The successful pseudo-intellectual types that flourished in profusion from the Quattrocento through the mid-20th-century have today fallen on hard times. They've lost their clout and their ability to strike fear and a deep sense of inferiority into the hearts of pseudo-intellectual wannabes and hopelessly ignorant proles because they've not kept pace with the times.
[T]here have been three epochs of intellectual affectation. The first, lasting from approximately 1400 to 1965, was the great age of snobbery. Cultural artifacts existed in a hierarchy, with opera and fine art at the top, and stripping at the bottom. The social climbing pseud merely had to familiarize himself with the forms at the top of the hierarchy and febrile acolytes would perch at his feet.
This code died sometime in the late 1960s and was replaced by the code of the Higher Eclectica. The old hierarchy of the arts was dismissed as hopelessly reactionary. Instead, any cultural artifact produced by a member of a colonially oppressed out-group was deemed artistically and intellectually superior.
During this period, status rewards went to the ostentatious cultural omnivores — those who could publicly savor an infinite range of historically hegemonized cultural products. It was necessary to have a record collection that contained “a little bit of everything” (except heavy metal): bluegrass, rap, world music, salsa and Gregorian chant. It was useful to decorate one’s living room with African or Thai religious totems — any religion so long as it was one you could not conceivably believe in.
But on or about June 29, 2007, human character changed. That, of course, was the release date of the first iPhone.
On that date, media displaced culture. ... [T]he means of transmission replaced the content of culture as the center of historical excitement and as the marker of social status.
RTW sad T here.