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Go, Rousseau, 'gainst the Artsy Faux

Polansky and Letterman may approach Jean-Jacques Rousseau's depravity, but they could surely not withstand his withering criticism of the terpitude of actors and other artists.  That is the tension Richard Reeb explores, at that Rocky Mountain mainstay, Backbone America, founded by the redoubtable John Andrews.  Artists regard themselves as "creative" gods, when in fact they are typically puerile reflections of their times. That postmodernism lies at the heart of Obama's writings, too, for he is at heart an artist. 

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Discussions - 7 Comments

Thanks for the link, Ken. Backbone America appreciates it too!

The "artists" have shot themselves in the foot in a very big way.

I'm working on a joke that opens, "So David Letterman, Roman Polanski, and John Edwards walk into a bar. . ." Needs a punchline, probably something about hoping their probation officer doubles as a bartender or something.

Steve - maybe your joke (surely to be a hit on Fox & Friends!) could also include something about Limbaugh looking to score some Oxycontin and Viagra, Glenn Beck being dragged out of the bar by some fellow magic-underpants-wearing Mormons (screaming "just ONE little drink - because I love my country!"), Larry Craig up to his completely not-gay shenanigans in the men's room, Bill Bennett demanding to know who's manly man enough to take him on at poker in the back room, and Marc Foley calling John Edwards a "f---t" - with Ann Coulter laughing so hard in response that a pretzel stick gets lodged sideways in her Adam's...errr... throat.


Oh, and I forgot that no-kidding-he's-really-an- anti-prostitution-crusader, Rep. David Vitter. He could come running out of the back room, clad only in a diaper, screaming "that janitor who went into Larry's stall is a card-carrying member of ACORN!!"

More ripped-from-the-headlines joke fodder can be found here:

Why does the masthead for "Backbone America" show a picture of the Canadian Rockies?

Craig, I can't help noticing that you have been going strong for a long time. I don't know how you find the motivation to bother doing it, but I do check half your links.

Does anyone actually get a real laugh from political jokes? At best don't you simply get a sort of Hobbesian chuckle(sudden burst of power).

I mean that the artform of a political joke is more or less a puerile reflection of the times. It may not require Craig's level of attention to politics...but it does require a some specialized knowledge of current events.

Also it certainly seems that both Darwin and Picasso were after glory or greatness, but arguably both have justifiable achievements. So I am uncertain as to the point of this paragraph.

I am no art expert as I think most of it simply overpriced, certainly beyond the ability of most americans to own. But there really aren't that many bad artists, and certainly none which are worth being aware of.

I suppose that artists are capable of shooting themselves(and the entire genre) in the foot because unlike politicians, there isn't a requirement of purchase(election to fill the office).

Also I think it is pretty ridiculous to hold both politicians and artists to a similar standard in terms of personal behavior.

If an artist wants to experiment with LSD and have colors that bleed, then this is justifiable to the craft in a way that similar behavior from a politician just isn't.

Now if the artist gets into a car, on drugs then he is subject to a reasonable person standard of care.

I don't really care about the oxycotin, viagra or poker playing, but in the case of Rush or Bennett these probably are off message.(But they probably supported Dole, and Dole supports Viagra)

Artists are more or most fully subject simply to a libertarian long as it doesn't harm others, as long as it isn't a tort.

Thank you, Mr. Lewis, for writing. Let me take up the points which relate to my piece on Rousseau and the artists and scientists. There is no denying Darwin's and Picasso's achievements, for they illustrate what Lincoln warned about in politicians who seek fame at all costs. Darwin redefined biology if not all science and Picasso redefined painting, if not all art. They have been so successful that their critics risk being labeled as unintelligent, which is the favored tactic of all orthodoxies. Both the arts and the sciences have become politicized to an alarming degree.

I do not think it "ridiculous" to hold politicians, artists and scientists to the same standard of behavior. Besides themselves, they have influence over millions, for better or for worse. Darwin was a man of moderate habits, but not Picasso, and their followers reflect these choices. I have never heard anyone justify any scientists' dissolute behavior in light of their achievements, but artists routinely are excused. Perhaps science requires more self discipline? In any event, representatives of both now exert considerable political influence, and believe that they are entitled to, given their alleged genius. But however brilliant they may be, they are entitled to no more deference than anyone else. If politics dictates to the arts or sciences, that is at least questionable, if not worse, depending on what is being proposed. For the arts or sciences to dictate to politics, that is folly.

Contrary to libertarian dogma, so-called "victimless crimes," otherwise known as bad examples, do have consequences for others. The dissolute lives of many celebrities have corrupted more than a few of their fellow citizens.

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