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Barefoot Doctor: Lowest Common Denominator Culture (& History)


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Last week’s edition included a quote from Richard H Kirk expressing concern about ‘lowest common denominator’ popular culture.


“What I find is that people don’t seem to know anything about the history of anything, anymore,” the unusually prescient Cabaret Voltaire legend noted (in a skrufff interview from 2004))


“Everything is soundbites, everything is condensed down to the lowest common denominator. That’s kind of worrying, everything seems very disposable . . .’


We asked Barefoot if he also thinks it matters.


Barefoot Doctor: “He’s bang on the money but we’re not able to deal in absolute truths on this plane as everything is relative to camera angle, lighting, mood and time so it’s only a view and that’s the best anyone can put forward – it’s not a question of him being correct or mistaken.


It seems to me there’s an evident dearth of collective memory, very little evidence of people being able or willing to place things in historical context or any context at all.


People are being educated, if fortunate enough to be educated at all, to be proficient only at their chosen specialty and seem to have less interest or awareness of any sort of holistic perspective.


Reality is fed us in soundbites, on small windows we can flip away with a thumb swipe. The desire for introspection and to examine the human condition seems to be diminishing.


And the democratization of culture is definitely reducing the general mainstream wash to new levels of inanity, albeit it hugely stylized inanity.


It’s the satsnav (GPS) mentality driven reality – once you get hooked on satnav you stop thinking for yourself when you’re driving, you stop navigating your own direction, you just obey a computerized voice while your critical navigational skills atrophy – take this as a metaphor for what’s happening in general.


We’re getting early collective senile dementia as a culture. And add that to the neurotic, collective Facebook-fueled narcissism driving us increasingly more and you get the sense of social implosion occurring.


But that’s only one side of the story. On the other side, we have a young generation, or at least a sector of one, so switched on and brilliant, so talented and innovative it almost defies description, who’ve presumably benefitted from relatively enlightened awake parenting as well as the exponential rush of technology, and hence the unprecedented advances being made at the edge of electronic music, for instance (and I’m certainly not referring particularly to the crasser end of US-style EDM).


So yes, in the main the world seems to be getting a lot more stupid by the day but countering that is an opposite trend of a small but crucial minority across all generations spearheading the evolutionary thrust.”



Questions by Skrufff.


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