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Friday, April 18, 2008

Progressive Art

Yesterday’s outrage concerning Alicia Shvarts and her ‘performance art,’ resulted in the following statement from Yale about Ms Shavrts and ‘artistic freedom.’

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.

She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.

Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.

See Gerard’s American Digest for the ‘facts on the ground,’ the time sequence of events and disturbing questions about the role and relationships between student, teacher and university.

Vanderleun rightly quotes Gagdad Bob of One Cosmos:

It would never occur to the psychologist in me to call this “art.” Rather, I would take this as prima facie evidence of a severe mental disorder — perhaps a borderline personality with psychopathic and psychotic features — psychopathic because of the evident lack of a rudimentary conscience, psychotic because of the primitive rage directed at the content of her own womb (which is a symbol of her hostile and dismembered psyche)

Godwin notes in Only Humanity Was Harmed In The Making Of This Exhibit that

Why not just make the statement with words? Art should be reserved for disclosing transcendent realities that are beyond the reach of words. For example, great poetry and prose have the mysterious capacity to say what words cannot say…

Classical liberalism is founded on a sober recognition of man’s dark side. It is not cynical, but realistic. This dark side cannot be eliminated, but it can be sublimated…

But the left denies this dark side, while at the same time covertly elevating it to a kind of God. This is where the atavism and primitivity of the left comes in. When defending some work of creative psychopathy, e.g., “gangster rap,” how many times have you heard the responsible party say words to the effect that, “I just want to show how things really are.” Again, if this is the case, words will suffice. The purpose of art cannot be to remind us that sewage smells, much less that it actually smells good — i.e., that it is not shit masquerading as art, but vice versa..

Yes, a spiritually normal person regards the left with horror. But one of the central projects of the left over the past half century has been — in the words of one of the last liberal Democrats, Daniel Patrick Moynihan — to “define deviancy down,” so that the perverse, the amoral, the subhuman, all become normative.

When freedom detracts from our own humanness, are we really free? In the end, is freedom meant to elevate the spirit and soul or freedom simply a bland, tasteless and neutral, idea in a sea of other ideas?

Surely a lesson can be learned from Benedict XVI remarks the White House reception honoring his arrival.

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility…The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows, time and again, that “in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation”, and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus, 46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent “indispensable supports” of political prosperity.

Gagdad Bob:

The clueless Shvarts says that she hopes her project “inspires some sort of discourse…. Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.’”

“Inspire some discourse.” This is the all-purpose excuse for any subhuman activity that hides behind the word “art.” Why not, say, murder some homeless, mentally ill people, in order to inspire discourse on the relationship between mental illness and the lack of a fixed address?

Challenging the status quo is not a license to kill the status quo. Real art is also progressive, demanding more from us. Real art stands the test of time. Real art represents real diversity, not self indulgent expressions. Real art attaches significance to all life. Like the ‘Thousand Year Reich,’ Alicia Shvarts will be reviled and abhored.

It is fortunate that we can compare what is real freedom to the artistic freedom as expressed by Alicia Shvarts.

From Shrinkwrapped’s We Were Slaves:

Jews all over the world will sit down to the Seder with family and friends and tell the story of Passover, a story handed down from generation to generation. For the religious, it is the story of G-d’s deliverance of the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt. For the more secular Jew, it is the story of the struggle of the Jewish people for freedom and our perseverance in the face of those who, “in every generation”, rise up to destroy the Jewish people. For the religious and secular alike, the story of Passover is a celebration of freedom, physical, political, and national, as well as spiritual, personal and religious…

…It is always difficult to make changes. We may feel that freedom is too elusive, that we don’t have the drive, stamina and determination to make bold decisions. The Haggadah reminds us that we are part of the group that left. It is in our blood. We have the ability to make dramatic changes. If we so desire…

The ‘artistic freedom’ as expressed by Alicia Shvarts is as evil, enslaving and dehumanzing as the Egyptiam slavery was to the Israelites.

Shrink goes on to say that

It is all too human to refuse to see the danger right in front of us. Few of us can look into the face of evil and not be terrified. Perhaps we should not wonder so much about the intellectual gymnastics of those who invent paranoid fantasies to blame us for our problems

Yale would have us believe that we are the problem, that we are not giving ‘artistic freedom’ the sacred space it deserves. It is clear that artistic freedom is very different than real freedom

We wrote,

Freedom, real freedom, is the only ideology in the history of mankind, that wants to make the world a better place,

Like the art of ‘progressive regimes’ Shvarts has managed to denigrate our human potential. We do not need Alica Shvarts to know what are the horrors man is capable of and we do not need her ‘art’ to understand the inequalities that exist for women.

Freedom supports righteousness and make the world a more civilized and moral place. Notwithstanding the reality that much of the world doesn’t care about those ideals, that truth about freedom is unassailable…

The freedom of expression that Alicia Shvarts represents is very different from the kind of freedom that elevates mankind.

In the course of just over 200 years, we have provided the world with ideas, contributions and realities that are in the consciousness of every human being on the planet.

The Israelites took their freedom and over the course of 2,000 years, elevated us all. Alicia Shvarts, under the Yale umbrella, is doing her part to undermine those very things. As the world becomes a more civilized place, she has embraced barbarism, masquerading as art and has proved herself to be no better than an Egyptian taskmaster with little or no regard for life.