God’s Comeback

Culture should be nihilistic; culture should be new and it should be utilitarian. This is the creed that resounds ever stronger through the Swedish general public. When the National Council for Cultural Affairs celebrated the New Year by appointing to its board one of the IT craze’s dizziest representatives, Johan Staël von Holstein, it seemed that the final coming together of neoliberals and cultural page leftists had become a fact.

“Generally speaking my attitude is that young, modern expressions of culture are more important than older cultural forms,” claimed Staël von Holstein just after his appointment in an interview in Dagens Industri. The interesting thing is that these words could just as easily have been taken from any career-minded young cultural writer today.

I recall a debate on literature at the book fair in Göteborg last autumn. At this event I alone got ...

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