Why has Culture become such a portmanteau word? The common use of that hackneyed term derives from the breaking of its link to politics and society although for a century, from Lamartine to Hugo, Zola to Aragon, that link has been a source of various artistic and intellectual preoccupations. Why is this word being used now more than ever in our contemporary sphere? Is Culture another of those magical words of our economic and liberal times?
Even if we believe that we have to go past it. We probably have not noticed that the use of culture and its definition have fallen under the yoke of consensus and political correctness. As Arnold Schoenberg said: ‘Our era wonders a lot. What has it found: Comfort? It invades even the world of thoughts and makes it too comfortable for our own good’.
Obviously, if culture has become a synonym of ‘comfort’, we are entitled to ask a few questions. Why is culture, because of a current relentless use, shifting into a form of leisure? In other words, if everything is culture, nothing is. Rendered harmless by the effects of political absence and economic omnipresence, culture—at least the word— has become, in our lives, a means to legitimate entertainment. Entertainment, inasmuch as even the worst traditions acquire respectability and relevance, leads to surprising new terms: the culture of enterprise, suburb, bobo, techno, McDonald’s. Thus, there is a fluctuating use of that word, which has literally splintered the very definition of Culture. To a certain extent, this era of the “cultural” is meant to justify generalised leisure, liberalism, globalised exploitation and brainwashing.