Vargas Llosa on the Death of Culture

“It is not ­surprising that the most representative literature of our times is ‘light,’ easy literature, which, without any sense of shame, sets out to be — as its ­primary and almost exclusive objective — entertaining. Chefs and fashion designers now enjoy the prominence that before was given to scientists. The vacuum left by the disappearance of criticism has been filled, imperceptibly, by advertising. Today . . . people usually play sports at the expense of, and instead of, intellectual pursuits. Today, the mass consumption of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, crack, heroin, etc., is a response to a social environment that pushes men and women towards quick and easy pleasure.”

--Notes on the Death of Culture by Mario Vargas Llosa