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Great post, Bones, and red, it is an interesting question, your broader implication about a prevalent culture. Hate to say it, but it's my view America grew up late, fast, and furious...so much of my birth country is devoted to utility, a very stark worldview of economics, power, art. It affects everything, even our language - a thing to convey utility, and not a pleasure in itself. That we have no National Theatre, no equivalent institutions in other arts - whereas Europe is studded with these repositories they consider vital - speaks, I think, to what we are as a people, shaped by a particular history we probably can't escape.
Yes, on a broader level, arts (of any kind) are hardly even available in the schools here anymore.
I'd better not get started on all the s#!t that's wrong on this side of the Atlantic.
Lads, Denis may be your buddy and all, and I respect that, but he is not in the category we speak of.
Ponticelli is in a different category altogether, brilliant, I love the guy, I'm really only talking GJ here