Culture Quiz

My nephew is up for an interview at the college of his choice.  Everyone is thrilled.  His speciality is the classics so I am no use at all.

But what, I wondered, would be a good way of quizzing someone about how much they knew about contemporary culture.

As it happened, I was working on a Keynote deck for which I produced the image above.  It has several bits and pieces.  We could just to hand an applicant the image and invite them to comment.  This would be one of several “quizzes” and is not meant to be the only useful test.  

There are no right answers.  But I think we would be able to judge very swiftly whether someone had depth, range, intelligence, and what do they call it in tennis, “touch.”   I want you to identify each of these images and tell us how and why what they represent matters to contemporary culture.  You should be able to speak for 5 minutes on each image…and that’s just for starters.  

Please have a go and if you feel like banding off a thousand words I would be happy to put together a set of judges with the winner getting a Minerva award.  

Or just work out your answers “in your head” and let’s discuss our various answers in a later post.  

Click on the image to see the whole test!

I can’t supply attribution for these photos.  If you recognize where they came from originally, please let me know!

2 thoughts on “Culture Quiz

  1. laura

    This is a great idea for a test! It also teaches me that I have a lot to learn…

    I hope you’ll do a follow-up post about it.

  2. Julie Moran

    Explosion of boundaries and mastery of the whole universe. The structured parlor and dining room are demolished, the “living space” forces all sexes, ages, activities to be combined and observed by all. The owner of a food truck co-opts and flaunts the formerly sacred Japanese battle flag and Mao icon, an ironic use that would have caused him to be beheaded or reindoctrinated under the old structures. The cartoon housewife offering dinner is disheveled, cocky and wearing a tie. Our nourishment is not an apple, but The Apple, the source of the knowledge of good and evil and everything else on the internet. We are now masters of our representations, we mock the strictures that used to define us. Our only remaining sacrament is the new idea, as served up by TED and psfk. Of course, at the same time, we warm our hearts with nostalgic TV celebrating the structures we have demolished, as well as millions of antic cats who are soft and reassuring while being notoriously and gloriously immune to the strictures we try to place on them. Being like God is the ultimate aim of humans. To know all, and see all from on high. Looking down onto ruined-appearing civilization while flying and falling is exhilarating but terrifying.

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