Whereas I once believed that the decadence of the West could only be turned around through politics and intellectual dialectics, I am now convinced that authentic renewal can only emerge out of the imaginative visions of the artist and the mystic. This does not mean that I have withdrawn into some anti-intellectual Palace of Art. Rather, it involves the conviction that politics and rhetoric are not autonomous forces, but are shaped by the pre-political roots of culture: myth, metaphor, and spiritual experience as recorded by the artist and the saint.No argument with the above. Some argument with this part:
Thus I was forced to account for the fact that many conservatives had succumbed to philistinism. Why did they utter these blanket condemnations of “modern art”? Why would anyone demand that art—a subtle medium, characterized by the indirections of irony, ambiguity, and hidden meaning—preach the “truth” directly? Why categorize artists and writers as good or bad in terms of ideology, rather than of imaginative vision? The root of the problem, I believe, is a misunderstanding of, or aversion to, the nature of the imagination itself. Part of this can be traced to the Puritan and pragmatic strains in the American character. Conservatives have, by and large, focused their energies on political action and the theoretical work necessary to undertake action. The indirection of art, with its lack of moralizing and categorizing, strikes the pragmatic mind as being unedifying, and thus as inessential. Insofar as the great artists and writers of the past are admired, it is for their support of some idea, rather than for the complex, many-sided vision of their art.Here Wolfe is short on knowledge. Part of the Repoof condemnation of "modern art" was specifically GENERATED by CIA as part of its campaign to use chaos as a universal smasher and wrecker of civilization. CIA's salesmen to conservatives (eg Buckley and Skousen) made sure that conservatives spent lots of energy attacking COOL shit. When everyone sees that Repooflicans are UNCOOL and Democrats are COOL, Deepstate wins public support. On the question of indirection and subtlety, there's no difference between the sides. Since the '70s, ALL publicly visible "art" has been moralistic and preachy, devoted solely to political action. Nearly all of this comes from the Left because the Left owns all the media. There are a few equally preachy and clunky productions from the non-Left (eg Christian movies and Christian rock music) but those preachy and clunky productions lack the quality and punch of the Left's preachy and clunky productions, so the Left wins it all. Above all, I don't buy the basic assertion that art is supposed to have "irony, ambiguity, and hidden meaning", because I don't buy the implication that only trained and professional artists can produce art. Everyone can produce beauty. Everyone is MEANT to produce beauty. A janitor who buffs a tile floor to a mirror finish every night produces INFINITELY more beauty than any professional artist of any description. His beautiful floor allows YOUR imagination free rein to see the sun and the furniture and the people from a new angle. A car body man or a house renovator who restores order after the chaos of a crash or a flood is generating INFINITELY more beauty than the TV "comedian" demon who mocks the car body man for being UNCOOL. The repaired house or car grants you the ambiguity and indirection of USING the house or car to satisfy your own creative ends. Before the repair the house or car was incapable of serving your desires. Life is purpose. We are indescribably complex artworks, created directly or indirectly by an indescribable source of purpose and order. Our DUTY is to make more life, more order, more value, and more BEAUTY.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.