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2004- discussion[edit]

"The term is probably used rather less often today than in the past. Of those individuals who still use the word, some would likely feel that philistinism in Arnold's sense is no less common today than it was in the 19th century, or perhaps even more pervasive."

has replaced

"With the general triumph of Philistine anti-culture during the 20th century, the term itself has dropped out of use."

One statement is cautious, witless, plodding, prolix, self-defending with its "probably"s and "rather less"es. The other too brisk and confident. Is "the general triumph of Philistine anti-culture" in any doubt as a point of fact, when one may not even mention that it has happened! "NPOV" is a cheap smokescreen! Which is the Philistine?

I've deleted the whole paragraph. It was foolish of me to try to salvage any content from it, and I shouldn't have tried.
I don't think we can know whether Philistinism increased during the 20th century. What certainly did increase is the ability for Philistinic sentiments to achieve publicity through mass communication. It's simply wrong to claim that the term is no longer used. Opus33 00:26, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I feel Philistinism should be crosslinked to Babbitry and consided a synomym just as Babbitt is comparable to Philistine and can be used with equal currency.

As long as Wikipedia is accurate it can be snappy-- unless we're discussing a morose or pious subject, *gulp* or nationalism, post-colonial depression... But Philistinism is a subject for comedy... um, unless you are one. then it's tragedy... Wetman 01:26, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Pejorative versus derogatory. My dictionary says

pejorative = depreciatory
derogatory = tending to detract from etc.

Now, to me that seems to say pejorative has a lesser implication (that is, is used just to deprecate). This is nuance, I suppose. But if we mean that philistine can be used to deprecate an attitude towards culture, in someone, I would say that pejorative is it.

Charles Matthews 16:42, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

If "philistine" is the pejorative ("worse") term, what term, then is it pejorative of, one might ask? Do you see? "Pejorative" has been cheapened by ignorant usage, of course, and all meaning is colored by nuance. Doesn't everyone understand what "derogatory" means? If the entry did actually require "pejorative," it should of course have used the word. --Wetman 17:37, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No, I don't really see. Charles Matthews 17:54, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

is there a reason the article doesnt mention that the arabic word for Palestine is philistine (spelled Filastin or Filistin or something similar)? Nateji77 08:27, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The English usage in this specialized sense derives from Biblical Hebrew in O.T. translations rather than from Arabic, which is not relevant. Philistine and Palestine and Palestinian all discuss ancient and modern inhabitants of the area, in the sense you are looking for. --Wetman 10:23, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
In many European languages ( other than English ), the words "Phillistine" ( refering to the ancient antagonists of the biblical jews ) and "Palestinian" are the same or almost the same. And in Turkish apparently. The 19th century use of the word meaning anti-art or anti-intellectual comes from the 18th century Church of England interpretation of the so-called Old Testament. One of the reasons this slur is less used today, is because in an era of generally heightened sensitivity to racial slurring, people have come to realise that thats what it is.Eregli bob (talk) 04:56, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
The Romans renamed the region Palestinia (translates to 'Land of the Philistines') after they squelched the final Jewish uprising and commenced with the Diaspora. This was a political move to permanently remove the Jewish sense of 'homeland'. I'm sure the Arabic usage was adapted from this Roman usage.

I am a Classicist, a teacher of Latin and Greek. I first encountered the term Philistine as a convenient grab-all name for those who most oppose the liberal arts values that I as a Classicist have dedicated my life to. I still think that it is a useful term, and that it's connotations of narrow mindedness, least-common-denominator moral, spiritual, and aesthetic sensitivity, and all-around arrested adult development make it a useful part of our language. I think that the closest synonym for philistine as applicable to an individual would be the word slob. Perhaps an even closer phrase as synonym for Philistine would be "crass slob shamelessly flaunting it in public." In short, I believe now, and have so believed over my entire career, that there is such a thing as blatant, over-the-top tastelessness, and that such tastelessness -- moral, spiritual, aesthetic -- ought to be held up to the contempt that it has coming to it. This may sound extreme to some, until I point out that the first object of my contempt and "get your act together" comments should be the Philistinism lurking in myself. No American living today in the rampant Philistinism of contemporary popular culture cannot have been touched by it, and cannot have the duty and necessity of finding it in oneself and digging it out by the roots.

I'm removing the bit about Salinger. It has no significant relevance. 00:00, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

I think that it has significant relevance.Lestrade 00:03, 10 December 2006 (UTC)Lestrade
Please explain what relevance it has. Salinger does not use the word 'philistine'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:48, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Pointless deletion restored: deleting isn't editing. Salinger is virtually defining philistinism in the quote. Logged-in Users are often taken more serriously.--Wetman (talk) 04:02, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Citations needed[edit]

This article strongly needs citations. Babubebo 00:04, 17 January 2007 (UTC)babubebo

Dumbing Down : The New Philistinism[edit]

I've added a link to Dumbing down in the See Also section since I thought that the use of the currently fashionable expression 'Dumbing down' reflects what might arguably be contemporary form of philistinism Godfinger 19:09, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

"Historical Philistines"[edit]

This hatnoted section (the required sources are in the main article as usual: let's avoid flagging for citations as an expression of pique) is just sufficient to distinguishe archaeological (not "historical" whatever that might mean here) Philistines from cultural "Philistinism". Not more than that. This is not a suitable place to assert various theories of origins, linguistic connections etc..--Wetman (talk) 18:49, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Why is there a bible reference, it's used to back a historical theory, the bible is not a proper document to use for reference of this matter! --Adam S 12:15, 30 March 2011 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

'From his example, 'Philistine' passed into the enlightened liberal's armament of cultural scorn.'[edit]

This really isn't appropriate NPOV speech, it isn't a quote, and the usage of the phrase 'enlightened liberal' is confusing in terms of contemporary vs. historical usage of the terms. (talk) 22:18, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

"The eponymous philistine"[edit]

I do not think that word means what you think it means. -- (talk) 23:33, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Dispute: Dates of Nabokov lectures/death[edit]

A man who died in 1977 could not have given lectures in 1981 or 1982. The following passage is impossible and inconsistent: " In the Lectures on Russian Literature (1981), in the essay ‘Philistines and Philistinism’ Nabokov describes the philistine...

   In the Lectures on Literature (1982), in speaking of the novel Madame Bovary (1856), about the bourgeois wife of a country doctor, the writer Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) said that ..." (talk) 00:54, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

It's possible that the work was published then. Doesn't mean he had to be alive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 5 June 2014 (UTC)


So there are no views on why they chose the word "Philistine"? I'd always assumed that it was of biblical origin, as so many terms of those times were. Surely they didn't just choose a word at random. It seems like an important piece of information to leave out. I'd assume they chose "Philistine" specifically BECAUSE it had certain connotations. It would be nice if the article addressed this. The reason for the choice of the term used is as essential as the actual definition is. They didn't just pick up a dictionary, point to a word at random and say "okay, THIS is the word we'll use to describe uncultered anti-intellectuals; one word is as good as another!". There must at least be theories on this. .45Colt 22:33, 16 January 2016 (UTC)