Rachel Syme’s essay here is important. Maybe it’s a symptom of my privilege as a white guy, but even as a creator, it’s so easy to forget that culture is MADE, much less chosen, by our habits and economic decisions. It seems like it’s a thing that just happens, in closed boardrooms and mysterious focus groups.
Smoky back rooms are part of it, for sure. But I work to make things. Rachel Syme works to make things. Aziz Ansari works to make things. So many people, from bedroom songwriters to showrunners on network hits, work their fingers to the bone making culture. News flash: they don’t all look like me, your standard bookish white boy.
Culture workers are also culture consumers. Sometimes we’re the most voracious consumers. It’s a particularly enjoyable feedback loop.
But this means that we have the power, right, and responsibility to make and shape a culture that reflects the _actual_ world around us. This means more women, more minority voices and faces, and the recognition that white guys can’t always be the ones to make the music, movies, books, TV, standup specials, and cultural criticism.
We can support others who create what represents their viewpoints. We can give them the space and support (yes, I mean cash, but also encouragement — we need to supplant the asshole naysayers) they need in order to recognize that their voices are vital.
A world where women control at least 50% of culture on their own terms is not a world where men can’t be men. It’s a world with better context, where even white men get to better define themselves and their lives as individuals, rather than being beholden to outdated, proscriptive versions of masculinity.
What I’m saying is that it’s time for white men like myself to stop being selfish about what we already have. It’s stupid and limited.
It’s time we got selfish instead about all the cool things we’ll get to enjoy when we give everyone else the space and resources they need to make culture.