On Saturday, the Washington Post published an article by Griff Witte titled: “Once-fringe Soros conspiracy theory takes center stage in Hungarian election,” in which the author disingenuously writes off any and all involvement by the left-wing billionaire in politics as a far-right, tin-hat conspiracy theory despite direct evidence to the contrary. In his article, Witte […] More
Remember when art was only political in subtle ways?
Well, to hell with you. This is the modern age. Everything is political all the time. Nothing is good until it denounces Trump.
Why is it impossible to enjoy anything without a clumsy and mood-spoiling ladle of politics slapped on it like a lump of overly thick and lumpy ideological gravy? If you want to make timeless art, why tie it permanently to the events of a brief 8 year window in the early 21st Century?
Why is Taylor Swift the only thing that is good and pure?
The biggest pop star in the world is a feminist. Beyonce, no-one cares that you joined a Neo-Marxist cult where the men take a real hands-on approach. It's a free country- at least until the social justice crew gets old enough to stand for election, and then I guess we will all be feminists, whether we want to join the sisterhood or not.
Wow, a Star Wars Franchise movie that advocates for full intersectional communism! Huzzah! Making people feel included and empowered is way more important than making a good movie about space wizards who fight with laser swords. It doesn't matter if the movie sucks. All that matters is that we have one person of every race on the side of the good guys and the baddies are whites. Because f-ck whites.
The actors and musicians don't even give it a rest when they're not shoehorning awful politics into their art. A European refugee crisis is a great opportunity for George Clooney to virtue signal about the oneness of humanity and wax lyrical about open borders. That lasted until that same spiritual oneness manifested as 10,000 Eritreans heading towards his Lake Como Villa.
That's going to damage the resale value a little, George.
The art world has always been liberal, and fair enough. We need satirists to poke the powerful. We have records of humans acting in this way as far back as Ancient Greece. The word satire itself comes from the Satyr, the half-goat drunks who would roam the stages of Greece, lustfully barbing the audience and society at large. Our more recent post-war history was a time of massive change and booming wealth, which brought a lot of social issues to the fore. It was right for music and movies to tackle political matters. The greatest movie of all time is not Citizen Kane. It is Casablanca, hands down. Casablanca is an incredibly political movie, being released at the height of World War 2.
The portrayal of the actual Nazis chasing Victor Laszlo is subtle, threatening and realistic. The emotions of the cast when singing La Marseillaise are palpable. Many of these people had themselves fled tyranny in Europe. The tears are real. The power of the scene is magical, heartbreaking.
Casablanca is not a political movie. The movie is about Rick (Humphrey Bogart) discovering that there are some things worth fighting for, that there are things in this world that are greater than your pain and self-interest. Somethings are bigger than your own feelings of love and petty desires. This alone would mean that it could not be made in the current year of the Nü-Reich.
The political subtext to Casablanca is there to see, but it is atmospheric rather than preaching- even as it was declared at the time to be aiding the American war effort itself. That the Nazis were an existential threat is not in doubt. The denouement of Rick and Captain Louis Renault joining the Free French in Brazzaville is perfect not because of the politics of the movie, but despite it. The story is everything.
Political music can be incredible.
Satirically skewering despotic regimes with masterful lyrics and stunning musicianship is an integral part of Punk Rock.
Ecapsulating the very real social upheaval of the 60s, it's no surprise that the modern day Culture War has produced no Dylans, no Hendrix, no Woodstock at all.
The hope for the future that lives in all men.
Political music can be a disaster. See Black Eyed Peas, Green Day. Such clumsy and ham-fisted rabble rousing is the mark of limited talent. Talent is a fleeting thing, all to easily corrupted by politicking.
When Madonna shook the music world to its core by pushing sexuality to the brink of decency in her videos and songs it was a thousand times more effective than her bleating about blowing up the White House. Allowing the public to interpret art- even from explicit art- is utterly fundamental to good art. It also respects the consumer’s intelligence. That’s why The Last Jedi and other so-called inclusive movies fail. They're so desperate to be politically correct, they forget to be art.
And so we come to Tay Tay. The Swift. The greatest pop star in history. A living work of art who will live in the cultural zeitgeist for a thousand years.
Taylor, I love you. Let me count the ways.
You make great music. Yes, even to a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead like me, you are a genius. Ingenious barbs at your critics and society at large dressed up as upbeat pop songs that simultaneously are clean and wholesome and also about how much of a disaster you are as a girlfriend. That's ok, it's a learning process.
Oh, and great videos that are about having fun/being strong women/etc and so on. You let the audience project themselves onto the art, instead of proselytizing us what to think. Any educator will know how crucial that is for young people in particular, and world-weary older ones appreciate it.
You might well have strong political opinions but you respect your audience enough to know we don't care about them. If only literally every other artist and musician on the face of the Earth felt the same.
This is the power of Taylor Swift. The more she does her job and makes great music, the more her fans love her. The more she demurely stays silent on whether or not she thinks Donald Trump is the Anti-Christ, the greater her reputation at home and abroad. The Americans who voted for Trump respect that about her. Her fans overseas respect her art and her class.
Best of all, it drives liberals absolutely bonkers. Frothing at the mouth insane, they demand that a 28-year-old pop star who likes to tour with her girlfriends denounce a 69-year-old businessman who has sacrificed his retirement to be President.
And she ignores it. Whether this is a canny understanding on the part of Taylor Swift of how power and reputation (pun intended) work or simply an expression of her high class is functionally irrelevant.
The more she carries on doing her thing, the more her star waxes and the more the pettiness of her detractors makes them wizen up into sour, old and ugly crones, bitter from the tip of the nose to the sole of the shoe.
All Art Is Trash. Welcome to the era of Neo-Swiftism.
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