Country Music, Openness to Experience, and the Psychology of Culture War | Big Think

What high-openness liberals feel as mere nostalgia, low-openness conservatives feel as the baseline emotional tone of a recognizably decent life. If your kids don’t experience the same meaningful things in the same same way that you experienced them, then it may seem that their lives will be deprived of meaning, which would be tragic. And even if you’re able to see that your kids will find plenty of meaning, but in different things and in different ways, you might well worry about the possibility of ever really understanding and relating to them. The inability to bond over profound common experience would itself constitute a grave loss of meaning for both generations. So when the culture redefines a major life milestone, such as marriage, it trivializes one’s own milestone experience by imbuing it was a sense of contingency, threatens to deprive one’s children of the same experience, and thus threatens to make the generations strangers to one another. And what kind of monster would want that?

(via)

Country Music, Openness to Experience, and the Psychology of Culture War | Big Think

Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulin’s, 1942. (via). See also Johnny Cash’s to-do list and David Foster Wallace on the philosophical depth of country music.

  1. Work more and better
  2. Work by a schedule
  3. Wash teeth if any
  4. Shave
  5. Take bath
  6. Eat good – fruit – vegetables – milk
  7. Drink very scant if any
  8. Write a song a day
  9. Wear clean clothes – look good
  10. Shine shoes
  11. Change socks
  12. Change bed clothes often
  13. Read lots good books
  14. Listen to radio a lot
  15. Learn people better
  16. Keep rancho clean
  17. Don’t get lonesome
  18. Stay glad
  19. Keep hoping machine running
  20. Dream good
  21. Bank all extra money
  22. Save dough
  23. Have company but don’t waste time
  24. Send Mary and kids money
  25. Play and sing good
  26. Dance better
  27. Help win war – beat fascism
  28. Love Mama
  29. Love Papa
  30. Love Pete
  31. Love everybody
  32. Make up your mind
  33. Wake up and fight

Q&A: David Lipsky | Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes

From an interview with David Lipsky (via), here’s David Foster Wallace on the philosophical depth of country music:

Because that’s like pretty much all there is, when you’re tired of listening to Green Day on the one college station. And these country musics that are just so—you know, “Baby since you’ve left I can’t live, I’m drinking all the time.” And I remember just being real impatient with it. Until I’d been living here about a year. And all of a sudden I realized, what if you just imagined that this absent lover they’re singing to is just a metaphor? And what they’re really singing to is themselves, or to God, you know? “Since you’ve left I’m so empty I can’t live, my life has no meaning.” That in a weird way, they’re incredibly existentialist songs. That have the patina of the absent, of the romantic shit on it, just to make it salable… But that if you cock your ear and listen real close—that it’s deep, you know?… That we find, that art finds a way to take care of you, and take part. Kind of despite itself.

Q&A: David Lipsky | Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes