The American Mind Opens to Psy

In 1987 Professor Allan Bloom, previously of Cornell University, published The Closing of the American Mind, protesting what he called the 2 uncritical beliefs of contemporary American undergraduates: their belief that truth is relative and their moral commitment to equality. What proceeded was a sweeping account of a philosophical error which Bloom thought to have overtaken Western philosophy in the time of the Renaissance–namely the premise that man’s passions can be disciplined and directed towards productive pursuits, that the human lot overall could be improved through the widespread correction of prejudice and cruelty with the rational faculty and the satisfaction of material needs. This focus of Liberalism on utility, he argued, had weakened the moral integrity of the west until it fell prey to the opportunistic contagion of Fascism and Communism–and in his own time, multiculturalism.

Well, we have now witnessed the consummation of whatever process Bloom was so afraid of. On September 14th, while you were probably at unawares, Korean rapper Psy literally remade Cornell University in his own image–and he did so not through conscious effort but by way of the willing aspirations of a fleet-footed avatar. No-doubt the shade of Professor Bloom solemnly intoned that the West finally fell just 11 days ago, on Ho Plaza, Gangnam-style:

In any case, props to Psy: He did something truly different, and now a lot of people want to do it just like him, too.

Korean Rapper Psy, whose odd appearance and offbeat dance moves have interacted with his Korean pop credentials and lively sense of humor to make him pretty much hands-down the most-famous Korean pop artist ever, owing to the near-instant worldwide fascination with his recent single, “Gangnam Style.” Maybe it’s time I reviewed Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s primer on the constant potential for the unanticipated big event, The Black Swan.


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