Instead of stopping these blood baths, culture desired to provoke and celebrate them.” In other words, God died as the last casualty of the Napoleonic Wars, and the wars of the century that followed laid waste to the human.
What remains is the reign of what Vargas Llosa calls “the spectacle”: techno-entertainment, and capital.
Vargas Llosa departs from there, to examine the work of George Steiner, whose 1971 book “In Bluebeard’s Castle” was a direct reply to Eliot, from the perspective of the counterculture, which Steiner and Vargas Llosa define as “post-culture.” In Steiner’s account, which, again, I’ll have to abridge, the post-Napoleonic supremacy of the European bourgeoisie caused culture to fall into tedium and decadence, becoming the outlet for the “transcendence” formerly promised by religion, only now transmuted into the form of “explosive, cataclysmic violence” (the quotes are Vargas Llosa’s).
“For Steiner,” Vargas Llosa writes, “European culture did not simply anticipate but it also desired the prospect of a bloody and purging explosion that took shape in revolutions and in two world wars.
My favorite headline read: “Enrique Iglesias’ Mom Just Broke Up the Marriage of Nobel Winner Mario Vargas Llosa, 79.” Since the scandal broke, his numbers have been up, in English and in Spanish, on the only Amazon that people seem to care about.
Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies. 23 about “Notes on the Death of Culture,” by Mario Vargas Llosa, in discussing Vargas Llosa’s relationship with the journalist and model Isabel Preysler, stated that Vargas Llosa announced the relationship on a Twitter account and that he sold related photographs and an “exclusive” story to Hola!All of which is to say that Vargas Llosa’s cranky, hasty manifesto is made of the very stuff it criticizes: journalism.Vargas Llosa’s opening essay reduces its Eliotic ur-text to its crassest points, but my own version here must be crasser: After all, I have six browser tabs open, and my phone has been beeping all day.After all, to be an Amazonian chief is to be a legend to your tribe alone, but to be a famous Latin American novelist is to be paparazzied for your foibles.About a week before “Notes on the Death of Culture” was published, Vargas Llosa left his wife of 50 years for Isabel Preysler, a Filipino-born Spanish socialite, model and former beauty queen known as the Pearl of Manila, and as the ex-wife of Julio Iglesias. magazine carried the “exclusive” story, rife with intimate photographs and quotations (the relationship “is going very well,” according to the novelist).Of course, it’s tempting, even now, to keep spinning that description out, into “cuckold, chain smoker, cat fancier and anti-Semite” — not just to have my revenge, but also to demonstrate how culture works, or doesn’t.I can’t help suspecting that if I were writing a decade or so in the future I would be expected — despite all information being findable online — to explain what a “bank teller” or “publisher” was, not to mention what it once meant to write criticism, as opposed to a consumer review.“Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society” is a new nonfiction diatribe by Mario Vargas Llosa, or (should I say) by the Spanish-language Peruvian novelist, lapsed Catholic, last living public face of the Latin American “boom” and 2010 Nobel laureate in literature Mario Vargas Llosa, the author of over two dozen previous books.In novels like “The War of the End of the World” and “The Storyteller” — the former set during the Canudos conflict, just as slavery came to an end in Brazil, the latter set among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian rain forest — Vargas Llosa had no trouble juxtaposing native cultures with the conquest’s importations.He has always believed that one tradition can, and does, reinforce the other, but it seems that his belief gutters out when the indigenous becomes the popular.The review also misspelled Isabel Preysler’s surname. Entertainment is important as it brings people together and is a good way for the entire family to bond.