Sunday, November 02, 2008

I Saw An Odd Assertion Recently

Recently I saw someone -- someone intelligent and well-intentioned -- assert that the G.O.P. and conservatives were, in America, a force opposing the higher and finer bits of culture!

I don't see that at all. For I regard the Classical and Christian heritage of Western Civilization to be endangered, and not by the right, who go out of their way (Trivium homeschooling, private schooling) to get their kids to learn some Latin and to know about the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid and The Canterbury Tales.

If some of them never get past do-re-mi solfege and Shakespeare's comedies, that's still better than the alternative which the left purveys as "culture."

For it seems to me the left is the conscious enemy of what is good and noble in civilization, intent on tearing down all such heritage as being valueless because it was authored by "Dead White Men." They substitute instead screeds written by undisciplined 20th-century authors capable only of vomiting emotion on to the page, with a focus on Feminist Critical Theory, Gay Critical Theory, and so on.

When forced overlong to breathe the rarified air of urban art shows and poetry readings and dinner parties for publishers, one loses patience with the conceit (in both senses) that that crowd ever produced anything of cultural value. It is crap; the more entrenched in revolutionary class warfare it is, the more predictably and egregiously crappy it is.

A whole world of adjectives ("daring," "progressive," "provocative") exist to impute cultrual importance to such tripe as our forefathers would have stuck in a chamberpot. (Fitting, considering how the materials used by some artists are, precisely, those which belong in chamberpots.)

Against this backdrop, someone like Sarah Palin, who would react to it patiently but remain unimpressed by it, is found horribly gauche. Which I find delightful: She causes exactly the people who most need to get over themselves, to have a case of the vapors! This is a wonderful wicked pleasure.

But I myself would see the literary community, the arts community, the academic world, the independent "artsy" film community, and their hangers-on in urban journalism, torn to pieces until they find again their innocence.

For they grow weary of pornography, which is now too mainstream. Coprophilia palls, so they seek a new titillation; Snuff films, maybe, until they're eventually "mainstreamed" like porn. (Given the opportunity afforded by the legal system, it's odd artistically graphic depictions of abortion haven't caught on.)

Tear it apart. Let rebuilding start from innocence. Over decades, our culture could build from innocence toward excellence. But innocence should come first: Let us build on no baser foundation.

I'm not sure how that could be done. But in the meantime if Hank Williams Jr. and Thomas Kinkade grow rich while the pretentious grow obscure, well, I can see some cosmic justice in that. If an unpretentious person should have high political office: Good!

For the person who likes tractor-pulls and country music and formulaic pictures of fairy-cottages (or of Christ) does not lack for the real and wholesome and humble. They may, too, hold a nascent capacity to appreciate J.S.Bach or Rachmaninov, a capacity long destroyed in those who populate the "serious art" community. (Those folk have burned out their sense of taste on the caustic flavors of evil, and to their ears now "only the squalid seems strong.")

This is why intellectuals of the right sort -- those who aren't too much on their high horse -- aren't threatened by the G-rated "low" culture of the G.O.P., represented by reports of Palin family moose hunting in Alaska, or by Charlie Daniels, Sara Evans, and the other Americana musicians playing the Baseball-and-Apple-Pie-Circuit.

Not everyone has developed the ears to listen to Bach: But of those who have not, better the innocence of one who can still listen to Lee Greenwood, who could hear Bach with fresh if naïve ears, than the cultivated taste for poison of those who ape sophistication by becoming prigs.


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