Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this set piece from The Nation:
Why are we so lame? Why is American culture, and the American intelligentsia in particular, so closed off from what's happening in the rest of the world? Why do we still need Paris to tell us what's going on (if we still even listen to it)? If anything, the situation is more dire than it used to be, when instability or repression in Europe supplied us with a steady stream of emigres who acted as a bridge back to their former world. Susan Sontag used to play a similar role, but she no longer does, and no one's taken her place. The more we impose our image on the world, it seems, the more foreign the world becomes.
That's the conclusion of a review by William Deresiewicz of Pascale Casanova's The World Republic of Letters which–surprisingly for a French book–posits Paris as the cultural capital of the galaxy. Whole thing here.
Look, we all know the week between Christmas and New Year's is a time for mailing it in, but do we really need yet another piece from leftoid (or rightoid, for that matter) critics lambasting Amurricans for being insular, stupid, boorish, blah blah blah? This is literally the oldest goddamned theme in elite American discourse (dating back to ye olde colonial tymes) and it's about time that what Charles Paul Freund memorably called "the high culture sputter" finally be retired.
For more on globo-culture and America's role, check out this interview we did with Tyler Cowen.