It used to be you'd go to a museum and see culture's great achievements - unforgettable paintings and priceless artifacts. These days, you'll also find video art and exhibitions on...fashion designers. The collapse of high culture in this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge
. John Seabrook, staff writer for The New Yorker
magazine, says that today's popular culture is much more eclectic than the old split between highbrow and lowbrow, which was really the Americanized version of the European class system. Darden Asbury Pyron is the author of Liberace: An American Boy
. He tells Jim Fleming that Liberace was a serious musician who enjoyed the extravagance and theatricality of his performances. He charmed his middle-class, mainstream audiences despite his camp persona and none-too-closeted homosexual lifestyle. Jacques Barzun's latest book is the surprise best seller From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life
. He tells Steve Paulson that Western culture is waning, as all great civilizations eventually do, and that he'd have been happy living between 1830 and 1900. Also, Greg Nagan, author of The 5-Minute Iliad and Other Classics
, reads excerpts of his versions of the great books and tells Jim Fleming how he "improved" the originals.
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