Is Trash Culture the Only Culture We Have Left?

Pauline Kael

“When we championed trash culture we had no idea it would become the only culture.”

The legendary film critic of the New Yorker Magazine, Pauline Kael, said the above shortly before her death in 2001. As we lament the state of film today, where do we place the blame?

Robert Fulford asks that very same question in Pauline Kael and Trash Culture…..


2 Responses to Is Trash Culture the Only Culture We Have Left?

  1. mrsemmapeel says:

    Interesting article, reminds me I really need to invest in reading some Kael… I’ve only just scratched the surface. That being said, I’m curious as to what exactly is meant by trash culture, because some examples listed don’t strike me as quite fitting the bill (Buffy the vampire slayer?), and I don’t necessarily by into “no brainer” cinema. I think it’s possible to enjoy apparent, no-brains cinema, without still understanding it on a deeper level, to condemn or praise it. Trash culture seems to, for me at least, be a shift in people rather than in media, or perhaps we’re mirrowing what we’re being presented with. It becomes a chicken and egg situation really, are we mirrowing the media, or is it mirrowing us? Is there a solution to trash cinema, should there be? I think if as individuals people stop buying into the idea of mindless cinema, it will become for the most part a thing of the past. Maybe I’m just wishful, most people see “Art” as simply as entertainment, and what they really want is trash.

  2. vodkasoda says:

    Thank you for the comments. In my opinion, “trash” refers to that which is quickly disposable and is for quick consumption…in essence, a “twinkie”. What are we to take away from such flicks as “Independence Day”? I sure as hell don’t know.

    One thing that I found quite interesting in this piece is that the author tells us that “Bonnie and Clyde” was poorly received by most critics. I consider it a classic and just naturally assumed that it was warmly received at the time since it has gone on to be portrayed as a watershed moment: sort of a Pulp Fiction for 60s cinema.

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