Memorial Day 2018
I write this essay with a bit of outrage because of my training, my temperament, my talents, my interactions with people of artistic and non-artistic bend, and because of the collapsed state of art as art in America. It is perhaps true that art in America was never truly based upon the individual, not in the way that the ideals of America would purport it to be. Of late, however, the group-mantra of public discourse about art and about American society has driven me, as an artist, and as an American, to distraction. I spent the better part of the past decade isolated — closeted, if you will, from the screaming and screeching of news and commentaries in this country. I had better things to do, among them writing novels and poetry. Last year, I peeked out from behind my barricade of books to witness the Diatribe Set and I realized that the chatter and the jabber and the blather that are spouted as intellectual discourse — they’re worse than ever!
And there are now books to accompany the televised diatribes! As a free-market-hard-shell turtle, I care not a whit about what a person buys or does not buy to read. There are non-fiction readers and there are fiction readers and rarely do the twain meet. My outrage concerns the demands of these talking heads that the Government, the President, Congress, Society, and any GROUP with any political influence DO something to change the way American society is headed off of a cliff!
Excuse me, people of the nation called America, the one based upon individual liberties, individual rights, individual votes: American society is based upon the individual, not upon group-talk, group-think, group-vote, group-email, group-ratings, or group-sales of anything. The mere notion that the problems with public schools today can be traced back to any one law being passed, or a rejection of any policy, or the endorsement of ideas antithetical to how the nation was formed: that belief is so intellectually dishonest and simplistic that I am aghast to hear such statements from people who deem themselves rational and analytical, as well as well-schooled in the U.S. Constitution and in the basic principles of basic principles of America.
The basic unit of our society, of any society is the individual: 1 person. This proving ground of courage is how we arrive at 1 nation, indivisible, and under God. Once the radio waves are filled with cries for more government action to restore order, this nation has begun to truly face the crisis that the crisis-mongers cannot even begin to comprehend, so busy are they rattling sabers at sores that have festered for decades in this country. My decision in 1997 to home-school my two children was based upon my opinion and my experience that the public school system was failing the students of not just my state, but of the nation. Twenty years later, the nation is watching the inevitable happen, and all I can hear is outrage from people, on the Left and on the Right, as to why the Government has not prevented this out-of-control situation that has basically been bred and fed by too many parents who hand the child over to the Institution and walk away. Until the 24/7 news crews show up and then We, the People, are out to sea in terms of learning names, facts and figures. But there are cries for action for SOCIETY to do something. What has this diatribe to do with the Artist in Society? Plenty.
In the good old days, before LBJ and his War on Society; before Nixon lied to us all and didn’t get away with it; before Jimmy Carter didn’t lie to us but we all wished he had; before the lying became institutionalized after Ronald Reagan rode into town, did his job, and rode outta town; before 9/11 woke up half the country; before the 2016 election shed light on the Deep State that has been in place for decades (it’s an international construct, the Deep State; a government really can’t non-function without one, and we all can thank the Commies for building the first true Deep State, a red one that still bleeds from time to time); before the News became the only form of Entertainment “on the air” — There was a quaint place for the Artist in Society. He painted or he wrote or she sang or she danced. Often the artistry was performed for small crowds, for the audiences who enjoyed laughter and fun and a few jabs at Authority. The concept of any art being honed and force-fed to the masses for the purpose of Social Value, that cockamamie crowd chow began with the Hippies. All You Need is Love was their public mantra while they destroyed any semblance of love in private. The nation of America has not yet recovered from a group of brats who thought they were going to change the world with bad music, bad books, bad tv, bad trips and bad smells. The world has changed because of them, in the sense that the world must now mop up after their detritus, and with the dispersal of the disinfectant, there will arise the re-discovery of Art, not for Society, but Art for the Individual, who is the one and only true arbiter of what is worth looking at, listening to, and walking away from.
In conclusion, I quote Vladimir Nabokov, the novelist who became famous for his satirical novel, Lolita, and for the Hollywood film that debauched it, but his works of art are testaments to the Artist as Individual: A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual. Mак верно ! So true!