I’ve enjoyed the work of Robert Crumb for many years, an appreciation that grew after I saw the masterful documentary “Crumb” in the 1990s. Turns out he was actually the most normal person in his family, who would have thought it? Crumb’s works feature amazing draftsmanship, fearless self-exploration, and especially in his earlier art, incredible visionary imagery.
In the article above Crumb, now a resident of France, comments on how some of his colleagues were butchered for daring to defy a growing threat to Western civilization’s traditions of free expression. Crumb is no hypocrite here; despite the half-joking disavowal in his drawing, he had the guts to produce something that literally could get him killed, all in the name of freedom.
After all, who is there to protect him? The elites that have seized control of our institutions have made it clear they have no intention of providing effective resistance to the forces that would inflict a new dark ages onto the world.
It’s hard to say whether this is because our corrupted cultural institutions actually fear the forces of violence and extremism that they have brought into our societies, or whether they actually consider these malefactors as allies in their quest to destroy the culture of the West.
Which brings me to this article from a few years ago, which sadly is more relevant than ever:
Among the most cherished notions of some art establishment types is how they are some kind of risk taking radicals dedicated to freeing society from injustice. Nothing could be further from the truth. When faced with real oppression and violence in the world today they somehow manage to remain mute and disengaged.
It’s a pretend activism, all pose, no substance. These shameful double standards makes them enablers of tyranny.
Key quote: “If you listen to artists, writers, academics and journalists, you would think that thousands of them operate in a radical underground. They say the right things. They ‘speak truth to power’, ‘transgress boundaries’, and all the rest of it. But you will have noticed that they are careful only to challenge religions that won’t hurt them (Christianity) and governments that won’t arrest them (democracies).”
Fearing bullies means they are winning. Determination and truthfulness are needed for real justice. Whether the establishment art world is failing to rise to the existential challenge of these times because of blatant cravenness or stealthy collusion doesn’t matter, because the end result is the same: they are useless. It also means there is even more need to speak and act in the name of freedom.