The latest columnist is Tim Muldoon whose writing I know I've seen somewhere but can't pin down right at the moment. He's beginning a column titled Culture at the Crossroads today.
The notion of culture itself is at a crossroads. For if culture -- like its cognate word "cultivate" -- is about a certain way of growing, then the obvious questions are about who's doing the sowing, what the seeds are, and what's going to be harvested from them. What's the point of culture? And how is it different from any number of historical attempts to control people, like the absurd Chinese operas that emerged during the horror of the Cultural Revolution, inculcating revolutionary propaganda? (See the fine film Mao's Last Dancer for one dancer's story of escaping from that reality.)And there's some T.S. Eliot later on. Go check it out.
This column proposes that culture is the ongoing conversation of peoples reaching for the transcendent: questions like "what changes, and what remains the same?" and "how shall we live?" -- the kinds of questions, in short, that we raise today much like our ancestors of three millennia past, and whose answers, far from being irrelevant and arcane, are as challenging to us today as they were when they were first written.