Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Salami Tactics and "Challenging the Notion..."

I was just reading a blurb about Spike Lee's upcoming, Chiraq, and a cliche jumped off the page and poked me in the eye, namely the advertisement that Mr. Lee's movie, "challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world." That innocent Hollywood spin translates into, "These things aren't what you think they are. Here is what race, sex, and violence really are." It looks like a typical movie teaser, and it is certainly the most common way liberals signify and advertise their art. Their pieces are always "transgressing bounds" and "defying conventions" and "redefining concepts."It's usually just marketing hype, but their intent is serious because the act of definition, having boundaries, and using conventions and concepts are processes of defining the world. To change the former is to change the latter.

Such is why some conservatives have been so wrong to ignore culture and why others so stern deciding on what and in what culture they will raise their children. What we see informs our sense of life, i.e. the way the world seems to work. What isn't glorified, isn't glorious, but more so, what isn't depicted, isn't.

By the salami tactics of the left–one slice at a time–every tenet is challenged until it is meaningless. One by one the values are sliced away. Duchamp challenged beauty in sculpture, Buñuel narrative in film, Marcuse sexual morality, Zinn facts in history, and Derrida reason itself. The result has been the shredding of common culture both by the challenging of form–that is, traditional patterns of invention–and concept, especially burying or by teaching and criticizing into oblivion the old works which affirmed the culture from which they came.

Such doesn't mean that art is propaganda, but that it should with love, vitality, and enthusiasm affirm life. Sometimes the path is tortuous and violent, but it is, art tells us, a path worth the struggle. Perhaps the concern for conservatives then, is not the challenge, but the response.

Great art requires civilization: tradition, training, discipline, reflection, philosophy. Do we have those things in sufficient degree today to expect a renaissance?

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