Post #1385 • September 4, 2009, 9:42 AM • 136 Comments
Two days ago, Glenn Beck, who was brought onto Fox News to make Sean Hannity look placid and cogent, simultaneously channeled Sister Wendy Beckett and Senator Joe McCarthy, causing a combined torrent of uninformed art analysis and anti-communist tirade to spew from his pie hole.
Railing about "propaganda" in "plain sight," he fumed about an offensive 1937 door frame at Rockefeller Plaza showing a figure with wheat and a man holding a hammer. In no time, he was hysterical about how these figures represented "the worker and the farmer," and there was even a hammer and a sickle pictured (although the hammer resembled a shovel).
Jerry Saltz has responded, brilliantly, by challenging him to curate two exhibitions, one each of art that he does and does not approve of. Beck won't take him up on it - he and his kind are all lungs, no spine - but kudos to Saltz for demonstrating the difference between children and grown-ups regarding punditry. I don't think we would learn anything from the exercise anyway. We would merely reconfirm that Beck has gone full retard.
Re-fighting the culture wars has failed to compel Americans to vote Republican for two election cycles, with a third loss on the way in 2010. Since I had to register as a Republican to vote for viable libertarian candidates, I get mail from various conservative organizations asking for money. Most of them argue, if you can call it that, that we are hurtling headlong into socialism because of government intervention in the economy. I am to believe that this intervention is socialist, and therefore bad, despite the fact that it was initiated by a Republican president.
If the reaction of the art world to Beck's addled screed gets any traction in the conservative media, it will frame it as a liberal response. I want to offer the counterexample. As a libertarian by inclination and a Republican by necessity, given a choice between Democratic policies argued from principles - even ones I don't agree with - and Republican tantrum-throwing, I will support the former. Given a choice between governance by people who think their way to the wrong conclusions and people who emote their way to the wrong conclusions, I choose the thinking. Republicans need to start generating legitimate policy based on the Constitution. Proud displays of ignorance like Beck's make me want to switch party affiliation from the expedient option to the principled one.