Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Aesthetics and Politics

I'm drawn, in the world of art, to brokenness, insufficiency, bewilderment, feminine elegance, powerlessness, failure, lovingness, uncertainty, deference, eagerness, recklessness, the chaotic, the new, the insouciant, the heterogeneous, the libertine, the inclusive, the forgotten, the disenfranchised, the disheveled, the exuberant, the experimental, the animalistic, the tentative, the naughty, the droll.

I am repelled by completeness, confidence, steadfastness, triumphalism, certainty, ambition, aggression, order, symmetry, selfishness, the absolute, the bellicose, the nationalistic, the traditional, the individual, the caustic, the outraged, the ascetic, the exclusive, the pantheon, the clean, the powerful, the well-suited, the joyless, the earnest, the cruel.

The same sensibility that shapes my aesthetic life—my attitude toward beauty—shapes my political and religious lives. Consequently, I fail to understand the appeal of modern Protestantism (for example) and the contemporary Republican Party.

Given my upbringing, this difficulty might be a form of self-loathing.

But I find self-loathing interesting—more interesting than self-love.

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