"Guernica": a piece of shit, or what?

Over at Butt Propulsion Laboratories, John and the boys, who fancy themselves quite the cultural gadflies, contemplate the question: "Depressing Art: Is It Any Good?" The theory is floated, not unlike a too-large turd in an overflowing toilet bowl, that bitter, depressing art is only made by overpriveleged leftist creeps whose lives are so perfect that they can afford to contemplate misery, while the simple-minded happy people at the bottom, who truly do suffer, only want a song and dance and a nice chuckle. It's a strangely familiar argument...oh, that's right! I remember where I've seen it before: it's the same argument that they used to illustrate how blacks were happy with their lot, because look at how they sang and danced and smiled. Anyway, we are assured, all the depressing movies of yesteryear will soon be forgotten, and only It's a Wonderful Life and Tarzan movies will ultimately be remembered by critics of the future.

For a real laff, go to this post at Libertas that kickstarted the whole conversation and watch Jason Apuzzo claim that "bleak, dark, angry, bitter" films are doomed to eternal failure. When someone, in the very first comment, notes the obvious -- that our legacy of noir would suggest that his eyes are brown -- it kick-starts a high-larious conversation where some of the conserva-critics make the argument that postwar noir , certainly the single most cynical genre American cinema has ever produced on every level, is actually about "justice" and "bad guys trying to do good" and "faith in the human condition". One poster even attempts to argue that Night and the City is the definitive noir because of the protagonist's search for redemption through self-sacrifice, or at least that's what I think it said, but it was hard to tell because big chunks of my brain were exploding. The comments thread ends thusly:

This whole rejection of beauty for bleakness has been the hallmark of all the fine arts during the post War era. Thats why I do not give a damn about art after 1945. When I went to the reopened MOMA in NYC two years ago I only cared about the top floor with works before 1945 and Monet’s Water Lilies. Thats why I have never read a novel published after 1945 except when I was forced to in “English Lit” class like that atrocious Toni Morrison. Thats why I do not care for any classical music since 1945 with atonality being dominant. Call me a reactionary. I am proud to wear the label.

1 comment:

Pere Ubu said...

Dammit, someone stole myy comment about it over at the other site, so I'll say it here - the dumbass who's so proud of his love for "reactionary art" reminds me of nothing so much as the Nazi "degenerate art" movement. I like representational art myself, for example, but I'm not trumpeting it as some kind of political virtue on my part.

Of course, the Stalinists also paid 'way too much attention to "political meaning" of art, so that's YET ANOTHER way the present-day Bush fellaters (fellaTORS?) emulate the followers of Unca Joe.