[S]omehow in culture, “lowest common denominator” has become a way to describe not what’s unifying but what’s worst, as if we all come together where we are awful and stupid. In fact, when we do all come together in large numbers, it’s usually not where we are awful and stupid, particularly not because we are awful and stupid.

This NPR story by Linda Holmes about coastal snobbery and “the masses” appeals to me not just because the vilification of roughly half the country by the other half is both A) a bad thing and B) a two-way street that each half pretends is one-sided, but because I always thought the best things about our culture were the things we mostly agreed upon.

I will probably end up just repeating what Linda Holmes said in her very smart piece if I type for too long, but to make it clear: The things in America that everyone likes are not Honey Boo Boo and Taylor Swift and whatever-else thing you think is destroying our culture. Those things are actually deeply contentious. Stuff that everybody likes? Prince. Star Wars. Pizza. “Call Me Maybe.” Lost, in its early seasons. Willie Nelson, if you live in Texas. Stuff that is good, in other words. 

The zeitgeist is usually about stuff that is pretty good, but not terribly idiosyncratic. It’s the height of arrogance to argue that things that very specifically appeal to our particular idiosyncrasies are actually the best stuff, and that people who don’t share them are foolish. You love those things more because they speak to a part of you that other people don’t seem to have. That’s the only real difference between what you love and what everybody loves.

all i know is that the only art worth any investment is art that makes you feel personally addressed. A simple truth, or set of truths, that galvinises an awareness and passion within the individual and in doing so emerciates them into a community founded upon that same personal connection. Too many artists care what others think  - we are for the “COMMUNITY” -  a non linear observation on everything that has been and what will become the lack of understanding of the world we are immersed in. . seflie mythologising. creating how we consume. fragments of culture. not settling for what you’ve been given.  WE’VE JUST COME TO REPRESENT A DECLINE IN THE STANDARDS OF WHAT WE ACCEPT. I would die for this, as pretentious or over reaching as that may sound, I fucking would.
This is for the fans.

… … .Me     xxx

—  Matty Healy
Also known as fractured culture, it describes the ways that American culture has become split up into so very many specific pieces that a group that consumes one type of culture can be completely unaware of what is consumed by another.
—  – My friend Rana Emerson has a post on cultural fragmentation and Dollhouse up on It really is remarkable that pretty much everyone I know loves 30 Rock and Mad Men and Community and Friday Night Lights, and if you combine that with a look at the entertainment press that we read, like The A.V. Club or Vulture or whatever, you really would assume that these are the most important and popular shows there are. So it’s always weird to be reminded that more people actually watch Big Bang Theory, a show I am only dimly aware of, than all of those other shows that are super culturally relevant to people I interact with combined.

And this is the first time we mention the tool chain. The set of tools we have at our disposal to work with. We are so focused on the process, that we forget that process is useless when not followed. And people suck at following process. We are so focused on the structure of our teams that we forget how culture works. And what fragmenting of our teams do to culture. Hint; it will fragment the culture.

Neither process, nor structure, are good levers to turn on their own. Or even together. Because neither change makes it easier for people to do the right thing. What we expect of them. To work together. Only when our tools reflect our process is it easier for us to do the right thing.

CFP: Historical Re-Enactment, Contemporary Paganism and Fantasy-Based Movements

Vytautas Magnus University / Faculty of Humanities / Center for Cultural Studies

International Scientific Conference
on Cultural Group Behaviour

Historical Re-Enactment, Contemporary Paganism
and Fantasy-Based Movements

20–21 May, 2016. Kaunas, Lithuania

Call for Papers

Modern times are marked by rapid advances in technology, urbanization and globalization. The second half of the 20th century witnessed fragmentation of culture, ethnicity and religion as a reaction to disappointment in the progress of civilization. This promoted interest in natural, ethnic and indigenous aspects of localities. Orientation toward localities, as revealed in various worldviews and socio-cultural movements, has been related to the revival of traditional and nationalist ideas, orientation to nature-based spiritualities, (re)construction of local ethnicities and the need to return to ethnic and pre-Christian identities. A related trend manifests itself as return to old customs, indigenous values and attempts to reconstruct traditional pre-Christian religions. The existence of historical re-enactment groups and contemporary pagan movements, grounded in native faith, as well as fantasy-based movements raises the following questions: what drives them to look back to their roots? How and why do these groups emerge, exist and disappear? What is their social and cultural impact on society and members of historical re-enactment groups?

The conference welcomes both empirical and theoretical contributions from various disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary studies of historical re-enactment, contemporary pagan movements and fantasy-based movements. Early career researchers and students are also encouraged to participate.

We invite papers and panels including but not limited to the following topics:
Theoretical and methodological approaches to re-enactment
• Theoretical approaches to re-enactment and/or contemporary paganism;
• Fieldwork within re-enactment groups;
• Methodological implications and challenges.
Diversity of re-enactment movements
• Diversity of historical re-enactments and contemporary pagan movements;
• Past and present of the living history movement;
• Fantasy and live action role-playing (LARP) groups as a form of re-enactment;
• Historical cosplay in Western and other cultures;
• Aspects of the local and the global in re-enactment;
• Periodization and typology of re-enactment;
Worldviews and activities of re-enactors
• Identity of historical re-enactors and/or contemporary pagans;
• Authenticity and (re)construction in historical re-enactment and/or contemporary pagan movements;
• Traditionalism, nationalism and politics in re-enactment;
• Gender in historical re-enactment and/or contemporary pagan movements;
• Spirituality, religion and re-enactment;
• Culturally relevant or historically significant places within the context of historical re-enactments;
• Cultural heritage in historical re-enactment and/or contemporary pagan movements;
• Festivals, rituals and performance in historical re-enactment;
Re-enactment and society
• Influence of consumerism, globalization and the mass and social media for historical re-enactors and/or contemporary pagans;
• Historical re-enactment and/or the influence of contemporary pagan movements on the on mainstream society;
• Historical re-enactment in popular culture.

We expect individual paper proposals and panel submissions, including 3-4 presenters.

After the conference, participants are invited to observe historical re-enactment of Lithuanian history in the Hanse Day festival 2016, held on May 21–22.

Participants should complete the form at Abstracts will be published on the Conference website. Each paper is allotted a time of 15 minutes, followed by up to 10 minutes for questions and discussion.
Participation fee: 40€ (for students 20€)
Travel and accommodation to attend the Conference will be at the attendee’s expense.
Abstract submission deadline: March 21, 2016.
Notification of acceptance: April 4, 2016.

Working languages: English, Lithuanian
Conference website:

Organizing Committee: Agnė Kalėdienė (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania), Rasa Pranskevičiūtė (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania), Gintarė Dusevičiūtė (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania), Aušra Kairaitytė-Užupė (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania), Gintaras Jaronis (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania).

The Scientific Committee will be announced later.
Conference participants are welcome to prepare papers to the Group and the Environments journal

Organizers: Center for Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Vytautas Magnus University.
K. Donelaičio St 52-410 LT-44248 Kaunas Lithuania.
Contact person: Agnė Kalėdienė
Phone number: +370 662 32 470

Please feel free to spread this message.