The Norman Transcript


May 24, 2012

What features create a cultural center?

NORMAN — The question has been raised whether an aquatic center somehow constitutes a cultural center. Although the more thorough response would be to ask, in turn, what features create a cultural center, this short treatise will simply focus on answering the immediate question from first principles.

Culture is an abstract concept with very broad connotations, so that one man’s culture is another man’s boring ennui. But predominant in the broad context of culture is an appreciation that mankind is loosely grouped into collections of people who share some set of cultural values.

There is no set rule as to the precise makeup of those values, nor whether every single person within a group must share every single value. Rather, the more profound notion is that citizens can come together over shared values and exchange other value-oriented thoughts and ideas.

Thus, a cultural center can be thought of as a venue where citizens can gather and exchange thoughts and ideas related to their own personal perception of culture. This type of exchange is the fundamental premise of true diversity: the diversity of thought.

While most citizens in Norman and in the central part of the U.S. have a moderately similar cultural outlook, we are certainly not all carbon copies of each other. However, on a cool, fall afternoon when the Sooners play football in Norman, 83,000 fans with very diverse political, religious and artistic interests — a broad range of ages, a melting pot of clothing styles — all come together to cheer on the home team.

During Game Day, people who have never met exchange greetings, perhaps discuss college football and, more importantly, discuss other interests or passions. They may discuss art, music, guns, politics, education or other sports. Does the fact that the venue is a football game preclude it from being a cultural event? No.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014