Excrement Masquerading as Art and Politics
So, how and why and when did common sense realism -- our nation's founding philosophy, or operating system -- become so devalued and marginalized?
Off the top of my head, I'm thinking that part of the answer must have to do with virtue signaling and status anxiety.
Analogously, think of the art world. I read somewhere that the French impressionists are looked down upon by certain critics. Why? Essentially because everyone likes them. That being the case, they hold no snob appeal.
There are also, of course, political reasons. The impressionists have no agenda, political or otherwise, except for the transmission of beauty.
In The Rape of the Masters, Kimball writes of how "the study of art is increasingly being co-opted by various extraneous, non-artistic, non-aesthetic campaigns." Which is to put it mildly.
And just as art has become politicized, politics has surely become aestheticized. Clearly, a great deal of the elite loathing of President Trump is on aesthetic grounds. They were more upset that he puts ketchup on steak than they were at Obama eating dogs.
Kimball notes that the undermining of art involves a kind of two-pronged attack: first is "a process of spurious aggrandizement" through which "you hail the mediocre as a work of genius, for example, or pretend that what is merely repellent actually enables our understanding of art or life."
My father-in-law was an art collector, with many very expensive works adorning his walls. Admittedly I am a simple man, but I find them visually off-putting -- AKA ugly -- or just neutral, with nothing attractive about them.
Plus, they are a stylistic jumble. There is no connecting theme, such that the overall effect is of a kind of disjointed psychotic dream. Not the kinds of specters I want hanging around my house.
But if some overeducated fool looks at one of those paintings and waxes poetic about its genius, one may be reticent to express the opinion that a five year old could do better.
Exaggeration? One could cite countless examples. Kimball notes that when a couple of well known artists "exhibited The Naked Shit Pictures -- huge photo-montages of themselves naked with bits of excrement floating about," one critic celebrated their "self-sacrifice for a higher cause, which is purposely moral and indeed Christian."
And if you do not see that -- which you do not and could not -- then it elevates the critic at your expense, you untutored, mouth-breathing yahoo.
The second strategy (after spurious self-aggrandizement) "proceeds in the opposite direction. It operates not by inflating the trivial, the mediocre, the perverse, but by attacking, diluting, or otherwise subverting greatness."
We don't have time for a full excursion into the art world, AKA Adventures in Vertical Perception. The point is, something similar has infected the political world, such that our leftist elites simultaneously aggrandize themselves and denigrate the restavus via allegiance to their strange ideas and stranger gods.
Indeed, this is precisely why they did not see Trump coming, nor why they cannot (thankfully) refrain from saying and doing things that will ensure the coming of More Trump.
As mentioned a couple of posts back, Woodrow Wilson was our first progressive political elite to denigrate the Constitution. If even literal-minded idiots such as yourselves can understand it, then it must be pretty vacuous, right? Don't we need a more sophisticated document that only the experts can appreciate and decipher?
Even the cognitively labile Jefferson had sufficient wisdom to recognize that the purpose of our Declaration of Independence was (and is, forever) "Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of," but rather, "to place before mankind the common sense of the subject... it was intended to be an expression of the American mind."
But today, leftists will read Jefferson's comment and notice only that he said MANKIND!, thereby whining about the better man while signaling one's superior virtue.
So it's a whine-win situation, as is true in general of the celebration of liberal victimhood.
[N]othing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in [later] life -- save only this -- that if you work hard and intelligently you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole, purpose of education. --Prof. John Alexander Smith (in Kimball)