Friday, July 14, 2006

Kulturpunkt: "My Super Sweet 16"

My first utterance upon finally seeing this show was: "There is no God." Several highballs later, and my faith was restored. My psyche, on the other hand, remains shaken to this day.

The premise of the execrable show is that rich kids get obscene sixteenth-birthday parties. Now, these parties are not what I would consider either luxurious or decadent. A quiet dinner with friends, consisting of Kobe Wagyu beef steaks (medium) and Champagne Laurent-Perrier, followed by a night at the symphony (preferably Mahler)? That's luxurious. Plates of roasts and sweetmeats ported in by eunuchs, while dancers feed me and my guests grapes, followed by a feast accompanied - intermittently - by my improvisations upon the lyre? That's decadent. These parties? They're just gross.

It's everything horrible about today's culture rolled into one unholy burrito of excess. There are children who do not know their place. There are parents overindulgent to the point of abusive. There are friends who egg the little monsters into greater and greater obscenities. In other words, pace Forster, this show is a land where angels fear to tread. Instead of a birthday party, these little beasts should be taken to the town square and beaten with reeds as Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli is sung by an all-male choir.

I am sure that it will be said that I am merely jealous of these little plutocrats, as I never had a birthday like this. Well, I voluntarily stopped having birthday parties at the age of ten or so, opting - instead - for some shopping and dinner with family at my favorite steakhouse. That tradition has continued, with some variation, ever since. No, my problem with these kiddies is that they are providing fodder for the media machine that is destroying Kultur. These programs teach children that money is king, consumerism is queen, and you should always get what you want. Especially if you want something big and flashy, like a Mercedes-Benz convertible. Hogwash!

Tonight, at Borders, I bought the reissue of Palestrina's Missa Benedicta es, for ten dollars. This CD is culture at its highest: beautiful, transformative, and ennobling. For ten dollars. There is a world of art, literature, and music that is available cheaply and readily. Children should be encouraged toward that end. The Western cultural patrimony is so massive and important that to leave it be is a crime against humanity. Children should be made to desire that. Not this blind, grotesque consumerism. It's really better suited to Eurotrash heirs and Middle Eastern oil princes. Not to put too fine a point on it, or anything.


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