Only Humanity Was Harmed in the Making of This Exhibit
For Senior, Abortion a Medium for Art, Political Discourse:
"Art major Aliza Shvarts '08 wants to make a statement."
Okay, let's stop right there. Why not just make the statement with words? Art should be reserved for disclosing transcendent realities that are beyond the reach of words. For example, great poetry and prose have the mysterious capacity to say what words cannot say, which is why they require skill and vision. To put it another way, if you are merely trying to encode some profane ideology in a work of art, it isn't art, but a tedious form of pedantry and didacticism. It's not art but pornography, the latter being any activity that drains reality of its transcendent dimension.
On to her senior art project, which consists of
"a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself as often as possible while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages.... The project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery.... Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts' self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.
"Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said."
It would never occur to the psychologist in me to call this "art." Rather, I would take this as prima facie evidence of a severe mental disorder -- perhaps a borderline personality with psychopathic and psychotic features -- psychopathic because of the evident lack of a rudimentary conscience, psychotic because of the primitive rage directed at the content of her own womb (which is a symbol of her hostile and dismembered psyche). While a conscience remains, it is "torn into bits," so to speak, so that it becomes a meaningless cluster of persecutory demons no longer bearing any relationship to a human moral code. In a way, it becomes a subhuman moral code, with no true center or consistency -- just a kind of sadistic lashing out. It is punishment with no crime. Thus, the infinitely innocent fetus is the ideal repository for an infinite rage.
To put it another way, if the dismembered and projected "bits" of her conscience were ever to again cohere into a recognizably human form, she would likely experience a suicidal depression. As would any decent person upon realizing the unforgivable nature of their transgression. A regrettable abortion is one thing. But this is a different category altogether, a "snuff abortion film." The conversion of shame to narcissistic exhibitionism only makes it more bizarre.
Classical liberalism is founded on a sober recognition of man's dark side. It is not cynical, but realistic. This dark side cannot be eliminated, but it can be sublimated, for example, through the magic of the free market.
But the left denies this dark side, while at the same time covertly elevating it to a kind of God. This is where the atavism and primitivity of the left comes in. When defending some work of creative psychopathy, e.g., "gangster rap," how many times have you heard the responsible party say words to the effect that, "I just want to show how things really are." Again, if this is the case, words will suffice. The purpose of art cannot be to remind us that sewage smells, much less that it actually smells good -- i.e., that it is not shit masquerading as art, but vice versa.
Anyway, on to the "purpose" of Shvarts' project:
"The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body."
Hmmm. Schuon once made a comment to the effect that most modern art that is called "surreal" -- ie., "above" reality -- is actually sub-real, or beneath it. Here is a fine example. In this instance, there was no need to go to the trouble of intentionally making oneself pregnant, knowing full well ahead of time that one was going to repeatedly destroy the lives created. Rather, one could just wonder out loud, "what if I do this?" If you are anything close to a normal woman -- well, if you are normal, the question would never occur to you. But if it did, the self-evident answer -- whether from nature or God -- would preclude the possibility of actually carrying out the "project." For what is there to say in this "conversation" besides "what is wrong with me?"
Yes, a spiritually normal person regards the left with horror. But one of the central projects of the left over the past half century has been -- in the words of one of the last liberal Democrats, Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- to "define deviancy down," so that the perverse, the amoral, the subhuman, all become normative.
Likewise, the central political project of the left has been to use government to create more human dysfunction and dependence, thus creating and encouraging a greater need for government to "rescue" people from their dysfunction and cater to their dependence. It will be very difficult -- if not impossible -- to arrest this civilizational decline. After all, Ms. Shvarts did not come up with her soul pathology unassisted. Rather, her attitudes were nurtured in one of our most esteemed temples of "higher" learning. Fifty years ago she might have been committed. Today she will be granted a Ph.D.
The clueless Shvarts says that she hopes her project "inspires some sort of discourse.... Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.'"
"Inspire some discourse." This is the all-purpose excuse for any subhuman activity that hides behind the word "art." Why not, say, murder some homeless, mentally ill people, in order to inspire discourse on the relationship between mental illness and the lack of a fixed address?
In a chilling statement straight out of the nazi playbook, Shvarts says "she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages." Undoubtedly nazi doctors washed their hands and took other sanitary precautions when performing their medical experiments on Jewish children.
Another student says that he is "intrigued by the creativity and beauty" of the project. I wonder if this same person is intrigued by the beauty of President Bush's project to bring democracy to the Muslim world?
Hey, it's not as if Shvarts has no values. Rather, "I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity.... I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be."
As I have written many times, the horror of the left emanates from a combination of ruthless morality cynically detached from any traditional channel. Thus, ideology trumps common decency every time, and thereby becomes deadly.
But at least no animals were harmed in the making of this exhibit. Only humans. And human decency.