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Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America Hardcover – 1 Jan 2006


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Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America + Things I Didn't Know + The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (1 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195076761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195076769
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Robert Hughes was born in Australia in 1938 and has lived in Europe and the United States since 1964. Since 1970 he has worked in New York as an art critic for Time Magazine. He has twice received the Franklin Jeweer Mather Award for Distinguished Criticism from the College Art Association of America.

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Review

The Culture of Complaint

'Culture of Complaint,

'Culture of Complaint

Time,

Culture of Complaint,

About the Author

art critic and author of two best-selling books,

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jun 1999
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Hughes' lively and pointed skewering of the apostles of PC and their tiresome love of victimhood. I must question how closely the Kirkus Reviews writer (cited above) read "Culture of Complaint" because the reviewer takes Hughes to task for not addressing some issues in more ponderous depth. The explanation is simple and is provided in the preface: "Culture" was drawn from a series of three lectures Hughes gave at Yale University, and the lectures are presented in the book with a minimum of editing. Heavily-footnoted lectures would have been a sure path to mass narcolepsy among Hughes' original sudiences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Morgan on 1 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback
'Political Correctness' was originally a term of art of the Left, not a tag with which to bash it. Hughes is plainly enraged at its inanities, seeing it as a substitute for rather than a form of social action. As one who heard a (teaching) colleague congratulate herself for learning not to say 'Blackboard' and not able to tell me why this was meritorious, like Hughes I am mightily fed up with the mealy-mouthed puritans I 'travel' with who are what Yeats would've called "injustice collectors". Hughes's talks - and they read as such, it is not his finest stylistic hour - lay waste the crass self and other censorship of an often supine Left, taking offence at, say, 'niggardly' (eh? are people really so thick?) and unable to avoid clunkers such as what I saw advertised as a 'ploughpersons' lunch'. The reduction ad absurdum is reached by the PCers themselves and endless fun is had at their expense by populists like the odious Littlejohn. Hughes makes somewhat heavy weather of this but he nails the points and calls out the right people. His targets are like Dickens' Mrs Jellyby: unable to DO much at home, they choose easier targets elsewhere as a substitute for the hard yards they are not tough enough to make where it matters. So good on Hughes for giving them the hammering their stupid, counterproductive selves require. How dare they give the liberal Left a bad name in the pursuit of a chimera.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Hughes tries to position himself somewhere in between Karen Finley and Jesse Helms in his essays about the politics of art in America. The result is that he comes out about where the Supreme Court has found itself in June 1998 -- linked to Jesse Helms anyway by critics, despite trying hard to distance himself. He apparently thinks Karen Finley is a fraud, and that's just not what the art crowd wants to hear. It was courageous of Hughes to write the book, which contains the seeds of "American Visions" (also worth reading).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Developed from a series of lectures given in 1992, Culture of Complaint is a discussion of political correctness, multiculturalism and the politicization of the arts in late twentieth-century America, both in academe and beyond. As an Australian art critic who had then lived in the US for more than 20 years, Hughes has brought the perspectives of both outsider and insider to bear on his topics. Although the book is intelligent journalism rather than an in-depth professional study, it is well informed and its generalisations are supported by specific examples. Hughes also strengthens his discussion by a historical perspective on the place of the arts in American life and politics. Overall, he makes a strong case for genuine tolerance and openness in the reception of the arts and rejects the extremes of both right-wing reactionaries and the politically correct separatists of identity politics. Hughes's short book represents an intelligent, reasonable voice which still has relevance to today's version of the culture wars.
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