Tagged: kitsch

Lumpenocracy

It is a platitude that art becomes caviar to the general when the reality it imitates no longer corresponds even roughly to the reality recognized by the general. Even then, however, the resentment the common man may feel is silenced by the awe in which he stands of the patrons of this art. Only when he becomes dissatisfied with the social order they administer does he begin to criticize their culture. Then the plebian finds courage for the first time to voice his opinions openly. Every man, from the Tammany alderman to the Austrian house-painter, finds that he is entitled to his opinion. Most often this resentment toward culture is to be found where the dissatisfaction with society is a reactionary dissatisfaction which expresses itself in revivalism and puritanism, and latest of all, in fascism. Here revolvers and torches begin to be mentioned in the same breath as culture. In the name of godliness or the blood’s health, in the name of simple ways and solid virtues, the statue-smashing commences.

Clement Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” [1939], The Collected Essays and Criticism, Volume 1: Perceptions and Judgments, 1939-1944 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 18-19.

Born to be bad

Mr Belichick affirms the old adage: if his lips are moving, he’s lying.

That the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee has been compelled to ask Mr Eastwood and Mr Cooper to intervene in the wake of the rise of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim threats says all that needs to be said about the degraded state of the Americans’ political culture.

After the demise of the historical avant-garde (DADA, surrealism), art no longer has the capacity to shock. Hence, irony has ascended as the predominant, adversarial aesthetic form, which also stands opposed to “schlock” (e.g., Pussy Riot), the kitschification of shock.

I hope Mark Cousins’ “6 Desires: DH Lawrence & Sardinia” includes the exquisite von Richthofen sisters.

Overture

The majority of Americans are not cathected to the embargo against Cuba. Miami, the old stronghold of anti-Castro sentiment, is now dominated by other Latin Americans who arrived via first class accommodations rather than by raft. Revanchists like Mr Rubio are tilting against a tsunami of indifference.

Kitsch pleases, but does not edify. As per Kant, it is neither beautiful nor sublime. However, this is not true of ironic kitsch (called “pre-emptive kitsch” here).

Not even the Vatican Patriarchs desire to tangle with nuns.

The unchurched are a potential bulwark against future state sponsored torture.