Friday, June 13, 2008

Dark Unpredictabilities

But if we are confronted with the suggestion that one age of achievement in the arts may necessarily--because of its greatness, and because of the incorrigible nature of man's mind--force a search for difference, even though that difference means a retrenchment, we become uneasy. When the change in the arts since the Renaissance is attributed to the loss of religious faith, to the growth of science, to commercialism, or to the development of mass media, we are always at liberty to feel that those circumstances may conceivably change again. But the deepest fear we have is of the mind of man itself, primarily because of its dark unpredictabilities, and with them the possibility that the arts could, over the long range, be considered as by definition suicidal: that, given the massive achievements in the past, they may have no further way to proceed except toward progressive refinement, nuance, indirection, and finally, through the continued pressure for difference, into the various forms of anti-art.

W. Jackson Bate, The Burden of the Past and the English Poet, p. 10

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"the arts could, over the long range, be considered as by definition suicidal"

A large scale art suicide? Is that even possible? Can it be induced?

What would that look like? (Both the suicide part and the afterwards.) What would it sound like? Maybe we're going to get to see and hear whether we want to or not.

We can all be encouraged by Bate's notion that when all collected and made into one, man's mind still retains some dark unpredictabilities.

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"Progressive refinement and nuance" reminds me of, well, you know, as well as the whole "young lions" ad campaign and "d-beat" punk--specifically the difference between Discharge and Disclose and Disfear and Disgust and Disrupt and Doom for example.

Don't get me wrong--I love love love every band who's name begins with D in that previous paragraph. I love love love them in part because they live and fulfill the revisionary ratios exactly like the major poets of the English language of the last 400 years as analyzed by H. Bloom and W. Jackson Bate.

D Beat revisionary ratios.

So why not PhD's for studying D-Beat?

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"Through the continued pressure for difference, into the various forms of anti art."

Ah anti-art. Who doesn't love a little anti-art? Anti-art is like really strong lemonade or swimming in frigid water in it's ability to get you "back into your body." Incredibly important.

When I think "Anti Art" I think "Up With People"--and when I think Up With People I get a vomit feeling.

When I think of vomit feeling, I think of Kierkegaard, particularly this little gem:

"When at a banquet, where the guests have already overeaten, one person is concerned about bringing on new courses, another about having a vomitive at hand, it is perfectly true that only the first has interpreted correctly the requirement of the guests, but I wonder whether the other might not also say that he is concerned about what the requirement might be."

Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript

But really now...Anti-art is a tall order. It seems like a hard posture to maintain, if only because in the end, "Art" takes what it can get. What doesn't "Art" gobble up for its own ends? (Or am I thinking of capital?)

Regardless, if I'm not mistake, Disclose were all about "Noise not Music" but today's anti art is tomorrow's art and college curricula.

Is eternal "anti-art" easier or harder to achieve than eternal "art."

(Should "art" be capitalized?)