Anglo-Calvinist moralism has turned the American arts into something strenuously polite and deadly dull

William Deresiewicz in Tablet:

I’m bored; you’re bored; we’re all bored. By our books and movies and television shows, the endless blandness of the Netflix queue, by our music and theater and art. Culture now is strenuously cautious, nervously polite, earnestly worthy, ploddingly obvious, and above all, dismally predictable. It never dares to stray beyond the four corners of the already known. Robert Hughes spoke of the shock of the new, his phrase for modernism in the arts. Now there’s nothing that is shocking, and nothing that is new: irresponsible, dangerous; singular, original; the child of one weird, interesting brain. Decent we have, sometimes even good: well-made, professional, passing the time. But wild, indelible, commanding us without appeal to change our lives? I don’t think we even remember what that feels like.

What accounts for this?

More here.