Editor’s CommentnI am occasionally reminded (some would say warned), bynpeople whom I respect, that the Chronicles’ polemical tonencarries a seed of zealotry. This may result, say those whonremind me, in unreflective rejections. If this is the case,nwe must have misguided some messages, as narrow partisanshipnwas never our ambition. We do not want to become ancause of showdowns, in either word or deed. But we do wantnto stir intellectual emotions.nWith the 70s close to ending, we feel that the fissures ofnthe last two decades must somehow be defined in ideologicalncategories. The liberal/conservative dichotomy, imprecisenas it is, befits those categories. These days, a liberal is onenwho has no qualms in accepting that everything around himnis deteriorating into what he sees as a better world; thenconservative stands aghast at the sight of everything improvingnfor the worse. Along these lines of confusion, there isnslowly emerging a rift between two cultures which may determinenthe future of this country.nTi he duality of culture within a society or nation wasnnoticed already by the Greeks—the inventors of both democracynand snobbery, plebeian sloganeering and cultural sophistication.nEver since, sages and socialites have been talkingnabout culture and folklore, court culture and the vulgar one,nhigh- and low-brow, pop or mass culture. These are welldocumentedndistinctions, but not always valid. The MiddlenAges witnessed a situation when an intense Christianityntranscended borderlines and different tastes: Gregorian chantsnmoved to tears the feudal squire and his serfs alike; both thenlowborn and the knight admired Giotto, Cimabue and thenChartres Cathedral. The dual cultural pattern was ideologicallyndelineated at the peak of the Renaissance by Castiglione innThe Courtier, but it was susceptible to perversions. Earlynromanticism fed on folk legends only to fashion attitudes ofnmodish melancholy quite alien to the bustling reality of earlyncapitalism. Karl Marx turned his socioeconomic teachingsninto a moral proposition; it was soon transformed into a moralitynplay, and as such is still staged in university halls and thenCentral Park West salons of the wealthy. Bertolt Brecht andnRen6 Clair created great art from proletarian street ballads,nonly to contribute to the most high-brow cultural contents,nthough it would be unfair to claim that their consumptionnwas limited to millionaires’ drawing rooms. Abstract paintingnfound its way onto Woolworth’s neckties. D. H. Lawrence,na coal miner’s son, wished to speak about the conscience ofnthe common Englishman, only to become the minion of literaryngourmets. With television in almost every Americannhousehold, the demierudite tube priests daily convey highbrowncultural concepts, dry-roasted and prepackaged accordingnto the liberal recipe. The end effect is once againnconfusion: truckers debate Freud and Sartre in turnpike dinersnwithout even knowing it, Mahler is passed on to the massesnChronicles of Cwlturcnnnvia movie scores, and telephone installers look as if they havenjust come from Vidal Sassoon. Thus, the ideological ivoryntower in which the court culture still seems to be ensconcednis social conscience and revolution: dreams about Utopiannjustice achieved through violence, upheaval and blood in thengutters remain the single exclusivity which the masses havenleft to the literati and cognoscenti. If the contemporarynAmerican farmer or worker is quite able to acculturatenhimself to every fad and antic of the establishment, the onenhe refuses to ape is its craving for fuzzy idealism at someonenelse’s expense, one that is rooted in self-hatred, neuroses andnpsychic debilitations.nCourt culture was not always radical; most often it wasnsupercilious, exclusive, contemptuous or just enamorednwith dimwitted mendacities (bergerettes in the Petit Trianon).nThe last 200 years have seen a variety of oddities: 18th-centurynJacobin bankers from New York City, populist terroristsnof patrician wealth from Massachusetts (vide the latestntrenchant description and analysis of them in Otto Scott’snSecret Six), Anita McCormick Blaine from Chicago squanderingnthe International Harvester fortune to support HenrynWallace and communist papers, and the latest Californian”radical chic” which makes procommunist stars and movienmoguls (the Fondas, MacLaines, Beattys, Altmans, et al.)npour their millions into the cultural advance machine fornrevolution. And the masses refuse to follow. The promiscuouslynfondled social conscience reached its climax on theninfamous cover of the New York Review of Books—anorgannof high-brow cultural elitism: it featured a diagram for hownto make a Molotov cocktail for the benefit of the liberal establishment’snsons and daughters at Ivy League schools whonmight have felt like bombing a bank or a precinct. Thereby,nthe court culture of the USA has reached the depths of degeneracy.nIts decay is hastened by journalistic maggots whonpermeate the new pop-mass cultural amalgam of the ’70snwith venom and insanity—and a letter to the editor can nownbegin: “I am a normal 19-year-old bisexual woman . . .”nNo iot long ago, Lord Snow declared that court/elite culturenversus folk/pop culture is an ancient story, whereas thenduality now rests on the basis of science posited against thenhumanities. Mathematicians of genius know all about thenmetaphysics of nuclear physics but have never read onenword of Kafka. This has its cause in the monstrous effortnnecessary for specialization in our epoch. However, even ifnthere’s merit to this argument, I doubt that it conditions thencultural reality in which we live. And this reality is definitelyndichotomous. Whether we like it or not, we must call the twonopposing cultures liberal and conservative. Thus, the crucialnquestions are: What are their similarities and differences?nWhere is the epicenter of cultural power in today’s America?nWho holds the levers? How are the gears operated?n