The PARADIGM MUTATION between ART AND POLITICS (or the FINAL KISS OFF to POSTMODERNISM)…

After a weekend spent watching an unhealthy amount of TELEVISION and reading an equally unhealthy amount of REVIEWS FOR “SUICIDE SQUAD”, I’ve come to a TENTATIVE CONCLUSION as to why ARTISTIC CRITICISM as a form of AESTHETIC INTERPRETATION HAS FLATLINED, and POLITICS appears to have become IMMUNE TO CRITICISM…

…ARTISTIC CRITICISM now operates SOLELY WITHIN IDEOLOGICAL BOUNDARIES, and POLITICS has ABANDONED ALL IDEOLOGY except PUTTING ON A SHOW.

When one reads ARTISTIC CRITICISM these days, the AESTHETIC GAUNTLET (visual, narrative, dramatic) thrown down by the WORK is hardly ever mentioned.

Now this may also be a byproduct of THE UTTER ABDICATION OF AESTHETICS ITSELF BY ART (and here I’m speaking primarily of FILM AND TELEVISION). FILMS TODAY — outside of a few outlier examples — seem barely able to FUNCTION ON A VISUAL LEVEL, and the scanty few able to EXHIBIT VISUAL FLUENCY, are generally UNDERCUT BY DWINDLING BUDGETS. TELEVISION, the last refuge of anyone looking for DRAMA, is similarly HAMPERED BY BUDGETS, and the undergirding philosophy that TELEVISION is a WRITER’S MEDIUM and can therefore shirk off basic VISUAL STANDARDS and GRAMMAR (only the first season of “TRUE DETECTIVE” can challenge this view). But back to before I digressed…

…ART IS A SENSUAL MEDIUM, a BARRAGE OF SOUNDS AND COLORS, a NARRATIVE CONTAINER par excellence; however, THE ONLY THING DISCUSSED IN CRITICISM now is IDEOLOGY. Genuinely, I never thought I would live long enough (especially with my daily ingestion of AMERICAN SPIRIT LIGHTS) to see reviewers comparing MICHAEL BAY or ZACK SNYDER TO AYN RAND, and barely engaging with THE ACTUAL CONTENT OF THEIR FILMS (now one could be pretentious and claim there is NO CONTENT in a SNYDER OR BAY FILM, and they would be INCORRECT, because these two are VISUAL STYLISTS PAR EXCELLENCE, which, at one point, was a PREREQUISITE to being a FILM DIRECTOR). We don’t review ART anymore, we review how well ART CONFORMS TO “OUR IDEOLOGY” (NOTE: Our “IDEOLOGY” itself is a LOADED TERM, and one that requires more SPACE than is digestible for the POINT OF THE ESSAY, but as a SHORT-CUT, figure the espoused “IDEOLOGY” is something our ESTEEMED CRITIC learned in THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE).

This SEISMIC SHIFT has allowed POLITICS to ABANDON IDEOLOGY AT A BREAKNECK SPEED and to focus solely on AESTHETICS, while ENTERTAINMENT TAKES OVER the FORMER ROLE OF POLITICS, and abandons it’s sole RAISON D’ETRE.

This is a FASCINATING MUTATION from the ROLE OF POSTMODERN ART in NEOLIBERALISM. In NEOLIBERALISM, ART was to HELP ONE FORGET that THEY HAD NO VOICE IN POLITICS, or to allow for an UNCONSCIOUS ERUPTION under the film’s surface of UTTER HOPELESSNESS at this fact.

However, in POST-CAPITALISM, ART IS NOW YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF POLITICS…

DONALD TRUMP and HILLARY CLINTON are not IDEOLOGICAL POLITICIANS, they are AESTHETIC VEHICLES. They are SIMULATIONS come to CREAKING LIFE, SIGNIFYING NOTHING, belching NOISE that is SUPPOSED “SPEECH”.

And since they are BEREFT OF IDEOLOGICAL CONTENT (and for those tempted to claim TRUMP is IDEOLOGICAL, I truly DARE YOU TO FIND HIS CONSISTENT IDEOLOGY, he’s more like a DAILY BUFFET of ANARCHY) we are FREE TO COMMENTATE ON THEM as if they were ART MOLDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT. This is how it’s ENTIRELY POSSIBLE to FUNDAMENTALLY DISAGREE with every single thing TRUMP or CLINTON UTTER, yet still support them wholeheartedly AS CANDIDATES. And simultaneously, why it’s IMPOSSIBLE to have NOTHING TO SAY about the “GHOSTBUSTERS” REBOOT. And also to SUPPORT MY PET THEORY, that there’s a REASON we have NOT PRODUCED A SINGLE MOVIE STAR since BARACK OBAMA was ELECTED. HE IS OUR MOVIE STAR, rendering any and all COMERS NULL AND VOID UPON DELIVERY.

When I listen to PUNDITS DEBATING HILLARY AND TRUMP, it sounds to me like SISKEL & EBERT back in the EARLY 90’s debating SCHWARZENENGGER versus STALLONE. And when I read FILM CRITICISM (and occasionally TELEVISION), I feel as if I’m reading a NOAM CHOMSKY screed eviscerating REAGAN’S UNLAWFUL INCURSIONS INTO CENTRAL AMERICA.

DONALD TRUMP and HILLARY CLINTON are the MOVIE STARS OF AN IDEOLOGICALLY ABANDONED POLITICS. The MOVIE MEANS NOTHING, it’s just THAT THEY SHOWED UP. Like TOM CRUISE in his heyday appearing in “COCKTAIL”.

We once ELECTED AN ACTUAL MOVIE STAR, now we simply SERVE UP CANDIDATES TO perform THE SAME FUNCTION MOVIE STARS ONCE DID…

…Get THE PEOPLE TO APPEAR for AN UNVEILING NO ONE HAS ANY INTEREST IN, based upon the SHEER FORCE OF THEIR PERSONALITY. This is the ALCHEMY between TRUMP AND POLITICS.

WE HAVE NO MOVIE STARS in ACTUAL FILMS anymore because THE PHYSICAL VESSEL OF IDEOLOGY IS IMMATERIAL. IDEOLOGY ITSELF will CARRY YOU THROUGH. Bodies are just bodies NOW. However, the MOVIE STAR “FUNCTION” is CRUCIAL in POLITICS because IT’S BEEN FULLY AESTHETICIZED in a way ART ISN’T ANYMORE (and may NEVER HAVE BEEN)…

…All the IDEOLOGY has MOVED TO ART, and I’d argue both POLITICS AND ART have SUFFERED IMMENSELY FOR IT.

 

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