Review: Culture Crash by Scott Timberg

by Rachel Baker on January 8, 2015

I have to admit, I was sort of interested in Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class by Scott Timberg when I first heard about it. I’m not sure now. I don’t want a book that discusses a culture crash from only the white male perspective, as described by Evan Kindley from Slate in the review below.

One of the most important things I think Kindley brings up in his review is that the crash of the creative class isn’t something new to worry about. The creative class has always had a difficult time; and instead of being nostalgic about a time that really doesn’t seem that much different from all the others as a whole, it seems looking forward is the best way to figure it out.

Let’s be honest, maybe we should be spending more time denouncing cuts in the art programs throughout all education systems, and increasing grant funding for cultural endeavors from major donors/patrons, instead of wondering what will happen to the creative class (which, by the way, is alive and thriving on the internet, using technology that a good amount of us over 35 can’t possibly begin to master). I, frankly, think that people have a way better chance of joining and enhancing, and embracing, the creative class with the advent of the internet in its present and future forms. There are amazing mediums available that people who maybe wouldn’t have been able to nurture their creative sides are able to utilize now.

Read More: No, the Internet Is Not Killing Culture

What Timberg values, and wants to preserve, is in fact a pretty unusual state of affairs that arguably held for a few decades in the 20th century, one in which active participation in artistic, creative, or bohemian culture could semi-reliably provide the material basis for a stable middle-class life. “What I’ve found is that despite romantic myth, most artists and others who work in the world of culture come from the middle class and hope, after a few years of scrambling and bare-bones living, to return to it,” he writes. The best and most substantial sections of Culture Crash are the ones adapted from Timberg’s previously published profiles of such scramblers in Salon and elsewhere, pieces in which grand explanatory theories recede into the background and Timberg becomes a sort of Studs Terkel for Freelance Nation. The second chapter, “Disappearing Clerks and the Lost Sense of Place,” is one of the best-reported of these—though it is also the one I found myself least convinced by.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

Previous post:

Next post: