An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.


Margaret Atwood (1939-, Canadian novelist, poet, critic)


The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition... always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning.


Roland Barthes (1915-1980, French semiologist)


Popular art is normally decried as vulgar by the cultivated people of its time; then it loses favor with its original audience as a new generation grows up; then it begins to merge into the softer lighting of "quaint," and cultivated people become interested in it, and finally it begins to take on the archaic dignity of the primitive.


Northrop Frye (1912-1991, Canadian literary critic)


There is no comparing the brutality and cynicism of today's pop culture with that of forty years ago: from "High Noon" to "Robocop" is a long descent.


Charles Krauthammer


Popular culture is the new Babylon, into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols. The pagan past, never dead, flames again in our mystic hierarchies of stardom.


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


The fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?


Stephen Sondheim (1930-, American composer, lyricist)


The violent illiteracies of the graffiti, the clenched silence of the adolescent, the nonsense cries from the stage-happening, are resolutely strategic. The insurgent and the freak-out have broken off discourse with a cultural system which they despise as a cruel, antiquated fraud. They will not bandy words with it. Accept, even momentarily, the conventions of literate linguistic exchange, and you are caught in the net of the old values, of the grammars that can condescend or enslave.


George Steiner (1929-, French-born American critic, novelist)


We now have a whole culture based on the assumption that people know nothing and so anything can be said to them.


Stephen Vizinczey (1933-, Hungarian novelist, critic)


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