The Art Imbroglio, Cont.
The League managed to turn a discussion about High vs. Low Art into a discussion about Conservative vs. Liberal Art over the last few days… I wonder if I’m the only one that noticed something there… and I’d like to take a moment to quote Tod, again, from his last post:
Rather, they are penned by writers that succeed in painting with words the human experience. And we humans and our lives simply are not the black and white cardboard caricatures that political parties wish us to believe.
I think also our characterizations of “conservative” vs. “liberal” art are probably a bit more like those black and white cardboard caricatures than we ourselves wish them to be. “24” isn’t a “conservative” show… it’s a contrived conspiracy action thriller. “The West Wing” is… well, okay, that’s actually a liberal show. But almost all of the other examples that people were tossing around on various threads had me thinking, “That’s not a (liberal/conservative) show. It’s just a show.”
It’s difficult to remember that these political inclinations are not polar opposites of each other. Granted this is something that is made exceedingly more difficult by the fact that the political parties that claim to embody them are so dead set on both leading the charge as to what they mean, but also leading the charge as to what the other side’s label means… and it means “the opposite of things that are good”. Come to think of it, both parties are much better at telling us why and how the other side is horribly horrid than talking much about how they’re getting passing marks in any way.
Liberal and Conservative are instead just inclinations towards ongoing social change. Only reactionaries and nuts want everything to stay the same, forever. The conservative doesn’t seek to *prevent* social change, just preserve the better parts of the past. The liberal doesn’t seek to change *everything* *right* *now*, but instead try to change the worst parts of the present. On the face of it, aren’t these both pretty laudable goals?
Both sides are well open to charges that they are imperfect in assessing their respective “bests” and “worsts”, that’s granted. But there’s actually… nothing inherently wrong with trying to preserve the best parts of the past while simultaneously trying to change the worst parts of the present.