Grant McCracken: How Do We Make Culture?
Observations on culture creation, world building and meaning.
It’s like a tune I can’t get out of my head. It keeps circling.
“From its opening sentence, every novel is an argument for its own reality.”
This is the sentence with which Mark Kamine opens his review of the new Joshua Ferris novel, The Unnamed.
But of course it’s going to appeal to an anthropologist. We’re in the business of observing how cultural artifacts serve as arguments for their own reality.
But there’s still something breathtaking about the “reality argument” process. Doesn’t Marx have a line about how we build worlds, and they then build us? Worlds issue from artifice and end up as perfectly actual, so actual you can bounce a nickle of them. The arbitrary becomes the indubitable. Miraculous. And then not. And therefore miraculous.