I think there is a debate in the arts

I think there is a debate in the arts about, you know, whether we must strive for art for art’s sake, and you know, kind of try to keep political debate out of our work. And to that I say, I’d like you to show me an example of, you know, this so-called apolitical art. I don’t think there’s any such thing.

Sarah Jones

6 thoughts on “I think there is a debate in the arts”

  1. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

    George Orwell, “Why I Write” (1946)

    I have yet to see any refutation for any of the arts that does not rely upon shifting definitions — and I’ve been looking for nearly half a century.

  2. Most of the time, when people complain about a work of art being “political,” what they mean is one of two things: the work either A. takes gratuitous partisan potshots or B. is attempting to use the past or a fictional setting that isn’t like the real world as a metaphor for whatever current real-world political issue the author is into.

  3. These days, whether you’re an artist or an auto salesman, to say you’re non-political is an implicit way of saying you’re not left-wing. But to say you’re not left-wing gets you classified as being one of those people, who are on the wrong side of History.

  4. Is there really a debate about art and politics? Or is it more like, “Hello, we would like a story,” and other people insisting, “No, we want to lecture you instead.”

    No one cares if politics are in a story, but they all hate lectures masquerading as stories. You can tell if it’s the latter because it will read like a bad comedy or horror: the arc of the universe will bend toward whatever idiocy serves the point. Characters will carry idiot balls, villains will twirl mustaches, and readers’ heads will be treated like anvils, to have the author’s point hammered into them.

  5. Okay, it has to be said, if everything is political then nothing is political. Or, if everyone is special then no one is special.

    I’ll unpack that for the pedantic.

    Everything can be made political but in doing so it leaves the topic as one of many that then has to be prioritized as important or not important.

    People who way they’re apolitical are just saying that the importance of discussing said subject is beyond their willingness to expend the time, energy and any other resources to argue.

    So, once one say everything is political then they’re playing the game of consuming peoples resources – wasting their time.

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