Walking Machines

Rebellion (2)

Further to recent comments on rebellion, hostility to bourgeois values and art’s political lockstep, Fabian Tassano’s Iconoclasm by Decree seems relevant.

“Literature should be political and ... should unmask the rottenness of bourgeois culture.” Lenin.

“Question: How do you know when a society's culture has stopped being genuinely challenging and iconoclastic? Answer: When a government minister insists that ‘challenge’ and ‘iconoclasm’ are essential components of culture… A mediocracy has ersatz versions of everything related to intellectual or artistic independence: questioning, analysis, scepticism, radicalism, and so on. No real questioning or radicalism is involved, since that would be too dangerous.”




Well, speaking as the resident Sagacious Iconoclast, I'd just like to note that *meritocracy trumps mediocracy*. People who run around claiming to smash icons without offering something better in return, tend, on a good day, to be quickly labeled as the charlatans that they are. On a bad day, it takes longer.

Pardon me for repeating a reference to an essay I mentioned in the previous thread, but if you haven't already then y'all might like to check out "Why the Art World is a Disaster", by Roger Kimball, at The New Criterion:




“For Valie Export, the female Body is covered with the stigmata of codes that shape and hamper it… As usual with Gober, the installation is a broken allegory that both elicits and resists our interpretation; that materially nothing is quite as it seems adds to our anxious curiosity.”

Isn’t it wonderful how the press release tells the viewer how to feel while hedging its bets with paradox? It “both elicits and resists”, naturally. Strange how so many contemporary artists “embrace and reject” something or other, or “interrogate” some pressing social issue while arriving at no particular insight. I get sent so much of this generic and pretentious nonsense I have to resist an urge to track down the person responsible and force them at gunpoint to eat their own hands.


Sartre remarked (I can't track down the reference at the moment, but I think it was in "What is literature?") that the avant-garde inevitably gets digested. Che T-shirts. The first billboard advert I saw on coming to England in the early seventies: for cornflakes, with the slogan "Workers of All Countries, Delight." "Revolution" jeans.

Nothing new here. How much iconoclasm would our Minister prefer? Just enough, but not too much, I suspect, or he'll get a stomach-ache.

Fabian Tassano

Thanks for the link, David.

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