How Do We Evaluate Art in the Kingdom of the Blind Marxist?
This morning I woke up to find one of my distinguished colleagues was raging at dumb conservatives for not liking the Trump-Julius Caesar play.
Her tirade reminded me of a post that I’ve been meaning to write.
Now most conservatives have little patience for literary – or artistic – criticism. We’ve long ago decided that this is enemy territory, and therefore ignore it and go on with the real things of real life.
I’m telling you now it is time to stop that. And I must ask you to bear with me why I explain it’s time to take that beachhead. It’s time to reclaim the culture. And you can’t do that if you concede and internalize the left’s parameters for “good” and “relevant.”
For my sins, I went to an old university, the best in Portugal. Stop snorting. It was very difficult to get into, and it was a branch of the university established in 1290. So it had traditions, rigorous discipline, and of course, Marxism. All the best universities had that!
Through a concatenation of familial and social reasons, I ended up in humanities, and being in humanities, I tried to take the most “real” degree I could, that is, one that had some solid basis in fact: languages. Unfortunately, it came with literature.
Unfortunately, you say? Why so? You are, after all, a writer, so you must love reading.
Of course I love reading. By the time I went to college I had read everything I could get my hands on twice, though I should confess I’d early on run away with the science fiction and fantasy circus.
But literature was just another course on “applied Marxism, this time we’re serious.” I’d had three of those a year in high school, usually sociology, history and either philosophy, psychology or economics. (If you wonder why I despise Marxism: no one can have a brain and be exposed to it OPENLY at that early an age and not see the holes.) But this was more insidious. It wasn’t labeled Marxism. It was just the way things were.
We studied all the writers of the past – all art, really, if you go into our art history and culture classes – in the light of not only how relevant they were politically, but how in tune with current progressive ideas they were.
Writers were good because they were early prophets of what would become Marxist principles. So, Goethe? Showcasing the exploitation of the young and excessive militarization were what made him great. Shakespeare? Well, he was raging at the various injustices of his day and had warnings against tyranny in Richard III and Julius Caesar. Jane Austen? Of course, she was a sort of proto-feminist and probably a lesbian, and raging against the treatment of women and the class system.