“As artists, as writers, as thinkers, as Americans, as people who love freedom, and the entire West, we need to hit back. Not with violence, with the truth, with our art, with our writing. Once free speech goes, it’s over.”
-Bosch Fawstin, winner
I’ve written before on the distinction between fine art and propaganda. Long story short, art is a poor advocate for policy goals.
But one thing art is much better at is revealing the values and principles of the society that creates it.
Last week in Garland, Texas, there was an attempted mass murder at an art exhibit. “Draw Mohammed,” a display of cartoons, was the subject of a terrorist attack right here in America. Fortunately the gunmen were killed before carrying out their planned massacre.
You’d think such a significant event would be the subject of intense coverage in the media. However, any follow up reporting on what the jihadi group ISIS promises is the first of many attacks in the United States seems to have disappeared from the homepages of news organizations. It’s almost as if they don’t want to report what is actually happening. As if by ignoring it, it will go away.
When reality conflicts with the elite’s preconceived Narrative, they will cling to the Narrative every time, and rely on their media mouthpieces to disseminate supporting disinformation. Right now the Narrative demands “nothing to see here, move along, all is well.”
Sadly, the establishment art world also acts as willing accomplices in this deception, acting in denial of the challenges our culture faces.
The masterful blogger Ace of Spades summed up the contradictory doublethink currently being simultaneously hyped by our cultural elites:
1. To speak of Islamist violence, or to suggest there is a problem in Islam, is racist, and hateful, and irrational, and “islamophobic.”
2. It is so predictable that Islamists will kill you if you say something “anti-Islamic” that victims of murder attempts can be said to have brought their attacks on themselves.
Various establishment figures have lined up to denounce those who would dare express an opinion that differs from the dogmas of the political class. There’s been lots of variations on “I believe in free speech, but…” This hypocrisy is given a veneer of respectability by claiming how out-of-bounds religion is as subject of criticism.
It’s funny. In the art world there seems to be one religion that is an acceptable target for boundary transgressing free speechifying.
It’s always OK to attack Christianity-in fact, it leads to fame, fortune and institutional support!
Max Ernst “The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child before Three Witnesses: Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, and the Painter” An early Dada effort to shock the bourgeoisie
Andres Serrano “Piss Christ” There goes your taxpayer funding
Chris Ofili “The Holy Virgin Mary” rendered with porn and elephant dung
Maurizio Cattelan “The Ninth Hour” A knee slapper for the art elites
So what is going on here? On religion, why does the institutional art world get so aggressive in some cases, and goes full fetal capitulation in others?
Some of it is fear, a grudging unspoken admission of the dangers radical Islam does actually pose to civilization by being willing to use violence to further its goals.
To reward a behavior is to get more of it. So the implication is to get the respect of the art world, there must be threats and destruction.
In 2011 a print of “Piss Christ” was destroyed by Christian protestors in France.
To all the finger pointers and apologists for the attempted “Draw Mohammed” slaughter, this would have to be an acceptable response, right?
So is this what it takes?
Another factor in the art world dhimmitude is sympathy for anti-western values. The establishment has been encouraging restrictions on free expression for quite awhile now, using political correctness to stifle criticism of their agenda. The Orwellian attempts to control language have reached new heights lately with trigger warnings and speech codes.
Supporters of the elites always assumed their repressions were intended to bring about a smug secular society of docile drones.
Instead, into the vacuum they’ve forced into the heart of our culture there comes rushing a bloodthirsty creed of conquest straight out of the middle ages, coming to kill gays, oppress women, and enforce a state religion on everyone. Our so-called pragmatic leaders are behaving as if they were powerless against this onslaught.
By the way, some of these same leaders and their oligarch masters wouldn’t mind ruling over a conquered, Islamified populace. They believe their wealth and power would grant them immunity from the demands of Muslim culture, while the people would be more subservient under the control of ruthless radicals.
But most damning in all this are those who are willing to stifle free speech just to fit in. There is a big element of snobbery at play here, as there always is in the tiny game of thrones the commercialized contemporary art world plays at.
The weak sister art world knows there’s lots of money and status to be gained for even junior members of the greedy power cult that dominates our government, media, and academia. So the art world conforms.
Yet again Ace summarizes nicely:
This is about class. This is all about class.
This is about, specifically, the careerist, cowardly, go-along-to-get-along mores of the Upper Middle Class, the class of people whose parents were all college educated, and of course are college educated themselves; the class that dominates our thought-transmitting institutions (because non-college educated people are more or less shut out of this industry).
It is a class which is deathly afraid of social stigma, and lives in class-based fear being grouped with the wrong people, and which is more interested in Career, quite frankly, than in the actual tradecraft of that Career, which is clarity of thought and clarity of expression.
Thus, our institutions of thought propagation are dominated by the very people who can be easily cowed by the Social Justice Warriors, and who will, therefore, adjust their speech in order to not run afoul of the thoughtless — and frequently lunatic — thugs of the censorious left.
The very people we need to be most immune to the menaces of stigma, and the blandishments of career advancement, are, due to the absolute primacy of the Upper Middle Class imperative of advancing one’s career and avoiding scandal, stigma, and controversy, the very people most sensitive to such distortions.
Here are the simple facts of the matter, with no need of maligning Ms. Gellar:
Ms. Gellar believes, as almost all on the right claim to believe, that free speech should in fact be free, but that speech is not in fact free, due to the intolerable threats of a determined and lunatic religious minority set on imposing their alien laws of blasphemy against us.
Ms. Gellar acts, as almost all on the right claim that we should act, in defiance of benighted, medieval religious zealots who would forbid her from acting by threat of violence.
Ms. Gellar was, along with all her fellow confreres, the target of an actual assassination plot by heavily-armed jihadists determined to murder her and others present for daring to act like Americans while within the borders of the state formerly called America.
These are the facts. We need not add more to these facts simply to Signal our continuing loyalty to the Upper Middle Class consensus that keeps us employed and welcome at DC functions…
Americans, acting under the influence of America, were fucking shot at by crazed religious cultists seeking to impose a cancerous religious lunacy on America.
One does not “support” someone’s right to free speech by name-calling them and advertising how far one believes they fall outside the smug Upper Middle Class (leftist-dominated) Consensus.
One supports free speech by supporting those who speak freely.
I am so disgusted by how so many alleged thinkers seem to care more about social positioning than actual thought…
Are we here to talk about ideas and principles, or are we here to secure position and advantage?
A woman spoke.
Men with guns shot at her for speaking.
Do we really need to take an “on the one hand, on the other hand” approach here…
The current dominant class, the class that controls the political-media establishment, is this Upper Middle Class, leftism-inflected consensus, and until people can begin seeing this and seeing past it, and until they can begin making their first loyalty to Idea and Principle, which are universal and eternal, rather than Class and Cult, which are nothing but happenstance and ego, we will continue having an “opposition” which continues genuflecting to leftist conformity rather than standing up for ideas.
I believe that far too many ideas we have are non-ideas, things we’ve never actually thought through, but are simply Class Assumptions, and that we are all too afraid to go against our herd, our tribe, and start questioning some goddamned Class Assumptions.
So here we are, at a very dangerous moment, when those who should be speaking out most strongly for free speech are trying to make censorship acceptable, and even hip. As the mask slips off of more of these fuckers and they indulge their inner fascist, the more important it will be that they be rebuked for their betrayal of human potential.
Founding father Ben Franklin gets the final words:
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”