Today’s Prufrock email blast notes:
The BBC is bringing back Kenneth Clark’s Civilization. Unsurprisingly, it’s now called Civilizations, and the first episode has its share of egalitarian posturing. Otherwise, it’s not bad: “Here’s one of the fundamental differences between this and its unpluralised predecessor. When Clark says at the beginning that he doesn’t know what civilisation is (‘I don’t know. I can’t describe it in abstract terms — yet’), it’s just false modesty. When Simon Schama says the same thing, it’s post-modern intellectual cowardice. He doesn’t want to venture an opinion, for who would dare when we now know that all cultures and values have equal merit, and that to ‘privilege’ one over another is ‘elitist’?