Jan 8, 2011

Some Definitions

Cultural magazines are devoted primarily to works of art, which can be defined for discussion purposes as (in the words of Hannah Arendt):
those objects which every civilization leaves behind as the quintessence and lasting testimony of the spirit which animated it.
Works of art are not consumer goods:
Art works are distinguished from consumer goods whose duration in the world scarcely exceeds the time necessary to prepare them;
Nor are art works the products of action:
such as events, deeds, and words, all of which are in themselves so transitory that they would hardly survive the hour or day they appeared in the world, if they were not preserved first by human memory, which weaves them into stories, and then through our fabricating abilities.
Art works are the most durable of things, and partake of timelessness:
From the viewpoint of sheer durability, art works clearly are superior to all other things; since they stay longer in the world than anything else, they are the worldliest of all things.
Art works (and the magazines devoted to them) have a distinct place in society:
They are the only things without any function in the life process of society; strictly speaking, they are fabricated not for mankind, but for the world which is meant to outlast the life-span of mortals, the coming and going of the generations.
Not only are they not consumed like consumer goods and not used up like use objects; they are deliberately removed from the processes of consumption and usage and isolated against the sphere of human life necessities.

1 comment:

  1. You've done a great job defining cultural magazines in terms of art, but if cultural mags are only "primarily" art, what other content can be contained in them?

    Could you say that magazines like skateboarding magazines, knitting magazines, fetish magazines, etc., are cultural magazines, too? (It would seem so to me under this Webster's definition of culture: "the characteristic features of everyday existence [as diversions or a way of life] shared by people in a place or time.") Or are these types of niche publications just lifestyle mags?

    What's the difference between culture and lifestyle?