COMMENTARY: The Doublethink Strategy of the Cultural Elitists


Hack Conceptual Artist Tracey Emin kisses up to UK Prime Minister David Cameron

“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you don’t understand the desired outcome, the actions make no sense.

One of the most controversial and least talented artists of the global art scene routinely receives the full force of establishment institutional support, including from a supposedly conservative government.

Tracey Emin is a notorious figure in England. She is an icon of the Conceptual Art movement that has done so much to destroy the credibility of elitist culture for anyone who has a life outside of the Postmodern cocoon.

Emin’s an artist who can’t draw; naturally the powers that be named her Professor of Drawing at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of the Arts.


Tracey Emin seriously cannot draw

Emin’s an artist reputed to be radical; so of course of one her “artworks” ( a trite sentence fragment converted into a neon sign by some hired craftsmen) is featured prominently at No. 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of the Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron.


Any passion at all would be nice

Emin’s an artist who is known for being crude and transgressive; so it is obvious why the British Consulate General New York just chose her to judge a portrait contest of Queen Elizabeth II.


God save the Queen-we mean it, man

Looking over these developments, you might be puzzled how a practitioner of such dysfunctional ideas ever gained so much recognition. There’s a couple of unpleasant alternatives, each of which are equally credible.

First of all, it’s a sign of the last days for the pretense that there is anything really daring or challenging about today’s big money art world. The omnipresent counter culture is left without a legitimate culture to counter. The cutting edge is dull. The redundant repetitions of an avant-garde that is no longer advancing are playing out in a tiny echo chamber with a very expensive price of admission.

Presumptuous and privileged high society adopting someone like Emin, who made her mark by supposedly being so biting, reveals how safely toothless she really is.

But still, what’s in it for them, the new aristocracy of the well-connected? Entrenched interests like this never support anything that doesn’t work to their favor. They are beyond any need to look cool to the masses, and no one in their right mind takes the junk Emin offers as having any actual artistic merit.  There is another agenda at work here.

Once you realize the arrogant ruling class believes tearing down the traditions and standards of Western civilization will cement their grasp on unaccountable power, the promotion of Emin as the pinnacle of artistic achievement becomes understandable. Hyping soulless, unskilled art has a toxic, weakening effect on society as a whole. Conceptual art is a tool of oppression.

To further expand on this idea, I’m reposting an article I wrote for the Western Free Press in March 2015. It explains the Orwellian efforts behind the elevation of mindless attention seeking as an attempted substitute for values, achievements and principles-as well as the growing global movement to overthrow the tyranny of elitist collusion and consensus.


“If human equality is to be ever averted—if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently—then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.”

—George Orwell, 1984


The timing couldn’t have been better. Days after my last article on how the establishment art world is practicing the manipulations traditionally used by confidence game swindlers, British celebrity Tracey Emin’s piece My Bed made headlines for being auctioned off for millions. The fleecing of marks by the systematic Long Con of the corrupted culture industry rolls on unabated.

Tracey Emin is little known in America, outside of artsy circles. I get the impression it’s different in England, where she’s more of a tabloid figure, notoriously milking the old shock-the-bourgeoisie poses so dear to the moneyed culture elites. My Bed is simply a collection of Emin’s dirty linens and assorted refuse moved from her home into a museum, and proclaimed to be cutting edge art. This gesture was what first got her noticed as an art world player.

Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' To Be Auctioned At Christie's

The $4 Million Mattress

My Bed can be seen as emblematic of the non-art favored by pretentious metropolitans these days, an unskilled accumulation of dingy objects supposedly transmuted into art by the alchemy of dislocation. In a home the collection of soiled belongings would just be low grade squalor. Move them into a gallery or museum, and the theory is the new context should apparently spark some amazing mental gymnastics of Questioning and Challenging and Transgressing. It’s a pathetic substitute for artistic achievement, but it’s about all the current ersatz-intelligentsia can offer up.

How did an accumulator of debris earn the establishment accolades which lead to such windfalls? In all the breathless arts coverage she receives, it seems there’s more attention focused on Emin’s bad girl shtick instead of the actual results of her attempts at art. The emphasis is always on confabulating the “controversial” personal reputation and behavior with the true merits of her creativity, or the lack thereof.

Emin advanced her career with media-friendly drunken antics, and by cozying up to power players, rather than making worthwhile art. She made a name for herself by behaving as a kind of pandering clown for the glitterati, a predictable freak show for our would-be ruling class, feeding into the establishment’s most precious clichés. She demonstrates the artist as a decadent tool of personal and societal destruction. She flatters the elitists’ inflated sense of themselves as liberated forward thinkers, while at the same affirming for them that their sordid, debased natures is the final truth of the human condition.

The phenomena of a Tracey Emin is a codification of the worst traits in contemporary society: plutocratic influence hawking a type of nihilism, all tarted up with tawdry narcissism and brazen incompetence.

Watching interviews with Emin, I get the sense she must know on some level the falsity of her position. She displays a kind of rictus in her face, a deadness around her eyes. It’s an expression commonly seen on those with guilty consciences and lots to hide, like Mafia capos, or Lois Lerner. For an artist that likes to proclaim on the supposedly intimate and honest nature of her productions, it’s a jarring incongruity. For those who understand there’s more to honesty than a boastful list of confessions and mind numbing self-absorption, Emin’s rigidly guarded demeanor comes as no surprise.

Emin has now reached the pinnacle of what the elitist mindset offers to its supplicants. Famous for being famous, anything she does is infused with automatic significance based on sheer Name Brand Recognition, no real achievement required. The cult of celebrity cultivated by the establishment makes for a great distraction, especially when the selected elevated display no particular talent.

When quality and accomplishment are no longer factors in who receives institutional support, it becomes a scramble for notice. It’s a matter of who can most offend the disdained others, make the most noise, kiss the most rings and/or asses; a game for those most willing to do whatever it takes to win the lottery of who the self-proclaimed gate keepers wave through to join the privileged circle. Emin, with her toilet stall quality doodles and screeds, is now a Royal Academy Professor of Drawing and on her way to knighthood. This is a clear demonstration that those in charge have lost all perspective of what is meaningful in art and life.

The empty pursuit of attention has nothing to do with the power of creativity and its skillful expression. The highlighting of efforts by figures like Emin is indicative of the extreme poverty of thought and insight that characterizes our contemporary institutions.  The managerial technocrats that have seized control of our societies through administrative work in government, academia, media, and the arts have proven to be very, very bad at their jobs—but only if the assumption is their role is supposed to be providing quality service, support and facilities in the greater public interest. If a more base motivation is assumed, the actions of the so-called elites makes a lot more sense.

Author George Orwell was onto the techniques of these manipulative malefactors decades ago. After his experiences on the losing side of the Spanish Civil War, Orwell recognized the danger of the enemy within, greedy control freaks that yearn for domination. Their goals are not to enhance the greater good, but to accumulate unaccountable power for themselves.

Much of the energies of the establishment are focused on creating a double standard, holding others accountable for behavior they don’t practice themselves.  It’s manifested in ways like how anchor Brian Williams told repeated lies about his role in current events and expected he should still be accepted as a responsible journalist, or how serial sexual predators like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy could be hailed as champions of women’s rights. Orwell wrote about these deliberate disconnects between actions and results in in his totalitarian how-to book 1984: “These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in DOUBLETHINK. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely.”

The scourge of postmodern relativism as a cultural force is no accident. It’s a top-down driven campaign,  the result of a cabal of well-connected interests trying to remove any kind of objective standards that could lend perspective and inflict consequences for the lies, manipulations, and abuses practiced as they try to maintain control over the rest of us. Anyone allowed to move into this privileged New Class has to adhere to these deceitful practices. As Orwell wrote, “To arrest progress and freeze history at a chosen moment…this time, by conscious strategy, the High would be able to maintain their position permanently….The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists and professional politicians…”

The expectations of these elitists is that they’ve won the war by selecting only useful idiots or fellow travelers to promote as representative of our culture. Orwell noted, “The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors…all the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of the Party and prevent the true nature of present day society from being perceived.”

And so, to demonstrate abeyance to the new overlords, there comes strange Doublethink spectacles like Emin’s non-artwork My Bed selling for millions through a once-reputable auction house. The art world has been co-opted and weaponized, turned against fundamental truths in order to serve the false narrative of the usurpers’ authority and superiority.




These ideas are all of a piece. The promotion of postmodern and conceptual art by ruling class totalitarians is an effort to tell society, “2+2=5 because we said so, so sit down and shut up.” Well, we won’t be quiet anymore.

Ironically, the most significant historical legacy Emin leaves—besides being a prime representative of a minor and decadent era of art—may be a slur she used as she started her desperate scramble up the kleptocratic ladder.

In the 1990s Emin had been associating with an independent band of artists and writers called the Medway Poets, who she met through her boyfriend at the time, punk rock Renaissance man Billy Childish. She apparently lifted her whole autobiographical angle towards her art based on his influence, though without adapting aspects such as his plaintive humility and dogged, workmanlike manner.

Childish was working away at painting, wrestling with the medium, trying to make it show his own vision. As Emin sold out to the superficial stylings of conceptual art, she started to mock Billy’s more traditional approach. “Your paintings are stuck, you are stuck!” she sneered. “Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!”

When Billy shared this story with painter and writer Charles Thomson, Thomson recognized in it the pattern the modern cycle of art movements have followed. The forces of the establishment, seeing a new philosophy appearing, attempt to destroy the threat to their cultural monopoly with insults. Legendary art movements like Impressonism and Fauvism were named after the negative criticism they initially attracted.

Based on social climbing Emin’s preemptive abuse, these two principled and idealistic men identified Stuckism as a cultural force-a populist, open source art movement that undermines the pretentions and entitlements of the contemporary creative classes.

Of course, the institutions have made every attempt to stifle and suppress any progress of this radical rejection of their smug superiority, but nevertheless the movement quickly spread worldwide. With 236 Stuckist groups currently founded in 52 countries, the grassroots have gone global, reflecting the widespread hunger for an alternative to the empty trash served up by elitist cultural institutions.

Childish and Thomson quickly realized the often crude and provocative works of the Stuckists were just the opening salvo of a greater reformation of the culture they named Remodernism. The establishment squandered the opportunities the Modern age created by trying to twist the course of art to fit their ideology and agenda. Remodernism learns from the mistakes and victories of the past, building on traditions of individualistic integrity and vision.  It’s a game changer, completely challenging the priorities and processes of the contemporary art world. Remodernism acknowledges the soul. It seeks to make art about communion and connection again, instead of a signifier of snobbish social poses-the Bizzaro kind of phony erudition that crowned Tracey Emin, and those like her, the artists of their generation.

The story of the twenty-first century will be about the dismantling of centralized power. The longer the current elitists attempt to cling to their privileges by deceptions, manipulations and force, the harsher the ultimate corrections will end up being.

But an easy place to start undermining their pompous authority is by daring to state the obvious: moving dirty laundry into a museum doesn’t make it into art.

The reign of controlled insanity-officially condoned and practiced doublethink as the only game in town-is over.

8/12: Welcome Instapundit readers! Check out some of my other posts to see more about the renewal of the arts. -RB


40 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: The Doublethink Strategy of the Cultural Elitists

  1. Excellent. The only thing I could add is that such art of the double-thinkers is that they seek out art that does not reflect themselves back to them. They can gaze upon it, talk about it, praise it, without having to question or be moved to self-reflection.

  2. I routinely hope and pray that the manure spreaders like Emin will get a richly deserved come-uppance but I doubt she will be put out to the pasture in which she belongs. Thanks for the article.

  3. We are at the verge of a major shift of the way art is made and viewed. The valueless art of the establishment will be exposed for the facade that it is. It may take a generation to clear out all the elitist rot from our institutions, but it has to start somewhere.

  4. excellent article. ayn rand explained this many years ago. it was her, so far, unmatched revealing of the philosophy of the deep leadership of the Moderns in the extraordinary scene where Ellsworth Toohey explains himself to Peter Keating near the end of her best work, The Fountainhead.

  5. Anyone who thinks that Billy Childish has ever experienced or expressed any kind of ‘plaintive humility’ has obviously never met the man. Nonetheless, an excellent and thought provoking article, which I’ve shared.

  6. I suppose I was reacting to Billy Childish’s comments that I’ve read, about his own amateur status and difficulties with others-but you are right, even statements like those could be delivered like boasts. Hard to get tone from seeing it written, it’s true I haven’t met him. Thanks for the insights, and for sharing the article!

  7. Some interesting artists I had not seen before, thanks! There is lots of quality out there-though you’d never know from most of the works hyped by the arts establishment.

  8. No real talent maybe but can’t fault her strategy. She has presented modernism as a sham. Plus a timely bit of gender politics (not mentioned in the article)

  9. True about the gender politics, it fits the narrative. What’s a sham is the treacherous cartel that have tried to redefine art to suite their own corrupt purposes. These are the ones that need some creative destruction unleashed upon them.

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