Culture Vultures

(I ❤ rhymes)

Today’s post title comes from my friend Susannah – the Theatrical Badass from my standing ovation post – and from more of her theatrical badassery: we went to see William Ivory’s Bomber’s Moon at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, which I will post my thoughts on tomorrow, and in organising it, the phrase ‘culture vultures’ came up.

Obviously, I was like ‘Oh my God, rhyming’ because that’s the sort of infantile behaviour that explains why Doctor Seuss books are bestsellers and not universally condemned as the works of a deranged and drug-fuelled lunatic who basically serves as the literary version of Jigsaw from the Saw films, but I also liked the phrase because it suggests a desperation to be cultured and artistically aware, and a desire to use others to achieve these ends – we got free tickets because her dad knows the director.

And this resulted in a good thing for us – we both liked the play – and no-one was hurt in the vulturing beforehand – we didn’t have to murder anyone to get into the show – but I fear that other examples of vulturing are present in our society. The need to pay enough to provide for a family for a year just to get into higher education, and the resulting explosion in student bank accounts with menial rewards like being able to download music every now and then, is a pretty good example of banks vulturing off the desire for young people to be ‘cultured’, or at least educated.

Also, the insane competitiveness of getting into higher education could encourage some to undermine each other in an attempt to beat them to the precious, precious, university places, turning University interviews into Apprentice boardroom finales, in which contestants attempt to present each other as massive bastards, blissfully unaware of their own faults or even strong points, turning society into one in which it is those who are not crap, as opposed to those who are themselves good, that are rewarded.

For instance, Ed Miliband has attempted to ‘win’ (in inverted commas because is national political power really a force to be competed for like free drinks at a pub’s pool table?) the next election by hiring David Axelrod as an election advisor, a man known for his attacking of the opposition, as opposed to his defending of his own candidates.

Alternatively, we could invert this title to ‘vulture culture’, and being a new artistic era, like postmodernism or gothicism, in which we focus on the beauty and majesty of vultures, and celebrate them like pre-Christians revering deities based on things like Fortune, Fate, and mud.

I suppose the ease with which a potentially serious point about the over-competitiveness of access to higher education and well-paid jobs is undermined by going ‘lol vultures’ shows the futility of writing a blog post about a witty remark; I’ve started, and discarded, other ideas because they would fit better on a t-shirt than a 500-word piece of prose, but screw it, I like this one. It might be because of the coherentish points I made, or the fact that this gave me an excuse to google ‘vulture memes’, but I’m telling you about Culture Vultures, and my pride in being one, whether it makes sense or not.


What Is A Standing Ovation?

A Family Lives off £27,000 a Year

Ed Miliband and David Axelrod


6 thoughts on “Culture Vultures

  1. Vultures are actually really important in the ecosystems in which they participate. They don’t kill things. They eat things that are already dead. Thus, they help prevent the spread of disease and ensure that nothing goes to waste (most carnivores won’t eat something that has already died). So, calling yourself a vulture implies that you are consuming something in society that is extraneous and/or in the way and thus benefiting others through your consumption (even if it is motivated by your desire to survive or in this case be entertained).

    Sorry, I just got distracted by the possible inaccuracy of your metaphor.

    1. So if I’m a Culture Vulture, I’d be consuming that which others don’t want, and doing them a service?

      Like if I were to watch awful reality shows on TV, meaning the people in them got enough viewers to stay in that show and not annoy other people by having to take jobs in their shows? It seems like vultures are nature’s altruists.

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