In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Media Surplus redux | Main | Tacit Knowledge -- Genre Writers vs. Literary Writers »

October 30, 2002

Righties, Lefties, Art and Pleasure

Friedrich --

Laurel Panella has been following our discussions about righties, lefties and pleasure from her home in eastern Tennessee. She had these lovely thoughts and observations to pass along:

I live in the middle of the conservative, small town South. (Diverse, within its narrow boundaries.) What I find is that the right defends a positive interpretation of status quo living. They won't be entering any debates on beauty and the arts, except to comment on the changing leaves in the Smokies, or the latest football victory.

The right here is so grounded; they have a strong sense of identity from their deep home and community roots. From my perspective, they honestly need only a drop of novelty. The concept of beauty and pleasure doesn't seem to be an interesting topic of discussion to them. When they do discuss it, they go back to the Renaissance, when art was art, or quote from Southern Living Magazine, with its "gourmet" recipes.

Sometimes I think it's the job of the right to balance out the left. The right doesn't defend cutting edge art, they defend the status quo -- in whatever package it comes. I tend to think this serves a valuable societal purpose. With the left, they’re adventurers, paving the way, so to speak, for the right. The right provides a sense of societal stability that gives the left its courage and footing, to stretch and question boundaries.

I have a lovely group of friends that often debates the ideas you have presented. They of course are all lefties. Personally, I enjoy the challenge of learning from both perspectives without the desire to make one more like the other. The conservative right has so much to offer. But I don't think they'll ever play ball in the world of pleasure and beauty the way some would like.

I tried suggesting that "status quo" pleasures are as legit as cutting-edge pleasures; that football games, changing autumn leaves and "gourmet" recipes represent a perfectly valid aesthetic; that there's no reason to let the left get away with defining art as being necessarily adventurous, or necessarily about questioning boundaries...

But Laurel, who I suspect knows a fancy big-city move when she spots one, was having none of it.



posted by Michael at October 30, 2002


Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?