23 Comments
Jan 4Liked by Aporia

God, that was bleak!

Because the Social Justice faith was first incubated on the Humanities side of American academia, it's in the debased state of modern Arts & Letters that we can see the beast clearly and in all its glory: dogmatic, fundamentalist, preachy and intolerant, a permanent guilt trip/Struggle Session where the European man and all his works is always in the dock, while an endless procession of "the marginalized" line up to take their turn denouncing him and letting him know how much he hurt their feelings.

But also what's most evident is what's most absent: individual talent and skill, dedication to craft, any sort of esthetic pleasure or imagination, an original vision focused on something larger than the Self and its grievances—all the best parts of art and free expression erased and replaced with the same stale mixture of Marxist dialectical struggle and therapeutic self-esteem.

Thus the first and only purpose of art now is the propagation of the One True Faith and redistribution of prestige to the sacred victim class, with all of culture just a form of social work done for the sake of "Justice" and "Equality".

"Social Justice" is to works of art what feces is to water—one drop makes the whole thing stink.

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My new year's resolution is for you to start your own stack. I will continue to annoy you with this until you block me. Happy New Year.

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author

No need, Aporia exists!

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Thanks, you're too kind to me, and of course I would never block you.

I like playing the background here and there in the comments, but I'm not sure I'd like to be out front—I might just be more Bill Wyman than Mick Jagger.

Cheers and HNY!

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Jesus H Christ I struggled to read this one, but the keeper phrase for me is "children's crusade", which I'm going to appropriate with impunity.

The BBC recently did a documentary series on the history of Disco and its political roots in things like the Stonewall riot. It was fine and interesting until the (mainly black and female) academic contributors started talking about House (as the successor and enduring dance genre) being 'queer'. It was a case of Gell-Mann amnesia because I happen to know a fuck tonne about EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and its thrilling seminal birth in (brilliant black dude) Afrika Bambaataa lifting the melody line of Kraftwerk's (brilliant white dudes) Trans Europe Express. No mention of the sexless, apolitical, androgyne, mixed racial quality of techno and all its offshoots . No understanding of the field on which they're invited to opine. These people are intellectual mediocraties. I feel frustrated and sad when black geniuses who invented truly unifying art are represented by these fools. I'll be publishing a deeper dive on this myself, in due course.

On a separate but related note, is anyone aware of anyone ever translating a modern academic humanities paper, with all its stifling and formulaic language into everyday parlance, to see how insightful or not it really is? If not, I'll do it.

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BBC radio did a similar thing with Drum n Bass. I wanted to listen to their series on it, and halfway into the second episode everything was about queer this and homo that. It was unlistenable and didn’t even cover the relevant musical/tech innovations and influences of the time.

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Interesting and unfortunate. Music has always seemed to me the true 'borderless' and unifying state for all types of human. The zealots seem determined to overlook this.

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I think they want to grab the power of music and bend it to their political purposes. The clearest example of this I've seen is in America, where John Coltrane's music has been relentlessly politicized while the spiritual element has been ignored. John Coltrane said multiple times that his music was NOT political.

People's souls move at the sound of good music, and these cultural philistines want that power, but they can't actually make anything beautiful themselves.

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One day maybe the politicisation of everything will come to be seen as a mental illness, like paranoid schizophrenia.

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Jan 5·edited Jan 5

Not to mention that Planet Rock was produced by a white dude (Arthur Baker), and the beats were programmed by John Robie (another white dude), on his 808 that he brought along to the studio. (It was Bakers idea to reproduce the pattern of Kraftwerks "Numbers" using the 808). It's also debatable whether of not it was actually Bambatta's idea to reproduce the Trans Europe Express synth line, and not Baker's. What's also known is that upon hearing the track, none of the black rappers wanted to appear on it - they were expecting a Rappers Delight style disco backing track, and only performed on it after much cajoling from Arthur Baker.

RE House music - what made it exciting at the time was that the music was actually inclusive. It coalesced out of, and was influenced by many of the 1970's early 80's pop and underground musical trends: Disco, Electro (hip-hop), Italo, European electro-pop, German krautrock, post-punk, (and made on Japanese gear! LOL!). Sure, "queer" (gay) people were a big part of the scene, but so were all the rest of us. At the time, the best clubs playing the music were always "mixed" affairs, and by no means was House/Techno ever considered "queer" music (or, maybe so, only by aging Boomer "rockists" who had no clue?). It was exciting because it was a music that united not just (very current/modern) musical styles/trends of the day, but also nobody cared WHO was in the club, straight/gay/whatever. At least, that's how I remember it, and "I was there, maaaan!".

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I evidently didn't know that much as I thought about Planet Rock haha!

RE your experience of clubbing and perception of the musical ethos, that was mine too. It was striking to me that the nights I played at and the clubs I went to were easily the most 'diverse' and 'inclusive' crowds I'd ever encountered in music. Because no one gave a f**k who anyone was, their heritage, sexuality or even their clothes. In fact, me and my friends (all in our 40s and straight) were regulars at Speedqueen in Leeds, not because it happened to be reputed as THE gay club but because it was reliably fantastic for that 'oneness' that emerges on a genuinely great night. Something that leftishist progressives think they want, but seem hellbent on preventing by dividing people into categories.

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"....art has gone from being political and politicized – things it has always been – to...." I have to demur from this way of seeing things. For a start "politicized" wasn't even a word when I was young. Worthwhile art - whether in word, in music or in paint - was someone's muse, the 'politics' of which they were only dimly aware if at all. Yes there has always been didactic art and it has always been bad art. The idea of art as 'always having been political' sounds to me like an offshoot of some currently fashionable mantras like "the personal is political" and "everything is poltical"....dreadful joyless notions that have - like most of the toxicity in the 21st c. West - emerged from academia and the awful people who now populate its Humanities groves. 'Deconstructors' and other shallow blah blah merchants. End of rant.

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Graham, I agree. I should have written "things it has often been". I do think even without bending to the "everything is political" mantra that we should accept that artists since time immemorial have often had more than pure aesthetic aims. But point taken.

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Yes, and I take your point too. The downside of comment threads is that they need to be kept brief....often too brief to allow for nuances like this.

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Jan 5·edited Jan 5Liked by Aporia

BRAVO! The hypocrisy of the woke establishment is always worth a laugh, but this article had me laughing out loud with every paragraph. Well written, extremely hilarious, and unfortunately highly accurate. A great read. Thank you Bruce Gilley.

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I see much the same in the arts in Britain. There are beacons of hope where artistry is important and the art matters more than the artist, but they are all outside the mainstream press.

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I knew any future I had in the arts was done when I saw the “October Revolution Jazz Festival” for the 100th anniversary of the communist revolution...with NEA funding.

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I recently visited the national gallery in Sao Paolo, Brazil. That place exclusively dealt with all the themes you mentioned in the article. Blacks, indigeneity, and even distancing the arts from western canon. But the subversion was laughable, they included these art pieces in the front, and the more valuables (Rembrandt, Monet, etc) in the back. Truly laughable.

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"Concerns about “how money has infected society” arose from upper class snobs like Martin Luther, alarmed by all the newly-rich peasants splashing out on indulgences. Nothing has changed today except now it is the Upper East Side subscribers to the New York Times bewailing super-yachts when the peasants should properly be appreciating the dropping of live chickens from a helicopter."

😅

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