It used to be, you'd go to a museum and see culture's great achievements – unforgettable paintings and priceless artifacts. These days, you'll also find video art and exhibitions on – fashion designers. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the collapse of high culture. Also, the king of kitsch, Liberace.
John Seabrook is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and author of "Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture." He tells Steve Paulson that today's popular culture is much more eclectic than the old split between highbrow and lowbrow which was really the Americanized version of the European class system. Also, cultural correspondent Doug Gordon weighs in on the question of highbrow/lowbrow/nobrow culture.SEGMENT 2:
Darden Asbury Pyron is the author of "Liberace: An American Boy." He tells Jim Fleming that Liberace was a serious musician who enjoyed the extravagance and theatricality of his performances. He charmed his middle-class, mainstream audiences despite his camp persona and none-too-closeted homosexual lifestyle. And we hear excerpts from Liberace's shows and recordings.SEGMENT 3:
Jacques Barzun's latest book is the surprise best-seller "From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life." He tells Steve Paulson that Western culture is waning, as all great civilizations eventually do, and that he'd have been happy living between 1830 and 1900. Also, Greg Nagan, author of "The 5-Minute Iliad and Other Classics," reads excerpts of his versions of the great books and tells Jim Fleming how he "improved" the originals.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 00-10-01-A.
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