If you followed the rise and fall of Culture11, you’ll probably enjoy this Washington Monthlyfeature story.
Leave a Reply
My frustration from this, and other accounts of Culture11’s demise is the repeated suggestion that this was some sort of test piece for the talent and ideas; when from all I can gather, the undertaking was doomed from the start by untenable assumptions about talent and ideas turn into money, most especially dissenting ideas.
Interesting piece. I think, though, it missed the larger picture. To this liberal, Conservatism, as expressed by GWB, stood only for power.
smaller government? nope. See DHS, TSA.
less-intrusive government? nope. see NCLB, warrantless wiretapping.
fiscally responsible govt? nope. see deficits, Medicare Part D.
smart government? nope. See, well, just about anything, from the staffing of the Iraq CPA, to the oversight of the evacuation of New Orleans, to the gagging of career scientists at NASA and EPA.
Now, from my side, I have a pretty clear idea of what I want out of government — the capture of externalities. Health care funding isn’t working well; every other industrial nation provides essentially the same outcomes at a fraction of the cost. Increased nationwide economic wealth is going all to a tiny class. Serious environmental problems exist, from ag discharges to CO2 emissions. The market for the origination of residential mortgages and for the securitization of various kinds of debt have both failed.
To me, it’s the job of government to address all of those market failures. Is the conservative position on all these issues really to do nothing? Or is it to propose thoughtful solutions that maximize the expression of underlying conservative values? I honestly don’t know. McCain / Palin seemed more interested in mocking the existence of the problems than proposing solutions. C11 seemed more interested in debating “values”.
Mapping the values of conservative writers long (or even recently) dead onto today’s problems has always seemed to me an exercise in mental m*sturbation. Who cares what they would think? What do you, the writers of C11, think? Could you provide an argument, based on commonly-agreed upon facts, in support of various policy positions?
Too often the answer was, and is, no. Worse, too often there isn’t even a policy position that needs defending.
Francis is sort of proving my point for me (Thanks Francis!)
Cuture11, or more accurately Peter, Alan, James, Conor, Helen, Elizabeth, even Joe (now and then) managed to get yours truly, a grizzled veteran of the culture war, to come out of his fox hole and parley. In case you missed it, I make films of people having sex, including close-ups of penises in other people’s mouths, vaginas, and anuses. People like Justin Hart, Ed Messe, and John Harmer are pretty much my sworn-fukken-enemy, but the writers at Culture11 and the community they fostered convinced me to flick the safety to the off position and talk.
But that’s not the write up, is it? We’re going to get another “Oh noes! I don’t know if there’s a market this hip new conservatism.” Or And why? Not because the writers were failing to connect, but because (as far as I can dissect the finances from the outside) they got hung out to dry by people who don’t know thing one about how to run a business.
The only thing that the demise of Culture11 has proven is that a fool and his money are soon parted. The rest of the story is yet to be written.
I’m just paranoid enough to believe that the reason Culture11 went away is because they’re are too many people who are too invested in keeping me and Alan throwing grenades at each other. Wars always have profiteers, including culture wars.
It doesn’t matter who the president is, the status quo is works out just fine for Bill Bennett, James Carvel and a lot of other people.