Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
Join the Art Insurgency
By Indy Media / filmsforaction.org
Jan 15, 2008
By News Corpse:

The past decade has seen an unsettling evolution of thought with regard to the artist’s place in society. That place has increasingly become a wobbly axis of discord. Painters, poets, actors, authors and musicians are battered and belittled for doing nothing more than what they were born to do: express themselves. While the artist’s contribution to the world community was once valued for its conscience and vision, in recent years it has depreciated and even become a liability.

Now there has arisen a class of self-appointed, civic hall monitors who believe that they can decide who passes through the corridors of free expression. These martinets of virtue want artists to repress their natural inclination to share their insight and their soul. Emblematic of this trend is the book by censorious pundit Laura Ingraham, “Shut Up and Sing.” The publisher touts the book for exposing, “the outrageous howlers and muddled thinking peddled by a rogues’ gallery of Hollywood celebs…” This view has infected modern society and is propelled by critics, moralists and pseudo-patriots whose shallowness demands that artists be nothing more than amusements. They must certainly never make us think or feel.

I’m sick and tired of limp-brained gasbags like John McCain saying, “Do I know how to sing? About as well as she [Barbra Streisand] knows how to govern America!”. The obvious extension of that thought is that anyone who does any job other than serving in Congress is unqualified to have an opinion about what our government does in our name. Just try changing the word “sing” with the word “farm” or “teach” or “weld.” This is unadulterated elitist bullshit. If we’re qualified to vote them into office, then we’re qualified to comment on the job they are doing.

When did this happen? How did artists come to be assaulted for having opinions and the courage to express them? That is, in fact, their strength and purpose. Throughout history it was artists who shaped the character of our culture. It was artists who illustrated our spiritual quests; documented our humanity; exposed our flaws; inspired us to repair them. The enlightened observations they shared were like medicinal potions. They were sometimes caustic, but they always served to heal. Today, merely being controversial (a side effect of honesty) subjects the artist to condemnation and ridicule from the ranks of the cultural imperialists.

This is not happening by accident. There is a deliberate campaign to denigrate artists due specifically to their ability to communicate. Popular artists are natural targets because their popularity increases the volume of their voices. Thus we find artists, whose work was once profound enough to enrich our lives, are disparaged for employing that same vision to touch our lives in ever more meaningful ways.

By silencing the voices of creativism, the ruling class seeks to dominate an inconvenient public. The McCarthyites did to the Hollywood 10, and they’re doing it still. They don’t even try to be subtle. An example:

In January of 2003, shortly before the U. S. invasion of Iraq, Colin Powell assembled the media at the United Nations to comment on his presentation. But before the media arrived, the tapestry of Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica, was covered by a blue drape. A press conference to discuss launching an unprecedented war of aggression could not be held in front of one of the twentieth century’s most moving anti-war statements.

The symbolism of literally throwing a blanket over this representation of truth is unmistakable. They know the power of art - and they fear it. Another example:

Shortly after 9/11, Clear Channel Communications, the world’s largest radio conglomerate, distributed a list of 164 songs they deemed inappropriate for airing. The list bordered on the absurd, including:

* Louis Armstrong – “What A Wonderful World”
* Buddy Holly and the Crickets – “That’ll Be The Day”
* Carole King – “I Feel the Earth Move”
* John Lennon – “Imagine”
* Frank Sinatra – “New York, New York”

And in a master stroke:

* Rage Against The Machine – All Songs!

The time has come to restore the dignity of creativism. We must beat back the repressive forces that would prefer the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. We must recognize the power that speaking the truth brings to our world and ourselves. We must support our creative advocates. They are more reliable as leaders than their political counterparts. Too often, the politician’s voice is reduced to platitudes for fear of alienating a listener. The artist’s voice, unencumbered by these fears, is more likely to resonate with independence and honesty.

Every great social movement was fueled in part by the arts - from the Napoleonic era Disasters of War by Goya, to the guerilla postering of Robbie Conal. The art insurgency is latent now, but it is strong and committed. Like other insurgencies, it blends in with the populace and can strike with fierce and startling force. It stockpiles its weapons of mass construction for the building of consensus and passion and hope.

Now is the time to reignite creativism for social progress. A new generation of artists is already engaged. But they need to be embraced by the political actors - the campaigners and strategists; the wonks and activists; the publicists and what’s left of the independent media. Those that presently grip the reins of our society know the strength with which art speaks, and they are doing their best to suppress it. We must not leave them alone on that battlefield.
0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 12,009 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 10,725 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
"The Myth of Time" - Martin Luther King Jr.
3 min · 9,870 views today · Excerpt from MLK Jr.'s last sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Delivered at The National Cathedral on March 31, 1968 (4 days prior to his...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 8,161 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 7,999 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Hans Rosling Brilliantly Explains Complexity of Population and Resource Issues Using Simple Tools
3 min · 3,672 views today · Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge...
The Price of Certainty
7 min · 2,837 views today · It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 1,955 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,864 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 1,673 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
How to Fire Your Boss: A Worker's Guide to Direct action
IWW · 1,534 views today · The indignity of working-for-a-living is well-known to anyone who ever has. Democracy, the great principle on which our society is supposedly founded, is thrown out the window...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,481 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
True Justice Should Have Compassion in It
Thich Nhat Hanh · 1,434 views today · I believe that true justice should have compassion in it. When someone does something harmful, destructive, the destruction is done not only to the person who is the victim...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 1,227 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 723 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
NRA's Trump Card - Inside Trump's Era of Guns
15 min · 645 views today · Deregulating silencers, broadening concealed carry and undercutting state gun laws are just a few likely changes after the National Rifle Association supported President Trump...
Growing Huge Amounts of Food on 1/2 an Acre - Urban Abundance
5 min · 487 views today · In the small town of Oxford, Kane and Fiona Hogan have transformed their urban 1/2-acre property into abundant veggie gardens. Their business Urban Gardener aims to build...
Meet the Earthship
7 min · 485 views today · Outside of Taos, New Mexico, you'll find a community of people living in off-grid homes made of garbage. The homes are called Earthships and were invented by Michael Reynolds...
Runaway Inequality Elected Trump. Here's How It Can Help Defeat Him
Les Leopold · 461 views today · One of the best forms of resistance will be our demand for a more equitable and humane economy
The Importance of Empathy
3 min · 414 views today · With an increasingly polarized and divided world, we need empathy more than ever before. Too often we are talking at each other, unable to listen and jumping to entirely wrong...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Join the Art Insurgency