So what now, when there are no lines to cross anymore? When there is no boundary across which it may be unsafe to step? When there are no dark and silent woods at all for Red Riding Hood to venture into, but only a carnival landscape of garish neon lights and the unending carnival-barking come-ons of brothel wranglers?
What must one do, then, to appear transgressive or just tastefully beyond the bounds of the conventional and proper?
Where does sexy go then? Dirty just isn't dirty when there's no such thing as clean.
And where does intelligence go then? Who can speak intelligently in a loud enough voice to carry over the hoots of apes and the growling of pigs?
Similar point from Camille Paglia:
Pop is suffering from the same malady as the art world, which is stuck on the tired old rubric that shock automatically confers value. But those once powerful avant-garde gestures have lost their relevance in our diffuse and technology-saturated era, when there is no longer an ossified high-culture establishment to rebel against. On the contrary, the fine arts are alarmingly distant or marginal to most young people today.
Avant-garde doesn't work unless there's traditional art to critique.
Rebellion doesn't work unless there's authority to rebel against.
Surrealism doesn't work unless there's realistic art to comment upon.
Shock doesn't shock without something to shock, i.e., actual values actually believed.
Etc. This crap is boring even to try to talk about.