The inability to understand the modern project of being in the world turns into a cultural forgetting. Some years ago, during one of my lectures on modernism - Picasso's Les demoiselles d'Avingnon large on the wall behind me - a hand went up. The student asked, "Sir, did you make this up?" After puzzled moment, I burst into laughter. The student replied, "Well, you're talking about things seventy years old. Why haven't I ever heard of them?" This, it turned out, was no dumbbell, nor was he a country bumpkin. His resentment was real and thoughtful. A victim of educational effacement. But, then, one whispers, his parents, his teachers, the system that tutors him, none of them could fill the emptiness. Charges of elitism become silly and dangerous under such cultural circumstances.
... A civilization devoted to production and consumption and a tradition that is in ruins, partly forgotten or in sentiment alone come together in a shapelessness difficult to fathom.
-- Robin Blaser
(The "new thing"? People don't even know what the old thing was...)