A few years ago I was traveling on a plane, coincidentally, next to one of the most important officials of the Ministry of Culture at the time; to be clear, he was number 1 or number 2 in the department. I had met him at a cocktail party after an event in my professional branch, audiovisual. The guild did not have a good idea about the support that the character gave to their problems, and that they had him as one of their political interlocutors. The conversation was cordial and quite open, and I collared him to find out the reason for his reluctance. I didn't expect what he said to me:
“Look, don't complicate it; in reality, culture is only in books. The rest, so look, are other things, important, but not culture.”
For my traveling companion, literature is the only way to access critical thinking, and for him, the definition of culture is reduced to this. It is curious, however, to know that what we mean by culture is of interest to people. Not long ago, the Real Academia Española made public the list of words that internet users had looked up in the digitally accessible dictionary that year. In the first place was the word culture . Obviously, this has now changed with the pandemic and this place has been taken by the term confinement . But, obviously, this information is relevant and demonstrates the dynamism and interest in the concept.
I think that for a majority of us the definition of culture is much broader than that defended by the politician on the plane, who, by the way, had a rather carefree management regarding the areas that were not his favourites, beyond the kick A classification of major arts such as painting or sculpture is certainly classic; of minor arts such as dance or mysticism, and new arts such as cinema, but this never contradicted the idea of culture. Who can say that, in front of a painting, be it by Velázquez, Ramon Casas or the young painter who exhibits for the first time in his town, we don't have an intellectual or emotional reaction, whatever it may be. And that it helps to build our thinking, the set of opinions to which we adhere or reject. The same can be said about the manifestations we have mentioned, in all artistic or creative disciplines. Then they will be of quality or not, we will like them or not. But, obviously, together they help us to be people and citizens, and this justifies, in every way, the support of public institutions and civil society.