Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Right Wing and Culture

The right both promotes and despises corporate culture. They promote it for obvious reasons – profitability and social control, but their more literate members despise it because they think they are above it. They idolize a “high culture”, but have little understanding of it.

I will use culture with a capital “C” to separate what could be called “high culture”, “serious culture” or “folk culture” from the mass of corporatist mind control twaddle.

To be a consistent reactionary, one must reject the whole of Modernity, for Culture after the late 19th Century is hostile to bourgeois society in both its traditional and managerial forms. The writers and artists are all rebels in one manner or another, even if they espouse no overt politics. How unfortunate for the racists that jazz is Black music!

How can any winger honestly claim to love Neruda, Picasso, Bob Dylan, or Miles Davis?

Ayn Rand (1) and Adolph Hitler were consistent cultural reactionaries. Both rejected 20th Century Culture in its entirety and saw it as some kind of nefarious plot to undermine white capitalist society.)

The right winger is forced to be a philistine or live in a state of denial. For if you examine the great cultural figures too closely, they were all opposed to the reactionaries of their day. Rightists who claim to appreciate contemporary Culture, love what they ought to hate and do so by pretending it isn't what it is. Or they live in complete and unrecognized contradiction like Eva Braun dancing to swing music.

Thus to be a reactionary is to be tormented by Culture. One's self-image is one of superiority over the bohemians, leftists, and people of color, but these are the very people who made that Culture. If the philistine option is chosen, one cannot help but feel culturally inferior, no matter how much the “intelektuls” and “crazy artists” are sneered at.

Artists are both the shamans and mine canaries of our society. Creating something new means going beyond the old, means breaking barriers. Creation is thus an act of rebellion and thus in its very essence is in stark contradiction to the reactionary who wishes to turn the clock back. Artists are society's mine canaries in that they warn, often decades in advance, of serious problems within the system.

1. Early in the twentieth century... works purporting to be art were created that were not, in fact, art at all... In many respects, it was more akin to madness, or to fraud, than to art.



Anonymous Mayones said...

There is no evidence to support your silly speculation that the right does not enjoy populist folk culture.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

You should take a remedial reading course. I said that if they like folk culture they exist in a contradiction like Eva Braun dancing to swing music

8:08 AM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

The right can't even claim country western music, except for a sliver of it.

Hollywood is progressive overall, going back to Upton Sinclair for governor days. The attacks on him, moved Hollywood left.

Ayn Rand's ideas are anti-human. A baby alone in the wilderness can't survive like a cub lion can.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Wouldn't this post be great on my blog?

12:51 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Go ahead on it Ren! Also my next article is going to be on Rand.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

It should also be pointed out that the small minority of artists who are right wing are still rebels. They are in essence anti-capitalist and anti-bourgeois. Think of Celine and "Journey to the End of the Night" or Eliot's "Wasteland". No one except third raters and hacks celebrates capitalism. An excellent work on the radicalism hidden within ostensibly conservative writers is "Culture and Society" by Raymond Williams

8:19 AM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

With the decline in capitalism, all art is on the decline, in this post modernist world.

8:15 PM  

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