March 28, 2016

THE CULTURE WARS ARE A ROUT:

MORAL RELATIVISM, R.I.P. : Virtue and authority are back in fashion, as Bruce Wayne and Harry Potter can attest. (Helen Rittelmeyer,  September 2012, American Spectator)

Relativism has become such a routine charge that half the people who invoke it feel no need to do more than gesture toward the culture at large by way of explanation.But we've come a long way since the days when Marilyn Manson and Andres Serrano (the artist behind Piss Christ) could make careers out of transgression for transgression's sake. Breaking taboos for shock value is relativism; breaking taboos as a means rather than an end is not, which gives Lady Gaga and Seth MacFarlane an alibi. Pop stars used to think that authenticity was an important part of a musician's job description--that's what those Lilith Fair songstresses, self-righteous grungers, and way-too-honest emo kids seemed to think, anyway--and it certainly was a form of relativism to make such a fetish of being true to yourself, objective standards be damned. But overprocessed chart-slayers like Katy Perry and Ke$ha don't act as if they want to be judged by the brutal honesty of their self-expression, and neither do mannered indie darlings like the Decemberists.As for cinema, anti-heroes are out and heroes are back in. Virtue, authority, and law and order are all in fashion, as the bank accounts of Chris Nolan, J.K. Rowling, and Marvel Comics will attest. There are still plenty of enemies for conservative culture warriors to fight, but relativism is no longer one of them.

Posted by at March 28, 2016 7:22 PM

  

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