In 2016, you have faith or a 200k piece of paper that comes with a lexicon of meaningless phrases that grow into themselves like ingrown toenails. As people invite me to post election gallery openings, one even directly named “Art in the Face of Darkness”, I cringe. I think of the scene in “Manhattan” at the art museum gala, Allen brings up that neo nazis are going to march in NJ. He suggests going down with bats when he is interrupted by someone saying they read a satirical essay on the march and how satire is more powerful than bats. Allen responds along the lines bats are better. After an election season in which comedians were hailed and lauded as the new public intellectuals of the left and a barrage of biting videos “destroyed” Trump and his supporters. Maybe it is time, we take art off the pedestal.
Neal Gabler for a piece on Billmoyers.com claims “Hell or High Water about two aimless bank robbers could convey a metaphysical sense of American lostness greater than the white anger and resentment that I believe largely fueled Donald Trump’s victory.” I am amazed that anyone would say a piece of fiction is more real than the suffering of flesh and blood people. If art expands empathy, it needs to try alot harder. Another miracle people grant art is the act of catharsis. I won’t deny my own personal communions with fine art, but all art isn’t created equal nor can it conquer all.
Otherwise I doubt the left would act so smugly towards their rural brethren. I’ve read recent articles blaming the country’s disconnect solely on the rural regions. The authors believing the coastal left is immune to criticism. Their reasoning being if the American poor went further into debt for art degrees and trips to Paris then they would think exactly the same as the author who claims to have “escaped” from small town America. At dinners with friends when the conversation runs dry, people mock the rural outreaches beyond the suburbs and the industrial decay, the global elite left for them. It disgusts me. I came from one of those towns without a traffic light. There weren’t any shops and not many places to go out to eat: two diners and a pizza place. Instead I was gifted with nature and farmland, which provided most of the local part time jobs outside of the mall a few towns over. It was a small, but close community. My friends, who stayed after high school, aren’t wrong for remaining apart of and continuing the town’s traditions. For trying to start families. Our creative overlords frame abortion as the only reasonable choice and as characters grow towards middle age, family is rarely presented as a good choice. Instead the moral life is shown to be discounting our own labor for a photogenic career from a shortlist that looks good on Instagram. I reject this cosmopolitanism that being apart of a real community, one that has roots, is foolish. My urban years have not enriched my soul rather my time in cities has turned my body into a more perfect servant, sitting outside the large bay windows awaiting my next task. I reject the notion that settling and creating a home is a form of failure and weakness. I think the pursuit of jetsetting is folly. I reject the false love of Hollywood, which praises desire above all. I believe in the devotion and dedication taught to me by my parents.
As long as Art remains a propaganda piece for the global elites it will be meaningless as a source of unity. As long as it seeks mockery over understanding. Seeking political aims and the Zeitgeist, it will not function as humanity’s soul. Art is most when it is simply human. Oddly enough as our society is dehumanized by technology and big data we need works like those of Bellow or the old masters that have survived the centuries. Works that defend ourselves against our intentions. The problem with works such as those is they defang the agitprop of the modern university.