Skip to comments.Faking It in Art and Politics
Posted on 12/28/2012 7:00:46 AM PST by Kaslin
Here's a resolution for one and all as we slide down the fiscal cliff (or not): Beware of fakery in popular places. Fakery, particularly in the culture both high and low, bubbles up from the media, affecting the way we see everything -- even, for example, politics.
Roger Scruton, the public philosopher and conservative commentator, writes in Aeon magazine, a provocative digital magazine of ideas and culture, how fake ideas, fake criticism and fake emotions have come to dominate public conversation and marginalize thoughtful appreciation of beauty, truth and honest debate. His initial concern is about the collusion of critics and artists to fake what's significant and authentic in high culture, but what he says applies to political conversation, too.
The elevation of "faking it" relies on a belief system, as contradictory as this may sound. In art, it's a belief that "what's new" is the only guarantee of quality, requiring a stamp of approval from an illusory expert whose credentials are backed up by those for whom faking it is a shortcut to the hard work of understanding. We once got validation through intellectual tradition, which included religious cohesion, and were graced with great artists and composers, such as Titian, Rembrandt, Bach and Beethoven. We didn't need to know what they believed to believe in what they created. We didn't expect a push of the envelope.
The shock of the new, he writes, brings celebrity and big bucks to an artist, such as Damien Hirst winning acclaim for pickling a shark or a cow and hanging it in a gallery, or composer John Cage sitting on stage in concert dress and never playing a note. This kind of art relies on no standards, for an audience flattering itself for "getting it" without the hard work of examination. The audience is "faking it," too, luxuriating in a fellowship protected from the uninitiated slobs who don't know what's going on and aren't clever enough to pretend they do.
Scruton's main point is that elite powers who anoint the so-called artists for stardom aren't even aware they're replacing judgment for attitude. That's the real danger.
This phenomenon extends to politics, too. The assumptions may be different, but the fakery isn't. One striking example is the media reaction to the appointment of Rep. Tim Scott, a black Republican, to fill the South Carolina Senate seat of Jim DeMint, who is retiring.
Scott is an authentic, fresh voice who you might think would please both black and white, a celebration that we've come a long way in dismantling the harsh and unforgiving racial attitudes of the South. We shouldn't have to agree with him on every issue dear to received opinion to appreciate that he earned the appreciation of Nikki Haley, the Indian-American governor who appointed him with pride, and to the general applause of white Carolinians.
But Scott runs against the rigid liberal orthodoxy. The New York Times, the unthinking man's guide to approved liberal prejudices, was predictably outraged, giving prestigious prime op-ed real estate to Adolph L. Reed, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, to represent the fakers who howl at any black man being anything but liberal. The professor suspects that the appointment is aimed "at whites who are inclined to vote Republican but don't want to have to think of themselves, or be thought of by others, as racists."
As with the fake scholarship and culture that anoints art and art criticism, the first step is to marginalize the concept of truth. Instead of looking directly at the new senator's character and accomplishments, the professor, who reveals himself to be more political than scientific, plays to prejudice and to the fakers, in this case liberals, who agree with each other and question the integrity of any black man who differs with received orthodoxy. Rather than doing the hard work of examining the man and the issues, the "expert" must find meanings hidden to everyone but the cult of the fakers.
Instead of examining issues, keyboard cowboys and microphone mavens appeal to prejudice little short of bigotry. An op-ed piece by a knee-jerk radical passes for intellectual rigor in the mainstream media. Not many of us care whether the collective fakers in art hang a pickled cow in a museum and call it a contemporary Mona Lisa, but there are consequences for a fake political culture that sacrifices thoughtful argument for mere attitude.
But this is the season for hope, so happy sliding to all, with a wish for a happier new year. We may need it at the bottom a cliff.
How can you argue with (il)logic like that?
...and why was Odungo elected?
I ran onto this essay on Arts and Letters Daily. It’s an important essay.
what he doesn’t go into is the power behind the fakers. the only way faking it in arts and politics can continue is the threat of force -—’Act like you believe these fakers or you will be in real trouble’.
for artists and writers that means losing your grants, your acceptance in the Fake-It world.
Of course the folk tale of The Emperor and his naked behind parading through the streets encapsulates it. What the folk tale doesn’t say is that the little boy was probably immediately removed from the home and consigned to Child Welfare Services and the parents subjected to a home inspection and an IRS audit and legal sanctions and loss of employment and denial of food rations and court supervision and the child was never heard from again.
Power lies behind the Fake-It people.
Because the ignorant and the racist voted for him. The ignorant reelected him again and now we all have to pay the consequences
WRONG....THE MEDIA DID NOT VET HIM.
While that is true, it is also true, that the racist voted for him and the ignorant reelected him. It doesn’t matter if the media did vet him or not
What other word than "fakery" so aptly describes the set of ideas which are bringing such threatening "change" to the concept of Creator-endowed(thus, unalienable) individual liberty enshrined in America's founding documents?
There are few issues (topics) which can be "debated" with the Left successfully, for the "ideology" of so-called "progressives" is based on counterfeit ideas gleaned from their "favorite philosophers"--Mao, Marx, Lenin, Keynes, et al--not on essential principles of liberty, as understood, declared, and implemented by America's founding generation.
For instance, the so-called "progressives'" claim of higher ground in arguing for redistribution of wealth sounds moral and good, but it overlooks historical evidence, facts, and the unintended consequences of such a policy in every country where it has been tried.
Debating the "issue" of "taxing the rich" to "help" the poor generally is a losing argument for conservatives, because they don't (or can't) articulate and defend the underlying principle and historical facts.
Yet, those who profess to be "conservatives" continue to waste their energies arguing on issues, because they cite trite phrases like "limited government," "cutting taxes," "cutting spending," and other meaningless terms they have memorized. As a result, they come off appearing to be selfish and uncaring, lacking the "moral" high ground.
To win such debates in the minds of voters, there must be a rediscovery of and passion for the underlying principles of America's founding documents, as explained in the writings of America's founding generation, the Federalist Papers, and speeches of the period.
Those documents speak of liberty as the prize above all others.
Before the counterfeit ideas of Mao and Marx have completely turned off the light of liberty in America, some brave men and women must immerse themselves in the principles which changed the world in 1776 and 1787 and resulted in millions of our ancestors fleeing nations which practiced the tyrannical ideas of government-over-people the progressives now cherish.
Such a debate would force the pretenders to defend their bankrupt ideas, thus exposing their real agenda--coercive power and control.
In the words of Lincoln:
"All honor to Jefferson--to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers (initiators of threatening "change") of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.
Your obedient Servant
Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.
Source for this reproduction of the letter is
That perfectly sums up the way liberals process every statement in opposition to their assertions during a debate.
For a while, the Atlantic magazine was on a kick about deer.
I saw the deer.
The deer saw me.
I took a crap
And the deer took a pee.