Skip to comments.Can Conservatives Win Back the Arts? (American values are coming back into the culture)
Posted on 12/17/2010 7:49:03 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Despite the Lefts best efforts, conservative and American values are coming back into the culture.
After years of declaiming against the Lefts domination of our culture, Im startled and delighted to discover that the tide is beginning to turn. My fellow conservatives should take note and lend a hand.
For the last three decades or so, the usual conservative approach to the arts has been threefold: We complain about whats being produced; we fret about the influence it will have; then we give up with a shrug.
We complain because it seems to us the anti-American Left has made of the arts its private fiefdom. Moviemakers produce film after film decrying the anti-Communist blacklists of the 50s, all the while blacklisting and slandering conservative filmmakers and their points of view. Critics give prizes and praise to second-rate leftist works from dreadful tripe such as The Color Purple in the 80s to the recent slew of soporific and dishonest antiWar on Terror propaganda flicks such as In The Valley of Elah and Green Zone while ignoring or attacking works with which they disagree. Public funding is available to display desecrated crucifixes as art, while art that might be offensive to Muslims such as the novel Jewel of Medina or the TV satire South Park is censored with barely a murmur.
We fret because we fear that ignorant people especially the young will take leftist art as truth, essentially giving the Left the power to rewrite history and reality in the American mind. Perhaps the next generation will come to believe that Oliver Stones absurd but well-made JFK tells the true story of the presidents assasination or that American operatives and soldiers routinely committed the sorts of atrocities depicted in Rendition or Redacted. As former ambassador Joseph Wilson boasted about the contrafactual heroic impression given of him and his wife, Valerie Plame, in the new film Fair Game: For people who have short memories or dont read, this is the only way they will remember the period.
Finally, we shrug and give up because the matter does not seem urgent. Leftist arts may poison peoples minds over time, but jihadists want to kill us right now. Oliver Stone and Michael Moore may make hypocritical millions attacking capitalism, but politicians are dismantling free markets as we speak. And even if the arts are urgent, most of us arent artists or critics, so what can we do?
The complain-fret-shrug approach has become so habitual among conservatives that it blinds us to the astonishing change thats been taking place. Despite the Lefts best efforts, conservative and American values are actually coming back into the culture.
We should ease off on the complaining. For the last few years, movies promoting the Western ideals of self-reliance, morality, and faith have scored at the box office see The Incredibles (If everyone is special, that means no one is), The Blind Side (Who would have thought wed have a black son before we knew a Democrat?), and Toy Story 3 (a takedown of the nanny state). They have also been more innovative and creative 300, Gran Torino, No Country for Old Men than the products of the desiccated and outmoded Left. Our best novelist (Tom Wolfe) and two greatest English-speaking playwrights (Tom Stoppard and David Mamet) are now all open about their political conservatism. And new top-notch mainstream TV shows (Justified, Blue Bloods) have arrived to offset the lefty Law and Order and Jon Stewart.
Equally important, an alternative critical infrastructure is starting to grow up in support of conservative culture. John Nolte at Andrew Breitbarts Big Hollywood website has repeatedly put leftist Hollywood on the defensive by exposing their bias. And even as other newspapers shorten or delete their serious culture pages, the center-right Wall Street Journal has expanded its coverage with an excellent Saturday Review section.
We should stop fretting about the consequences of lefty art, too. The arts, to paraphrase Shakespeare, are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. The conservative shift in their tone shows that the American consciousness has begun to digest the lessons of 9/11: that the Lefts relativistic multiculturalism is a lie; that freedom is better than slavery; and that therefore those systems that support freedom constitutional democracy, capitalism, and enlightened religion are better than those that dont.
Lastly, we should not shrug and give up, because theres a lot we can do to support and encourage this nascent phenomenon. A conservative community that has set up think tanks to consider governance, law, and economics needs to give thought and support to the culture, as well. Grants, conferences, and awards for artists who know the value of faith, morality, and liberty could counter the present cultural support system that helps almost exclusively the illiberal Left. And rather than allowing the monotonously left-wing PBS and NPR to monopolize highbrow cultural discussion, conservatives need to establish their own outlets to reclaim the elite and intellectual audience the way Fox News has reclaimed the rank and file.
Most of all, the ordinary consumer of culture needs to remember that word-of-mouth for good works that have been ignored or unfairly attacked by lefty critics can provide a powerful and effective counterbalance.
The fight for the culture may not always seem urgent, but it truly is. Arguments are won and lost in hearts and minds long before theyre ever decided at the polls. The arts not only reflect the conscience of the hour, they also shape the conscience of the age.
Andrew Klavans latest novel is The Identity Man.
Just a few of the communist goals that come into play here.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. 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.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
I believe, American WOMEN are key to any cultural changes whether positive or negative.
How about the MEN ?
Both men and women. Much of what women do is what men want and vice versa. In my great grandmother’s day, few women were looking for a bad boy.
I’d be happy to see non-politicized arts and film.
I was thinking that, as consumers, women make up a larger group and can successfully boycott anything (MSM, trends, ideas, politicians, etc.) which is incompatible with wholesome family life, schools, children.
Men could do so as well, but I think women would be more effective at it.
Spending decisions in families are usually commanded (at least guided) by women so they would be better cultural dissidents. In a capitalist system, dollars talk and consumers are powerful.
Also, women in an open society like ours, are free to choose the kind and quality of their domestic arrangements....for example, when to marry, to whom, etc. These are choices almost wholly controlled by women.
It IS possible to resurrect the preference for child rearing WITHIN wedlock, and that would be a giant step forward
In November 2010, I outed myself...... I declared to the world I am an artist. My days as a working engineer are past. I offered my works in silver for sale.
I have endured years of lefties in classes and forums and galleries. I spent two weeks in a School taking a metals course taught by a tenured San Francisco lesbian come back to her mountain roots.
I endured the presentation of a woman who made he reputation pumping air between two cherry red steel plates welded together. She delivered the presentation at the forge dressed chic ly in all black Carharts and a single string of pearls. She travels the world demonstrating this skill.
I endured the whining of a Fine Arts masters degree resident artist who although a very accomplished woodworker was complaining bitterly because after 4 years of undergraduate fine arts work and two years of Masters study and three years as a resident artist, she was being cast off into the real world. The real world that placed no value at all on her artistic vision of a dialogue between lines and dots drawn with an HB pencil on egg tempra painted door and window frames. She could not find a job and was being kicked out of the school.
On a tour of the glass studios, I heard the department chair ask “ what is the difference between a large Domino’s Pepperoni pizza and a journeyman glass artist? The pizza will feed a family of four”
I am discovering what they all learned..... artists starve
I agree with you. It seems just a few years ago that Dan Quayle was the target of the venom of the left-wing media for suggesting that celebrating single motherhood via “Murphy Brown” was not a good thing for the culture. Now, the very weird Angelina Jolie is so much the ubericon that she can sell the photos of her new babies for $4 and $5 million.
And trailing along behind Angelina and her unorthodox family is Brad Pitt - the man who dumped America’s sweetheart to become a sperm donor and diaper bag carrier.
Unless you are pulling my leg, I say you can always go back to being an engineer.
You can still be an artist ( AS A HOBBY ).
Unless like MichaelAngelo, you find a rich patron to subsidize what you do.
Keep taxpayer money and government patronage and promotion out of the arts and let the “artists” go where they will.
That is, as long as they do not infringe or intrude on the freedom, the property and the rights of others.
Nothing like a good old flick for American values. Here’s “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” part 1 (the rest are there too).
Good for you. Glad you came out on the right side.
You make a wonderful point here - that the right should use its purchasing power to influence the culture. I have been doing this for some time and try to encourage others to do so as well. Don’t go to films that star know GOP hater, George Clooney. Anytime you can see the product for free, go ahead, but don’t help to make people like this richer.
I see ads on TV which offend me - such as the “lame parents” Toyota ad - I won’t buy a Toyota because of it. I won’t buy the products of firms that advertise themselves as “being green”. I don’t disagree with sensible environmental conservatism, but I do disagree with corporations supporting the leftist agenda with their advertising dollars.
I think the issue is that the anti-war and pro-commie movies are made with the intention of being anti-war or pro-commie. Most movies that reflect American values set out to tell a good story and have the values show up, but I dont think they set out to make a pro-America movie. Has some parallels with the free market.
The line from The Incredibles is cool, but without seeing the movie, I dont know if it was a pro-West movie, or just a superhero movie that has ideals I agree with. However, the quote from the Blind Side is probably a slight at Republicans as one of the overwhelming themes is the family who takes in the black kid is morally better than the familys Republican friends. Also, how can you live in Memphis and not meet a Democrat or a black guy before you turn 40?
I also like the show Justified, but one of the bad guys uses Christianity as a front for bombing and making money. I dont think we should worry about lib programming, just watch what you like. But just because a movie or song has a line in it that fits with your belief system doesnt mean the movie reflects your beliefs.
Hollywood is ***t and so is ALL of TV. They all supported the coup and there is tons of Saudi money sloshing around for Islamification just like what happened in the UK.
Your response is emblamatic of the ignorance and philistinism that characterize the conservative movement, and part of the reason that the left has total control of arts and culture.
I, too, had to endure a slew of artistically challenged "teachers" when I attended college, but my field was (and is) the literary arts.
I remember the first day of an advanced poetry writing class. My female professor told everyone to close their eyes, get down on the carpet, and "feel" the earth on their bellies (to get in touch with their inner muse, I guess).
While everyone had their eyes closed, I took that time to quietly grab my notebook and skulk out the door.
I didn't pass the class... lol...
Not clear from what you wrote if you are an artisan or an artist.
——you can always go back to being an engineer.-—
At 68, it’ll be tough