Dear Dayton: My wife says I need more culture. She suggested that I look into poetry but I don’t know where to start. I only know the old roses-are-red poems and I keep hearing the beginning of one about a man from Nantucket but nobody ever completes the poem. What’s the deal with nobody finishing that one and where would you suggest I start my endeavors in to cultural growth? Thanks for your time and can’t wait to read my next Dayton Ward book.
Have you not been reading or listening to the past “Ask Daytons?” Have you not read anything I’ve ever written, like, ever?
I once suggested that a woman cook a meat log made largely from bacon and serve it to her mother-in-law as an icebreaker. I’m the guy whose super power is sitting on the couch watching old 70s TV shows. I like pie instead of cake, for crying out loud. Does any of that sound to you like the traits of anyone possessing even the slightest hint of anything resembling a grasp on culture?
I am a festering, pus-filled boil flaring up between the ass cheeks of culture. The crap I churn out is a testament to those who would seek to eliminate the written word as a form of communication. Culture? Coming to me for any kind of help or insight about culture is like going to Kim Kardashian for marriage advice, or asking Carrot Top about comedy. That’s right; I am wholly unqualified to speak on the topic of culture or how best to increase one’s exposure to it.
However, in the spirit of modern social interaction, I hereby declare myself an expert on this and countless other topics both real and imagined, existing and yet to be conceived. With that out of the way, here are a few pointers fromDayton’s Handy Dandy Cultural Development Hit List, which I developed pretty much while typing this sentence:
- You mentioned poetry. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one to recommend to you the poetry of James Joyce, Elizabeth Bishop, or Robert Frost. Personally, I tend to struggle with anything more sophisticated than Dr. Seuss, though I do have a soft spot for the early and oft-overlooked limerick stylings of Andrew Dice Clay.
- Maybe you’d like to try art? There is much opportunity for reflection and self-examination by viewing the works of great artists such as Picasso, Monet, Pollack and Dismorr to name just a few. Me? I find all the soul-searching I can handle by studying the creations of Scott Adams, Gary Larson and Matt Groening. When those don’t work, you can always check out the tramp stamps on the women crowding your local club on Ladies Night. Failing that, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue makes for a good fallback plan. Hey, some of those models are actually painted, rather than wearing real bikinis, so it definitely counts.
- If you’re interested in reading a fictional account of noteworthy events from ancient history, educated people might suggest the 1951 novel Spartacus by Howard Fast. It’s an elaborate recounting of the famous Thracian slave who led an uprising against the Roman Republic in 71 B.C. On the other hand, I prefer the Spartacus series on cable TV, which features lots of gratuitous violence, nudity and sex, but without the bother of all those pesky multi-syllabic words and stuff.
- I guess there’s always Shakespeare. I hear he’s pretty good. I don’t think he’s got anything on Michael Bay, though.
So, there you go. Following these guidelines will either aid you in broadening your cultural horizons, or else it’ll get you slapped or maybe even thrown in jail. Hey, if you’re not taking risks and failing once in a while, then you’re just not trying hard enough. Good luck, Culture Hound!