Skip to comments.Post-Modern Postmortem (An article from our new Freeper-run literary magazine!)
Posted on 01/02/2003 11:47:35 AM PST by Antoninus
On January 10, 1963, A. S. Herlong, a Democrat congressman from Florida read a strange list, known as the Current Communist Goals, into the Congressional Record. Originally lifted from a book called The Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen, the list seemed at the time to be an alarmist sequence of unattainable military, political, and cultural threats posed by international communism against the free world. Most intriguing among these are the cultural goals:
Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.
Control art critics and directors of art museums. Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.
Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
Now, whether or not one is willing to don the tinfoil hat and buy into the notion that communist partisans have been covertly working toward these goals for the past forty years, it is undeniable that atheism, amorality, vulgarity, and emptiness have conquered the arts.
Shapeless, awkward, and meaningless forms now dominate the landscape. Walking through the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo several years ago, I was dismayed to see the sculpture scattered around campusrusting hulks of iron that bore little resemblance to anything outside of a scrap metal yard.
Ugliness, repulsiveness, and meaninglessness in graphic art have also become a plague. Blasphemy is considered chic. Works that combine blasphemy with scatological themes such as Piss Christ or The Holy Virgin Mary smeared with elephant feces are especially treasured by our post-modern academia and cultural elite.
Literature, cinema, radio, and television are not unaffected by this scourge. Nihilism, atheism, and obscenity are common fixtures in all of these media to an extent that would have been unimaginable forty years ago.
Architecture suffers as well. One need not be an art critic to realize that the brand new $192 million Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in Los Angeles is an ill-shapen megalithic monstrosity. It is little more than a warehouse with a bell-towerand an ugly warehouse at that. And when one considers the beautiful 19th century Romanesque cathedral it replacedwith its ties to two millennia of ecclesiastical artistic traditionthe tragedy becomes complete.
These post-modern atrocities have made such headway not through any merit of their own, but through a surrender of the field by those who should naturally oppose them. The armies of artistic tolerance have decreed that the most awful filth should be given a fair showing and in many cases, pride of place. Not wanting to be viewed as intolerantthat most egregious of all post-modern sinsthe decent, polite mass of society has patted them on the head like spoiled children. We dare not raise any objection lest a temper tantrum of scurrilous accusations and epithets result. Well, after forty years of shock, junk, vulgarity, and nonsense, the bloom is clearly off the fungus. The spectacular success of movies like Gladiator, Braveheart, and The Sixth Sense points toward a yearning for works with positive messages and unmistakable nods toward history, tradition, and Judeo-Christian spiritualitythree taboos that are hardly ever addressed in post-modern schlock art and literature, except as objects of ridicule. Rather than continue to whine and complain about the dominance of post-modernism, the time is ripe for our side to counter-attack.
The Tarpeian Rock is a foot-soldier in that counter-attack. In this, our inaugural issue, you will find work from authors who are unknown or underappreciated. Our objective is to present works of high quality that are enjoyable, clever, thought-provoking, uplifting, humorous, and ultimately gratifying. We were highly intolerant when it came to selecting works for inclusion. We hope that you will read the works herein with the same discerning eye.
If you appreciate what weve done here, wed love to hear from email@example.com. If youd like to give us an earful of petulant post-modern absurdist free verse, please use our alternate email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now removing tinfoil hat .
Well, I like the idea of this.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.