[-empyre-] Vor dem Gesetz/Before the Law, hoveringly
sondheim at panix.com
Fri Nov 21 06:16:33 EST 2014
On Thu, 20 Nov 2014, Christina Spiesel wrote:
This is a long introduction to a simple thought: we need the arts to come
to the rescue. I keep thinking of the art teacher in (Teresin?) who taught
the interned young very advanced modernist aesthetic tools to express
themselves even as they waited for transfer to extermination camps. Their
wonderful works are on now display in Prague. Was it foolish to keep them
spiritually alive in the face of atrocity or the best protest possible
under the circumstances? What comfort did the teaching give the teacher
when all other sources of power were eliminated? And for the children?
Didn't it give them an experience of freedom and possibilty?
We need arts both in the universities and out there in public spaces. And
we need artists to keep themselves alive, somehow, both as beings and as
creators. I believe that this is the counter story to the awfulness of our
perceptions of the world these days. And there is always an
inter-generational conversation between arts makers and their forebears,
and hopefully, inventively, we'll find ways to play it forward.
Of course I agree with you, but what is happening is the reverse - budgets
are being drastically cut back, arts in the schools are being eliminated,
and even art colleges are suffering or turning into vocational schools for
digital technicians who dream of the next big game but end up doing
commercials. There are so many disconnects. I feel that the right wants
less education - 1. It interferes with religious dogma; 2. It's an
imposition from cabals with liberal agenda; 3. Those cabals are elsewhere
and are dangerous; 4. It forces things like a belief in global warming
upon us; 5. It teaches that slavery was all bad and overlooks the good
slave-owners; 6. It interferes with producing well-behaved workers; and 7.
It's going to break up _my_ family. So the result is a war on education
and teachers, and the further result is an inability of a large number of
people do understand the complexity of the world geopolitical system and
its miserable consequences. ISIS becomes and produces spectacle and gains
thereby, and education in so many areas of the world (not just the U.S.,
but Nigeria for a horrific example) is seen as dangerous, and decadent. If
we can't even support decent K-12 in our own country, if we can't support
the arts (which are notoriously underfunded here) or critical dialog, how
can we act in the world at all? Who even knows where Syria, Iran, Iraq,
are on the map? The difference between Sunni and Shiite?
This might as well apply to the United States, change the religion: "In
1928, four years after the abolishment of the caliphate, the Egyptian
schoolteacher Hasan al-Banna founded the first Islamic fundamentalist
movement in the Sunni world, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan
al-Muslimun). Al-Banna was appalled by"the wave of atheism and lewdness
[that] engulfed Egypt" following World War I. The victorious Europeans
had"imported their half-naked women into these regions, together with
their liquors, their theatres, their dance halls, their amusements, their
stories, their newspapers, their novels, their whims, their silly games,
and their vices." Suddenly the very heart of the Islamic world was
penetrated by European"schools and scientific and cultural institutes"
that" cast doubt and heresy into the souls of its sons and taught them how
to demean themselves, disparage their religion and their fatherland,
divest themselves of their traditions and beliefs, and to regard as sacred
anything Western." ( http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/934 )
So the usual question: What is to be done?
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