Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Splintering of the Left

Testing, testing

Ron Silliman has written about the fragmentation of the left; the way a single liberal group split up into identity politics. I'm writing a paper on Afro-Cuban identity and politics, so identity politics has become a bit of a major interest. What's interesting to me is the debate between mass-culture objects and specific-sect art objects (the so-called "fan service"?) The issue is drawn when one forces restrictions: Silliman himself proclaims that we can no longer create "good" or potentially "honest" (scare-quotes; I don't believe he used these terms) art that appeals to the group. (Taking him out of context here.) We have to section and splinter our own works. This is an excuse for a white male writing poetry that for some reason he sees as being specifically for white men. I guess. It sort of confuses me.

Now the correction to be made here is to simply express the obvious: the world and the future should both be stories that begin with openness, with opportunity and potential. So sure you can make art that is likely to be enjoyed specifically by gays or blacks or redheaded stepchildren and it is--I almost said "great," but it's not great; a world where you can't do this is unconscionable--fitting that the world of today allows such pieces. But to label the work as such seems counterproductive for it limits your audience institutionally or at least from the creator's mouth. I would not want to enjoy the art of various (often formerly discriminated) minorities if they do not wish their work to be taken in by white males. The new white man's burden is the simply distaste in your mouth as you go through every day considering the fact that practically every serious issue in the world today is the fault of your ancestral group.

But to think that the mass-culture object is gone is incorrect. In Rainbows was Radiohead taking their new millennium sound and making it work for a whole lot more people than it had before. This is not selling out. This is not the televisionization of art. Silliman seems to be using his "views" as apologia for something he doesn't need to apologize for. The world, as it is now, permits the creation for a specific group or section of culture. You are absolved as well as the marginalized. That's what equality is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading and/or commenting. Anything you have to say is especially appreciated.