Monday, June 06, 2005

The Politics of Art

OpinionJournal - Extra: "Two things are worth noting about this article. The first is that it was written by a well-known, much-admired novelist. The second is that it appears to be representative of the political views of a considerable number of other artists who think that all conservatives (including conservative artists) are evil or stupid, or both. Ms. Smiley goes so far as to use the theological term 'invincible ignorance,' which implies that there's no point in arguing with such benighted folk, since their ignorance is invincible.

One finds the same quasireligious language in virtually all of Mr. Kushner's plays, used to much the same purpose: it is meant to indicate that disagreement with the author is not merely wrong but evil, and must necessarily lead to damnation. (Conversely, a play like 'Trumbo' exists not to persuade anyone of Dalton Trumbo's goodness--that is taken for granted--but to serve as a quasireligious ritual of collective self-congratulation, an opportunity for progressives to join together in celebrating a fearless defender of the true faith. That the defender in question was a hack screenwriter who tacitly connived at mass murder on a near-genocidal scale is irrelevant; all that matters is that he 'stood pat' when ordered by the House Un-American Activities Committee to inform on his similarly complicit colleagues.)

Now, it's one thing to feel like this, much less to say so out loud, if you're an elected official. That way lies a more proximate form of damnation. But what if you're an artist? What if you not only believe that more than half of your fellow men are ignorant, but allow this belief to influence the way you make art? The answer is to be found in plays like 'The God of Hell' and 'Embedded,' which are written not for a hypothetical mixed audience of red and blue Americans but for a 100% left-liberal audience whose 100% agreement is presupposed."

This is a very intelligent piece on the nature of art. I've often said that the place least likely to have real debate is the college campus. I must admit I am wrong. It seems there is even less debate in the "arts community". Everyone there knows what you're "supposed to think".

Question authority.

No comments:

Interesting Stuff