December 15, 2017

“Balthus, censorship and anesthetization of life” by Andrea Bocchiola

This is very well-written. I agree with him but I would describe it as “sterilization” instead of “anesthetization” because anesthetization is something you do to yourself, which is not what’s happening. People are demanding that our environment be sterilized so that they wouldn’t have to anesthetize themselves. In fact, I wish these people were anesthetizing themselves so that it wouldn’t impact the rest of us.

But at the same time, I have no sympathies for institutions like museums, The Weinstein Company, and The Paris Review (whose editor in chief recently resigned over the allegations of sexual misconduct). They are old-school gatekeepers who possess the now-irrelevant power to sanctify taste. They are a necessary mechanism in the market of prestige, but it’s only necessary for the artists and the audience who care more about prestige than artistic merit. These gatekeepers are no longer necessary for art because the Internet allows us to find anything or anyone we want directly. Like direct democracy, we are able to vote directly for the artists, instead of their representatives.

These tastemakers wield power over those who have no taste of their own. It’s the same people who have to check the brand name of every piece of clothing before buying, who demand that institutions protect us all from every risk in life, because they have no courage of their conviction to stand alone. They fuss over the minor details of inconsequential forms of art like fine wine and classical music performance. The choices they make are important only insofar as how they are seen by others, not how they themselves see (because they don’t know how to see).

Given the ever-increasing political correctness and great demand for sterilization, moral attacks against institutions like museums will continue to increase. I’m fine with that because I have no use for them.