Modern democratic culture is continually self-referential in a short time frame. Each work refers to something that came immediately before it, taking care to avoid alluding to something that the audience might not be familiar with.
It is this way because the writers and production staff, even those that certainly had some required courses in the classics and the canon, know that their characters are speaking to an audience that isn’t familiar with those or the bible.
Christopher Hitchens hoped that organized atheism could replace religion as a source of morality with literature. But literature, as even the dead Hitchens brother admitted, is rooted in religious practice. It makes sense to conflate literature with religion, but it makes no sense at all to pretend that one can exist without another.
As religious practice has become illegal in the West through the back door of anti-discrimination law, and pressures that are political, financial, and social have come to bear, literature too has become a ‘gritty’ husk that does little but revel in depravity and place hope in imaginary supercreatures to rescue a hopelessly degenerate civilization from a obfuscated existential threat.
The libertarian in me wants to make a point about how interest rates are really important and that this is just the sort of thing that happens when you suppress them through state policy. This is true. But the culture that wants to do those things is the prime mover in this.
Culture continues to become shallower and shallower over time as it becomes more impossible to build social walls that exclude, that permit quiet, and prevent interference from political commissars (which is what professors and journalists have become).
Without a meaningful cultural and artistic tradition, the democratic West is killing itself: indeed, most modern literature consists of extended odes to suicide and self-annihilation, especially those of the 20th century. Let no one say that writers have no influence! They have had a baleful one!
Modern movies cost more to make in nominal terms than ever before, but are remembered for shorter and shorter periods of time. They are shown in more movie theaters to more people in more countries than ever before, but are more forgettable than ever. Will historians even be able to pick out which ‘Spider-Man’ reboot was which? It’s not likely.
We have constructed a rapidly perishable culture of spoiled, unhealthy people that use advanced technology to avoid understanding their own weakness and depravity. It is impossible to speak about the most dire issues in public using honest terms without provoking the shrill rage of the ‘disabled’ masses, each of whom has a special list of ‘illnesses’ and traits for which xe is oppressed.
It is a culture that is sliding happily into Soviet-level mediocrity, too terrified to make any changes that might offend a sacred group, at a time when the academy invents a new sacred group every other week.