Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rock! Pornography! Drugs! Insomnia!

Wow. You just never know what's going to be controversial, do you? Thanks to you people, Petey woke me up at 4:00 AM with a torrent of thoughts about music, art and society. Finally I had to just get up or risk losing all of the thoughts and be left empty-handed after my usual nine hour night-sea journey. Petey generally says something once, and that's it. You can ask "what?," but then he just gets evasive, sometimes even a little passive aggressive. So here I am at 4:30, trying to remember all of his talking points.

Something about art... What was it... Oh yes, what is art, anyway? Among other things, a work of art is timeless, it is universal, and it bears repeated viewing and listening--in other words, it has the quality of being "inexhaustible."

Now none of the originators of rock music--or even jazz, for that matter--thought for a minute that they were producing art, much less "great art." Remember, there was no such thing as rock criticism until the late 1960's. Up to that point, no one thought of it as anything other than ephemera--just disposable teenage music.

Of course, that all changed with the Beatles, who actually had self-conscious artistic pretensions from the beginning, even if the masses didn't notice it until the release of Sgt. Pepper in 1967. But even then, you will note that the Beatles were rarely heavy-handed and didactic in their approach. I don't believe that Paul wrote any overtly political songs, and George wrote maybe one: Taxman, which is actually a conservative rant about the exorbitant tax rates in Britain needed to support their welfare state--at the time, the Beatles were paying a ninety percent marginal rate!

And even Lennon, at least while in the Beatles, wrote only one overtly political song, Revolution. He became much more political in his solo career, which is precisely why most of that music is so lame, such as Imagine or Give Peace a Chance. These songs have the baleful and pretentious influence of the sinister Yoko written all over them.

In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce's alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, discusses the criteria for great art. He believed that it was the task of the true artist to record "epiphanies," that is, sudden spiritual manifestations. Following Aquinas, he says that the three things necessary for beauty are wholeness, harmony, and radiance, or claritas.

It is this third category that has to do with epiphanies, when the soul of the thing, its essential whatness, leaps through its outer appearance and reveals its true nature. This supreme quality of beauty captures light from another world, through which the artistic medium is but the shadow. In the "silent stasis" of aesthetic arrest, we are in a spiritual state in which we apprehend the luminous beyond.

Didactic art is the opposite of this--in fact, it is not art at all. That is, it takes the medium of an art form and tries to cram some merely worldly message into it. In other words, instead of transmitting radiance from another dimension--from the higher--it forces in a message or "lesson" from the lower, from this side of manifestation. This is why nazi or communist art is so tedious. It is also why a lot of contemporary art is so bad. It's not really art, but what Joyce called pornography.

Pornography has nothing to do with sex per se; rather, it occurs whenever we completely despiritualize anything and divest it of its otherworldly radiance. Therefore, there is much that is pornographic that is not sexual at all. By this definition, most contemporary music is indeed pornographic--obviously most rap and hip hop. Most TV is pornographic. Most literature is pornographic. Even most religion, I'm afraid, might well be pornographic! And certainly most politics. Dailykos is a porn site, pure and simple. I defy anyone to find a trace of radiance, of claritas, emanating from that infrahuman swamp.

Speaking of which, this is one of the real meanings of the culture war, the battle over the complete spiritual divestment of our culture. On the one side we have radical secularists who wish to erase any vestige of spirituality from the public square, on the other hand, evangelicals and conservative Christians who are trying to preserve it. Now, as I have said before, I am not a right wing Christian or evangelical. And yet, if I have to choose sides in this battle, I am certainly on the side of those who are trying to stand athwart this degenerative process yelling "stop!"

Where was I? Oh yes, back to music. Goesh, in full flashback mode, wrote of his "old fashioned reefer madness enhanced with Janis Joplin, full volume, ahh, the old molotov cocktail reverie of my youth and long hair--grass in the lungs and Janis in the brain," noting that these intoxicating "memories of narcissism and anarchy linger still and pull at me from time to time."

How very true. To a certain extent, rock music is adolescent music. It is the soundtrack to adolescent rebellion, to the surge of hormones, to the power of sexuality, to idealism, to the perception that the world is fake, phony, and hypocritical, and needs to be torn down. Now. And guess what? They're right. This stance, placed in ts proper context, is spiritual through and through--if you want it to be. Yes, it's a radical viewpoint, but all true spirituality is overtly radical. Institutions always try to tame and contain the spiritual impulse, but it cannot be contained or institutionalized. Jesus was nothing if not radical in his critique of existing society. Buddha dismissed it entirely. Petey says that "in the symbolic pyramid of culture, very few bricks touch the ground."

This is what Elvis was about. Again, he would have been the last person to know that he was engaging in an artistic endeavor, and yet, his music is nothing if not universal. It is as if he discovered one of the keys to the universe just lying around on the floor in a tiny studio in Memphis. Once people heard the message, they got it, both instantaneously and cross-culturally. If you have ears to hear, the message comes through loud and clear in the early material Presley recorded for Sun Records in 1954 and 1955. It is as if he pierced a hole between this world and another, and something refreshing, revolutionary, and liberating came flooding in. But also something that was just joyously fun.

Now Jodie d, whom I do not think should be dismissed as a sanctimonious church lady, expressed some very legitimate concerns about what came flooding in thereafter, writing, "EEGADS, aren't these the folks that led to the decline of western culture and fed the decadent lefty culture you attack so ably?" She noted that many of the musicians I mentioned "led us to surrender in Vietnam and those who haven't dropped dead from drugs are lined up behind Cindy Sheehan and Kos today. Add in the sexual libertinism and sexual ambiguity and you see just the kind of forces that have set the groundwork for the sick mass culture of today... Bruce Springsteen = Howard Dean." She also wrote that 60's musicians "were the role model for the pot smoking, LSD popping, sexually immoral millions, and a coarsening of our society."

From the other side of the cultural divide, Anonymous responded to Jodie, asking "If the left/Hollywood nexus is full of sloppy thought, self hate and low morals, how can one embrace their soundtrack as wonderful art ? Or could it be part of their art is (heaven forbid) breaking down societal barriers and opening up the world to new creative ways of looking at both art and society?"

Here I would simply reemphasize that great art, to the extent that it is great art, is about much more than the conscious intentions of the artist. If it is only about their conscious intentions, then it is likely not art at all, but simply the type of didactic pornography discussed above. The true artist is always a mouthpiece of the beyond, saying much more than he realizes.

I once heard it said that it must have been easy for Shakespeare to write his plays. That is, if it was difficult for him, then it would have been impossible, for it would have simply been too difficult for any human to do! Shakespeare wasn't siting around consciously thinking about all of the multiple meanings of Hamlet. Beethoven wasn't "trying" to carry back musical messages from the noumenal realm. Nor was Bob Dylan trying to convey any unambiguous messages in his songs, much less any worldly political agenda.

Anonymous cites the Dylan song, A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, asking "how can you divorce the societal views of Dylan, Beatles, the Clash, et al, from their music? It WAS (IS) their music.
And how can you decry artists whose politics and social views you oppose as decadent (Springsteen campaigning for Kerry, Jackson Browne against global warming). Is that the distant whisper of mom telling you to 'turn down that junk music' from 35 years ago the sound I hear in the background as you tell your kid not to go see Brokeback mountain or listen to Kanye West?"

I don't even have to hear it to know that a Jackson Browne song about global warming is pop porn. Bruce Springsteen has been reduced to a sad, didactic hack who has lost all contact with the pure spirit that animates the noble impulse to Rock. It is Springsteen who has bowed to the distant voice of his authoritarian father, as his music has fully embraced the conformist, constricted, humorless, anti-spiritual, anti-evolutionary bromides of the left. Kanye West? Not even infrahuman, for it is unnatural for a human being to be in his natural, animal state.

There is a hilarious moment in the new Dylan DVD, in which he is asked about A Hard Rain. Surely it is about nuclear fallout and about the need to end the arms race? No, said Dylan. What is it about then, asks the clueless interviewer? "It's about a hard rain," deadpans Dylan. Dylan refused to be categorized. For one thing, I truly believe he didn't understand where his songs came form. The words just came tumbling in. Like Shakespeare, if he had tried, he couldn't have done it. And when he did try, it likely wasn't art, such as The Times They are A-Changing or Masters of War.

In point of fact, Dylan wrote only a handful of overtly political songs, and most of those on a single early album. Moreover, he quickly saw through the intellectually and spiritually bankrupt left--who had embraced him as the "spokesman for a generation"--and ran away as fast as he could. The left tried to co-opt Dylan, but by 1964 he had left them far behind. They still haven't realized it, as Joan Baez remarks in the new DVD. Of his brief involvement with the humorless, stilted, narrow-minded leftists who tried to get him to dance to their grim tune, Dylan famously sang, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

Today I can enjoy the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again without hearing any explicit or implicit leftist message. After all, it is a revolutionary song, and in the contemporary world, conservatives are the revolutionaries. I don't know about you, but I won't get fooled again by the Clintons, by Howard Dean, by Ted Kennedy, by Jesse Jackson, by the liberal media, by the New York Times... the list is endless.

And sometimes, dammit, even I can't get no satisfaction. And all last week, while watching the Alito hearings, I was wondering to myself, "what's goin' on?" with these Democratic buffoons. And when I hear the Clash proclaim London calling, to the zombies of death, I conjur up bloodthirsty one-eyed imams with hooks for hands preaching their death-cult theology. And one of my great spiritual heroes, Meister Eckhart, was trying to break on through to the other side during the summer of '67. 1267, that is.

Kahn made some excellent points--almost as if he's been in contact with Petey: "There is much more to a song than its social context, or the opinions and mindset of its composer. By this logic an atheist could dismiss Bach, braying that his music was sponsored by the church, and reinforced a religion that killed and plundered and enslaved and raped children. A true work of art stands on its own merits, independent of its creator; just as a child need not be a reflection of its parent."

He kahntinues: "A great song--like any great art--is open to many interpretations, and can resonate beyond its own time... Personally, I sometimes hear Blowing in the Wind as more a deterministic resignation than a revolutionary anthem. Perhaps we are still too close to the history to strip these songs of their accepted contexts."

Well, this has already gone on a bit long. I'll have to finish tomorrow, Petey willing. There I promise to talk about drugs. And more sex, pornography and rock & roll. I just hope he lets me sleep in.

27 Comments:

Anonymous beg to differ said...

“Now none of the originators of rock music--or even jazz, for that matter--thought for a minute that they were producing art, much less "great art."

Check a bio of Miles, Coltrane and others they were quite aware they were making art and quite aware they were breaking molds…and quite aware their work had impact on the interaction between whites and blacks. As for the rockers, even if they weren’t conscious of their music as art they were certainly they were breaking down barriers and busting the “silent generation” culture of the 50s. The parents knew that—that’s why they hated it that much.

As for the rest to call it cherry picking is to put it mildly. Was Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun apolitical ? No one could understand the intensity of the music without understanding the political context. Woody Guthrie progenitor of the folk music you love – practically drummed out of the country as a subversive.

Listened to Paul McCartney as he emerged from his 20s ? Bono ? George Harrison at the Concert for Bangladesh ?

“that great art, to the extent that it is great art, is about much more than the conscious intentions of the artist. If it is only about their conscious intentions, then it is likely not art at all, but simply the type of didactic pornography discussed above. “

Sophocles, Antigone, Dickens, George Orwell.Kurt Weil , Arthur Miller were all seeking to break down barriers and had plenty of “pornography” in their art. Art is subversive of existing culture . Springsteen may be didactic for you now. Was he in the early years, when he wrote “nebraska” a paean to the oppressed (in his view) working class. And talk about misappropriating music, remember Reagan and “Born in the USA ? It need not be didactic to have social messages and seek to shatter established conventions. Ever seen Picasso’s Guernica ?

Sorry your views of art are much, much narrower than most cultural critics and historians.

Nazi art was not art because it didn’t tolerate anything that was subversive of their culture same for Stalin. It was dull and lacked creativity because it was forced to be so conventional. The artists weren’t allowed to think outside the box..

“Didactic art is the opposite of this--in fact, it is not art at all. That is, it takes the medium of an art form and tries to cram some merely worldly message into it.”
. And yet, if I have to choose sides in this battle, I am certainly on the side of those who are trying to stand athwart this degenerative process yelling "stop!"

Would you have done the same with Aristophanes, Woody Guthrie, Elvis ?
Many did.

some even burned the books and records

Many have cried “stop” to the degenerative process in the past. Often jailing artists and burning books.

And of course jerry lee lewis and elvis in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s was not porn (despite it being widely proclaimed as such) . But Kanye West is. And Bruce Springsteen now produces junk (heard Devils in Dust btw). Thanks for letting us know.

Why is LGF not porn and daily kos is ? Other than opinions of one which you agree with, their methodology and structure are virtually the same, just not their opinions. In which case anything you disagree with must be porn. Next step is to ban the porn.

1/19/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

That is a very powerful definition of pornography you just set forth.

Speaking of divorcing political views from the artist(s), I never had a problem with that in my youth. Concerts were essentially conclaves of social/moral/political/economic/cultural/historical anarchy. It was the spectacle, man, the women,the attire, the gathering of cultural rebels and outlaws with the heavy rhythm of a bass guitar and wild drumming and raging guitars, fueled with some good weed and cheap wine and notched-up with a hit of speed or acid. Who heard much of the lyrics? Who needed lyrics and message? Those were the glory days, not filled with passive, analytical assessment of some freakin' artist out to cop a message of significance with his words. It was a time to fuck everything that ever had been or could be or should be. You want nihilism? We had it, baby. You want total, unbridled freedom? Get stoned and get down, man. It was perfect because when we crashed, we awoke to the oppression of the military industrial complex, man, the system which denied people their true power and rights. George Bush was already a monster back then, he just didn't know it. It fueled and fired us up to recycle again and again and again.

So here I sit with a loving wife of many years, a couple of wonderful grandchildren, a large, happy productive extended family,7 years of education, a fine home paid for, a meaningful occupation that really impacts people in a beneficial way, good cholestrol and blood pressure and a healthy prostate and an active sex life and on no meds with all my hair and teeth. I even have a couple of late model vehicles in my driveway that are paid for and I feed birds and dabble in a garden. What the fuck went wrong??

1/19/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tutor an underpriviliged kid, take your kid to work in a soup kitchen or clean up a park once a week. Let the kids see how lucky and privileged they are.

then you'll see the message of the despised counter culture which you took to mean getting laid and getting stoned could mean more for you.

isn't that a faith based initiative with compassionate conservatism

or does that just mean cutting ur taxes ?

1/19/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps we are still too close to the history to strip these songs of their accepted contexts. It brings to mind one of Bob's (Gagdad - not Dylan) fascinating observations from his book, pondering how we might consider a pyramid like wonder had they been built by Jews enslaved by the Nazis."

Hey Kahn (and gagdad ?) no need to ponder

you can find some films of some very well performed concerts performed by the inmates at the Terezin concentration camp. The musicians were kept alive (for a while) by the Nazi officers so they could be elevated by the "high art" f their performances .

Hey the music is "beautiful" no matter the musicians were doubtless gassed soon thereafter, the fate their non musician friends and relatives had already met.

I pondered and considered....

it's pornography

not a very fascinating thing to consider imo

the passage of time would be more callous in judgement, not more "objective"

1/19/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Wow, Bob...wow.

Maybe you (and Petey) could do me a favor and try not to be so dead on about everything?????

You're starting to scare me...

1/19/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

goesh:
That was awesome.

Was Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun apolitical ? No one could understand the intensity of the music without understanding the political context.

What nonsense.

Some random thoughts on art:

The extent to which a work of art is chained to a political agenda is the extent to which it is diminished as a work of art. Art is ingenuous. You can't be ingenuous if you have a pre-conceived agenda behind the work. Guernica is not a painting about Spanish politics. It is a painting about war. Politics are transitory. War is universal.

If you're looking for exemplary role models, artists aren't the best folks to look up.
Mozart was, in the parlance of his day, a libertine. He was a heavy drinker, lived out of wedlock with his girl, and partied up every cent he made.
Beethoven was a gruff eccentric, a tyranical foster parent, and later in his life, pretty darn nuts.
Wagner was a detestable anti-semite, and a thoroughly unpleasant human being.
Van Gogh. 'nuff said.
Coleridge was a drug addict.
Poe was a drunk.
Actually drunken writers are almost a cliche. The point is that
artists are frequently rotten human beings who have a gift in only a very narrow range.

Art isn't produced as much as it is channeled. I used to carve stone. I have a drawer full of ribbons. My work was good enough that most of my displays were at invitationals- that is, people came to me to ask if I'd show my work. I even sold a few pieces here and there.
There is no way I could give a rational explanation why a certain piece is curved just so, or why I decided to drill here, cut there, or whatever. It just looked right. So I did it. I look at my own work sometimes and wonder how I thought of that. I didn't thought of it. It just came through me that way. The stone spoke, and my hands listened. That's how it works.

JWM

1/19/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Looking back, Dylan may have been one of the first to see the 60s culture for what it was and actually call them out on it (something they, of course, never caught on to).

Even in Dylan's most recent 60 minutes interview, it was pathetic to watch Ed Bradley practically begging Bob to admit he was the 'spokesman' of the generation (it's been 40 years!).

Oh, and as if the moonbats haven't had enough to deal with, you should see how they dealt with the release of Dylan's autobiography - where he makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he's not one of them.

One of my favorite Dylan moments is from an old press conference where a gaggle of desperate reporters are asking him - or rather, begging him - to write more 'protest songs.' He just laughs and says "If you got something to protest, then write your own damn protest songs."

Check out this site for a different perspective on Dylan's politics:

http://rightwingbob.com/whoami.htm

1/19/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The extent to which a work of art is chained to a political agenda is the extent to which it is diminished as a work of art. Art is ingenuous. You can't be ingenuous if you have a pre-conceived agenda behind the work. Guernica is not a painting about Spanish politics. It is a painting about war. Politics are transitory. War is universal.


oh yes war is not political - thks

and
sophocles
aristophanes
socrates
blake
melville
dickens
weill
arthur miller
phillip roth
jack kerouac

picasso
chaplin
hopper
bruegel

stones who springsteen etc (some of us weren't too stoned to hear the lyrics)

let me know who will be looking at your stuff in 100+ years
all made diminished art because there was some social consciousness involved. Unlike your carved stone

1/19/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

beg to differ--

--Miles and Coltrane were not originators of jazz. Believe it or not, jazz originated in the 1920's, not 1950's.

"Woody Guthrie progenitor of the folk music you love – practically drummed out of the country as a subversive.

--Woody Guthrie was actually the progenitor of the folk music I dislike--the politicized kind.

"Sophocles, Antigone, Dickens, George Orwell.Kurt Weil , Arthur Miller were all seeking to break down barriers and had plenty of “pornography” in their art. Art is subversive of existing culture .

--You've missed my point entirely. Plus you're frankly a little incoherent.

"Springsteen may be didactic for you now. Was he in the early years, when he wrote “nebraska” a paean to the oppressed (in his view) working class?

--Yes he was. Speaking as someone who was a member of the working class at the time that album was released, I didn't relate at all, not artistically and certainly not politically.

"Sorry your views of art are much, much narrower than most cultural critics and historians.

--I hope so. It's called discrimination.

"Would you have done the same with Aristophanes, Woody Guthrie, Elvis ?

--Would I have yelled stop to Aristophanes? It depends. Was he a pedophile?

"Why is LGF not porn and daily kos is ?

--If you have to ask, you'll never know.

1/19/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Snarky anonymous.

If a work of art survives it is because it touches something universal to the human experience, something that transcends the petty political agendas of the time in which it was conceived.

You want to come back to Guernica. Tell me. Does one need a detailed knowledge of the Spanish civil war to understand the painting? Do you need to name the political parties involved, understand their differences, and recite their slogans in order to understand Guernica? No. Because that's not what the painting is about. It is a painting of a bombing raid. People are being killed. People are terrified. It is a nightmarish scene. It is not an allegory of Spanish politics. It is a painting about War: the universal property of the human race.

As far as my stones go: If they survive it will because they likewise touch something in the person that sees them, touches them, and ultimately owns them. Lemme' tell ya' something about stone. It has a pretty good shelf life. Unless they are destroyed by malice or accident those rocks will be in someone's posession, gathering dust and the occasional comment- in short, making someone happy- long after you and I are both long gone.

Oh, and I noticed you had to bring up Kurt Weill (sp?) in every post. If you're at the stage where you think Threepenny Opera is like profound, man- then please see my comment about Inna Gadda Da Vida.

"Man is bad, the world is shit
and that is all there is to it."

uplifting.
profound.


Stand there flat footed and tell me anyone throws on a CD, and listens to that toxic drek for fun. Feh. I'd rather have my teeth drilled.

JWM

1/19/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous beg to differ said...

art is subversive of the status quo

research the reaction to your hero Joyce's Ulysses

i think it was defined by many as decadent, even pornographic.

and peter paul and mary weren't (aren't) political but woody guthrie was ?

once it's porn the next step is to ban it

were elvis and jerry lee lewis pornsters in 1959 (most folk thought so) and later discovered to be artists ?

Are people that blog to the left of you politically pornographers ?

should they be shut down ?

or limited to over age 21 readers ?

it's art if I like it and degenerate porn if I don't

now there's a sure route to "tedious art". The idol smashers are decried as pornographers by those who "know" what's good for society and what isn't.

shades of a couple of regimes in 20th cent europe perhaps ?

1/19/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous beg to differ said...

btw when benny goodman in 20s and 30s began to play with Louis Armstrong and other black musicians he threw a big brick in the wall of established racially biased society

and armstrong, goodman, and even scott joplin were conscious of where they stood in terms of musical traditions broken and broken

jazz started well before the 1920s btw

1/19/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Wow...the debate goes on and its keeping Petey and Bob awake at nights...dang what a shame that Bob has to wear the bags under the eyes for the both of them!

First of all, I would truly like to request that anonymous to at least be creative enough to make a "fake name" so I don't get you confused with any other anonymous that might be posting. LOL

Now that Bob has set up a thead for us to actually discuss this political thingy, since I am definately younger 'than some' that post here, and admittedly less wiser, I still have something to add on this subject, because I have experienced this...I remember how upset I got with the Dixie Chicks over their political crap at a time of high patriotic emotions, and although they have the right to voice and express whatever they want, I got sick to my stomach whenever I would hear Natalie singing. I would get up and change the channel and I admit I did toss their cd. I just couldn't at the time separate her voice from her "using her art" during a time of war in the way that she did. I felt she was a traitor just like Michael Moore that used his art for propoganda. I still think that the Dixie Chicks are very talented and that their songs, just like some of you have stated will hold up on their own over time. But I solved the problem of 'my emotions about it' by choosing to just listen to the Fleetwood Mac's version of my favorite song, "Landslide" instead of the one by the Dixie Chicks.

So with that said, I do think anonymous and jodie do bring up an issue that some of us have struggled with on trying to separate the artist's view from the artist work...remember that today we have videos that with continuous airplay on MTV and other music tv stations and along with technology to stream into our PC and the video ipod it has in deed put their faces into image with their art. So in many respects they do mesh into one in that aspect.

I know that the main problem I have had is ONLY when that art is being used as an open tool "DURING A TIME OF WAR" to influence voters or used as propoganda to rewrite the truth or that hurts our soldier's morale. But I admit it wasn't the lyrics of landslide that stirred up my emotion or for any group that had adopted it to use for their social or political agenda..it was Natalie herself being on stage in another country saying what she was then to cry in an interview as if she was a victim. So I know I am capable of letting the opinion of the artist interfere with my enjoyment of the vibe of their art and I know it has expanded in other areas for me too...I don't care to buy tickets to concerts or and any hollyweird lefty movie that I know pander to the cause of those that are helping the enemy during a time of war.

So...when JWM says, "The extent to which a work of art is chained to a political agenda is the extent to which it is diminished as a work of art. Art is ingenuous. You can't be ingenuous if you have a pre-conceived agenda behind the work." that pretty much sums it up for me.

1/19/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One good policy is to wait until the artist is dead to enjoy their art. For example, Sean Penn might well be a fine actor, but there's no way I could see him on screen and separate him from his politcal lunacy.

These loons do a disservice to their art, because one of the prerequsites of art is that you must suspend your disbelief, and that's impossible to do if they won't shut up and sing, act, or write. You can't separate a Bruce Springsteen from his rabid idiotarionism.

But there's so much incredible music and film, all available to us now in a way that has never been possible in the past. If you haven't checked out Howlin Wolf, or Muddy Waters, or Bo Diddley, or Bobby Blue Bland, or Etta James, or T-Bone Walker, or Sonny Boy Williamson, or Ray Charles, or Aretha, or so many others... they could have stopped making music 40 years ago, and it would still take the rest of your life to catch up.

Don't worry--whatever is good now will still be around in 40 years.

1/19/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Yeah... and I really don't think that I am missing anything by not seeing Broken Back Mounting LOL

1/19/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous beg to differ said...

yes let's clamp down on that subversive art during "a time of war"

maybe round up some muslims who are surely a third column

remind you of any other regimes in the last century that were in the midst of war or revolution and couldn't have their populace distracted by subversive art ?

and since we're in a near permanent war which will have no clear end, guess that restriction will be permanent as well.

1/19/2006 09:34:00 PM  
Anonymous jodie d said...

there's only one thing to do when confronted by degenerate pornography:

fight it

flood dailykos with negative comments

boycott the purveyors of garbage like kanye west

they don't call it a culture war for nuthin

ideas AND action

1/19/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

"yes let's clamp down on that subversive art during "a time of war"

begging to be different,

I think I made it quite clear that it wasn't the "art" per say but the artist and what she did in another country then coming back here in an interview crying as to be a victim that got to me...another way that maybe you might understand what I meant is in comparing it to not wanting to have sex with someone that you find repulsive. All I was saying is that I didn't enjoy her art after that because when I heard her voice singing it made me a bit queasy. Its like once you have gotten sick on drinking a certain type of food or drink...you choose not to order it again. Get it now?

I said she, like anyone else has the right to say what he/she wants...freedom of speech is good, but I also have a right to boycott her art via being a consumer. Its a two way street.

1/20/2006 04:17:00 AM  
Anonymous hoyden said...

Thank you, Mr. Gagdad Bob, for bringing up this topic. I felt that Jodie d's comments were unfairly dismissed in the previous thread.

I've come to view art, or any other expression of consciousness, in terms of its harmony with spiritual principle.

The spiritual consciousness, or energy, that envelops our planet is propelling us towards higher consciousness. To the degree that we are in harmony with this energy we will grow, and conversely, when we resist it we will suffer. The spiritual consciousness is not sentimental about or personal circumstances.

I can relate to the expression of spiritual truth embodied in art to the degree that I am connected with that spiritual truth. I can appreciate the lyrics/melody separate from other aspects of consciousness expressed by the artist. Bruce Springsteen is a good example--I appreciate some of his music, but do not agree with his political views.

Our society has been influenced by artists and to the degree that we embrace the aspects in harmony with spirit we can evolve to highter consciousness. To the degree society associates with the aspects that are contrary to spiritual principle we will suffer.

1/20/2006 04:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is emerging is Marshall McLuhan's "the medium IS the message". As long as the art is about the art, it's transformational. Once the artist tries to inject a topic into the art, it comes across as false and pretentious. They've moved out of their realm of knowledge and experience, and I'm afraid most of them aren't very good at inductive reasoning.
ed in texas

1/20/2006 05:40:00 AM  
Anonymous i read his stuff said...

read mcluhan again (or for the first time) art/media/information intimately involved in the change of society is the message

art cannot exist in a vacumn

or cite something to back up your interpretation

1/20/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Anonymous actually read the stuff said...

anpnymous wrote:

"What is emerging is Marshall McLuhan's "the medium IS the message". As long as the art is about the art, it's transformational. Once the artist tries to inject a topic into the art, it comes across as false and pretentious"

Mcluhan wrote:





Art at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.
Marshall McLuhan


As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes.
Marshall Mcluhan


"...Two other themes in McLuhan’s work come out in another of his famous phrases, ‘the medium is the message’. McLuhan argued for the concept of art as cognition, referring to the symbolic meanings to be found in visual images ranging from art to advertising. He further argued that technology is an extension of the human, not an independent force; we use technology as tool to convey meaning. It follows then that the content of any message is inevitably affected by the technology or media used to communicate it. As he explains more fully in Understanding Media (1964):

'In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.'"

http://www.thoemmes.com/encyclopedia/mcluhan.htm







Remember that line from the old Woody Allen movie when the man himself popped out and told WA
"I am Marshall Mcluhan and you know nothing of my work"



that's what's great about the blogosphere ready fire (with made up stuff) aim !

1/20/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Newvictorian said...

Ladies and gentlemen, this talk about art is all very interesting, but I want to know how Bob is getting "my usual nine hour night-sea journey" with a Young Gagdad around the house...Young New Victorian seems to limit me and my wife to about 6.5 hours of interrupted sleep per night.

By the way, Bob, I've made it to the last 30 pages of the Book, and I'm digging it. Enormously. Comments and posts about this exciting voyage of discovery to follow.

1/20/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Actually read the stuff:

I double dog dare you to translate any of those Mcluhan quotes into intelligible English.

Our culture is "long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control"?

Maybe I ditched school that day, and that's why I didn' get it.
Gimme' an example, OK?

JWM

1/20/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

here you go JMW...

"long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control": print made possible the analytical rationalism that enabled the rise of industrialism and mechanical technology

SOURCE of Class Notes

1/20/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Gang of One said...

I though I'd throw my two cents in about the 'what is art' conundrum:

The high mission of any art is, by its illusions, to foreshadow a higher universe reality, to crystallize the emotions of time into the thought of eternity.

References available upon request

1/20/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Jeffus said...

beg to differ offers...
"And talk about misappropriating music, remember Reagan and “Born in the USA?"

What I remember is a few weeks after "Born in the USA" caught on, along came the Springsteen-sanctioned "Freedom Mix" extended play single which capitalized further on George F. Will's and Reagan's misinterpretation of the original "meaning".

Springsteen was perfectly happy to misappropriate himself and take the proceeds to the bank. There's some pornography.

1/28/2006 12:31:00 AM  

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