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Betty's Corner


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What's Hot, What's Not, And Why

ChicagoNow.com

Culture War has not only become part of our political lexicon. It's begun to define who we are. It's the Pluribus drowning out the Unum. It's everyone insisting their set of values are the only correct set of values. Including values as to abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, church & state, recreational drug and sexuality.

Consider one example. The same month TV Guide reported 89-year-old Betty White as the "country's most popular and trusted celebrity" [topping Kate Middleton, Sandra Bullock and Oprah Winfrey], Vogue Magazine featured a 10-year-old girl in full makeup and leopard-print stiletto heels stretched out on a tiger skin looking back with a smoldering gaze.

More than merely objectifying the female gender, a new low in telling fourth-graders and their mothers that "hot" is what it's all about. At least until you're a grandmother. Oh but wait, grandmothers are busy with botox and halter necklines from hot stores like Forever 21!

But let us press on.

As a kind of corollary to today's Culture War we have the ascending cultural values of Silicon Valley. Here the proud vigorous source of America's greatest new ideas, products, and programming. Some economists advise that while America may be losing ground in the traditional hard-industries like steel, coal, oil, cars and washing machines, we are leading the world in the new computer-industries.

Lets hope so. And yet, we may want to weigh the culture here too. What do our bold new computer industries seem to value most.? If their balance sheets tell us anything, they tell us we most value fun, games, and diversions. The biggest companies on the big board on Wall Street include Netflix...Apple iTunes....Google...Groupon...Skype...Linkedin...and the video game manufacturers

It's far too easy to draw quickie comparisons between the United State and earlier failed empires like Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome and Britain. And yet...! In each instance, their power not only corrupted them. What may be more even more instructive, their power diverted them. Diverted them from growth to games; from pursuit to pleasure; from vigorous to vacuous.

Congress now returns from the summer. In this session, will they simply follow in the wake of such commonly accepted values? Or will they help lead their constituents in remembering there is much more to value as a nation than diversion?


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