Cultural radicalism goes domestic

While visiting in-laws in suburban Columbus I looked at some of the publications they read and was struck by the continuing mainstreaming of cultural radicalism. The Columbus Dispatch ran an article on reparations in their Sunday supplement by “Harvard legal expert” Charles Ogletree, and devoted half their front page Monday to an enormous photograph of two lesbians who claimed to have been assaulted in front of their house. The heartwarming human-interest bits in the Readers’ Digest seemed mostly to involve Marlo Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a grinning Filipino-American girl who had put together a filmstrip for teens about AIDS (specific content unspecified) because her parents and uncle were dying of the disease, and an Australian aborigine woman who had run away from her white school and walked 1200 miles back to her people. Their jokes now presume divorce as a normal part of the pattern of life, by the way. What’s odd though is that it’s all still done in the same personalized, middle-of-the-road, thoroughly domesticated style they’ve always used. The content, it turns out, was irrelevant.

5 thoughts on “Cultural radicalism goes domestic”

  1. As recently as the late ’80s
    As recently as the late ’80s and early ’90s The Reader’s Digest was a conservative publication. I looked at it recently and had the same impression as Mr. Kalb. I don’t know how or when the change occurred, but the magazine has now clearly joined the cultural left.

  2. Worthington.

    Maybe one

    Maybe one reason for the change was the legal requirement of “diversity”? In the late ’70s I remember hearing people in close contact with feminist litigators commenting on the success of a lawsuit against Readers’ Digest, and how the publication really needed it for its own sake because it was so much off in its own world. Once a publication has a supervised affirmative action program and is required to make celebrating diversity one of its core values it’s hard to see how its editorial line could remain the same.

  3. Worthington.

    Well, in

    Well, in Delaware we had these commencement speech for last year’s seniors at my University:

    Diversity (and business, to a lesser extent) were the only values highlighted. In both speeches by this couple.

    Here is a quote from Nina Moore’s speech that many of you will enjoy:

    “Traditionally conservative outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are investing resources into making their products more appealing to the younger demographic. A recent NYT front-page article on entertainment mogul Sean P-Diddy Combs was cited as an example of the Times’ commitment to attract your demographic. Even the Wall Street Journal has added “color” to its pages, and expanded its content to attract younger readers. They need you … full color is in, black and white is out.”


    “Infinite possibilities … a multicultural world. The face of America is changing. According to the most recent census, multicultural groups now make up close to one-quarter of the U.S. population with a combined spending of $1.3 trillion. By the year 2050, more than 30% of the people in this country will identify themselves as multi-racial. In some cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, minority populations are becoming the majority for the first time in our nation’s history. This literally creates a rich tapestry of consumers that all corporations must embrace and reflect in their produce, their talent, and their marketing in order to be relevant and profitable.”

    OWU is a moderate liberal liberal arts college but I wonder if they realize how radical they sound and how de-humanizing: “a rich tapestry of consumers”?

  4. The mixture of mindless
    The mixture of mindless cultural radicalism and utter commercialism sounds quite mainstream. It’s a bit depressing though even today that it should be showcased in a major academic ceremony.


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