The nature of culture —either alphabetic or audiovisual, freernor cnslaxcd — does not stem from historical determination, fromrnthe blind and impersonal evoluhon of science. The decisivernfactor will always be man’s choice, the decision of powers thatrncan drive societ)- in one direction or another. If books and gadgetsrnare caught in a deadly fight and the latter defeat the former,rnthe responsibility will lie with those who chose to allow it tornhappen. But I do not think this Orwellian nightmare will reallyrnoccur, for our fate, as writers and readers, is linked to that illnessrnor vice called freedom, which humanity caught rather laternin histon’ and which affects a good part of mankind in apparentlyrnan incurable way.rn—from Mario Vargaa Llosa, “Literature and Freedom,”rnAprin992rnIt is time to pose the question of why the American media andrnintellectuals display so much tender solicitation toward Russiarnand the Russians, while treating 300 million non-Russians ofrnthe former Soviet Empire as impersons. One answer is that thernmedia and intellectuals, of the left and of the right, are attractedrnto displavs of brutal power. Our value system has evolved inrnsuch a way as to put on a pedestal those who are leaders in thatrnregard. Such people and such nations have acquired immuni-rnW to criticism and that magic qualitv which encourages worship.rnThis is why the twin powers of Russian art and Russianrnarm are irresistible as objects of fawning attention, why thernholes in Russian children’s clothes generate more concern thanrnbirth defects and staration in a Central Asian countr}’side poisonedrnby chemicals. Power attracts; its trespasses are blurred byrnits might. Stalin’s famed question, “How many divisions doesrnthe Pope have?” underlies many a learned article and book writtenrnby think-tank gurus. American culture has been increasinglyrnhospitable to the language of violence and power. Russiansrnhave ma.stered that language to perfection, and Americanrnelites seem to be mesmerized b it.rn—from Ewa ‘I’hompaon, “Russophilia,” October J994rnHow can we reclaim our values? CertainK’ not through legislatures,rnadministrations, communal assemblies — in short: politics.rnThat brings the fight into the rings and stadiums of thernevening news, fashionable poses, social nroods and sympathies,rnand TV sitcoms. Cultural intluences and powers cair be contestedrnonly by opposing cultural forces. It’s not easy. Our timernsees no honor iir fairness. When amoralit}’, vulgarity, and egocentrismrnof liberal lifest)’lcs begin to emanate an odor of rot,rnpalpably endangeriirg the ver’ health of the society, those whorndid everything to infect the social body with decay refuse to bearrntheir responsibilit)’. This is where the oldest conflict becomesrnopaque: The side that controls the media, as the liberals do, hasrnnothing to fear. The media, the cradle of programmaticrnamoralih, operate on a principle of fake innocence that can neverrnbe proven to be a fraud. They refuse to be held accountablernfor their deeds and for the putridit}’ diey inject into the nation.rn—from l£opoldTyrmand, “Editor’s Comment,” May/June 1979rnIt has already become clear that, in spite of all liberal media efforts,rnthere’s an imbridgeable rift between the common peoplernand die ugly beautiful people of America. In fact, the latter arernthe former’s openly declared enemy. Two kinds of moneyrnearned bv two kinds of people hae obvious civilizational consequences:rnThose who provide food, electricit)’ arrd transportationrnare pitched against the producers of news, entertainment.rnThomas Fleming (I) and John Howard (r) with Richard M.rnWeaver Award winner John Lukacs and T.S. Eliot Awardrnwinner Mario Vargas Llosa.rnpop art and distorted liberal ideas. The ugly beautiful peoplernare the focus of contention: The first loathe them, the secondrnnot only tolerate them but permit them to act as their legitimaternelite. . . .rnIn the end, it’s all a strange, if not tragic, contradiction of democraticrncapitalism. W^iy, at its most advanced stage, does itrnstill remunerate with money, work, thrift, enterprise, innovation,rnreliability, and courage in economic life, while, at thernsame time, lavishly granting fame and millionaire wealth to vulgarity,rndestruction, sham, wickedness, lies, expediency, obsequiousnessrnto fads, stupidity, meanness, bestiality in culture? Inrnshort—why does it reward the ugly beautiful people with exorbitantrnsuccess? It was not always thus; as it stands now, capitalismrnis, in the long run, the loser, in spite of some instant bonanzasrnfor the record companies and ‘IV corporations. With tirernhelp of a per’erted First Amendment, which was not conceivedrnas a privilege, but as a principle of mutual obligation, an insidiouslyrnmighty group exploits a bogus populistic rhetoric in orderrnto accrue immense wealth and use it to corrupt the Americanrnculture. The only real title to populism is the sharing of people’srnhistoric condition and needs. Nothing is further from thatrnthan the imdtibillion-dollar entertainirrent industries run by thernugly beautifid people who fraudulently claim solidarity with thernAmerican people. Since the liberal culture that backs them isrnby now a dogmatic orthodoxy, anyone who opposes them mustrnbe branded as reactionary, redneck, low-brow, yahoo, etc.rnWliich, in turn, makes a merciless struggle inevitable.rn—from Leopold Tymiand, “Editor’s Comment,”rnJuly/August J 979rnThe quality or relevance of literan,’ work nowadays can be lessrnimportant than the views expressed in it or the people yournknow. And just as bad or worse (it’s difficult to judge with therndark growing darker) is the academy’s refusal to carr)’ on discoursernwith ideologies or views alien to its entrenched Marxisthumanismrn(no oxymoron that), and tire reluctairce of the literarv-rnpublishing complex to take note of, much less put into printrnor support, the work of anyone whose iews are not quite correct.rn—from Larry Woiwode, “Politics in American Letters:rnRemembering Dos Passos,” August 1992rn58/CHRCJNICLESrnrnrn