2006


Malcolm Gladwell - has it come to this? I bet he will look back on that comment in a year's time and be embarrassed.
posted by greycap at 3:14 PM on January 7, 2006


YOU FOOL, GLADWELL!! YOU'VE JUMPED THE SHARK! THE FRAGILE SURFACE TENSION OF INDIE RESPECTABILITY HAS BEEN PUNCTURED AND YOU WILL SINK LIKE A FUCKING STONE! THERE'S NO WAY TO SAVE YOUR CAREER NOW; GO BACK TO CANADA.
posted by Tlogmer at 5:19 PM on January 7, 2006


The Streets really are corny, though.
posted by Tlogmer at 5:19 PM on January 7, 2006


For the second time in 30 years, the British take an African-American musical form and wonderfully reinvent it make it appealing to white people.

So was it the whole dance music scene of the late 80's and early 90's that completely passed him by

Yes, it would appear that way.

And that Bob Dylan documentary (mentioned by Judd Apatow) certain rocked my world this year, and I don't even really like Bob Dylan.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:59 AM on January 8, 2006


For the second time in 30 years, the British take an African-American musical form and wonderfully reinvent it make it appealing to white people.

The second time? I think this is about all the British music scene has ever done; or at least, since the days of Tin Pan Alley, swing, early rock'n'roll, white blues and skiffle.

I was surprised to discover that Gladwell -- an author I've always liked -- is such a lam3r.


After reading The Tipping Point, my estimation of Gladwell dropped quite a bit. He's not an intellectual great. He's an excellent reporter, and I still love his stories, but his skills lie in exploring concepts specific to a field, extracting the most significant meaning from those concepts, and organizing them in a way that's interesting to a layperson. But I was kind of appalled at his attempts to actually theorize -- they were pretty darn thin. So I think he's a great, smart, perceptive reporter, but not necessarily any sort of genius or taste guru.
posted by Miko at 9:17 AM on January 8, 2006


I think Gladwell is basically a great storyteller. Only he tells stories about fact—little doses of learning mixed within the framework of a tale. It's a gripping way to write (off-hand, I think Paul Graham uses mostly the same approach), but it's a style easy copied. Currently he's trying to be a bit of a media whore—slip in a quote wherever he can—but as a pop sci/casual nonfiction writer (ie. a pundit) that's his job, I guess.
posted by Firas at 6:58 PM on January 8, 2006


« Older Cooking Behind Bars....  |  Fsaturday Flash Fun: CryptoQu... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments