We need to develop a new appreciation for arts that connect to the society in which they originate.
Contemporary artists would do well to recall the ways in which great classical composers have reached into their own folk music to produce work with a sense of rootedness and emotional connection. Would anybody seriously suggest that these efforts diminished their work?
It's time for American intellectuals and artists to get beyond their own past humiliations at the hands of yahoos, and begin cultivating a connection with their contemporary fellows. It's time to recognize that such a connection is not the exclusive purview of mass culture—and that in the end, great art (and to some extent, even great thought) is what connects with our deepest and most vital energies--the things we all ultimately feel and strive for.