Wednesday, October 29, 2008

this could wait till next Wednesday, but I'll forget: one more note on beauty and politics

"Terry Eagleton has said that '[s]ometime around the turn of the nineteenth century, the left fatally surrendered the aesthetic to the right,' leaving the left 'doubly disabled,' caught in a dilemma between cutting itself off from many of the people’s most important real aspirations and expressing them in a language 'confiscated by political reaction' (34)."

—Rodger Cunningham, in a re-evaluation of his book on Appalachian culture, Apples on the Flood: Minority Discourse and Appalachia, quoting Eagleton’s essay “Nationalism: Irony and Commitment.” in Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said, Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 1990. 23-39.

As one who has long campaigned against the Left's devotion to puritanical plug-ugliness as being somehow more in touch with the essential ugliness of the life of "the people," I hold up the exquisite aesthetic qualities of Shepard Fairey's HOPE poster, which has been productively stolen by the people for use in contexts far beyond its original purpose as an Artists for Obama image:

—Wait, I don't have to find a jpeg and insert it here, do I? y'all know what that poster looks like, even if you haven't seen Robert Indiana's re-invention of HOPE in terms of his famous LOVE image.


Jeremy Abernathy said...

That's something I've been struggling with lately. So many shows I see seem to reinforce the idea that beauty and political message are incompatible. It's a little disheartening because there are few examples close at hand to prove otherwise...but surely (as one vice-presidential candidate put it)

Say it ain't so, Joe.

littlejoke said...

See next post. Illustrations only.