Part 16: Are You My Dada?

Sundays With The Christianists: A ‘World History’ Textbook That May Not Know About Art, But Knows What God Likes

A style of art that won a place in the heart of the general publicIt’s Art Depreciation Day for Homeschoolers, as we learn from our 10th-Grade textbook, World History and Cultures In Christian Perspective. After polishing off the dangerous liberal fads of “philosphy” and “education” last week, we’re now ready to learn all about how godless liberals tried to wreck culture through their pernicious effects on the arts!

The trouble all started with the Impressionists, you see. Mostly a bunch of Frenchies, they were “influenced by empiricism and positivism” which led them to try to create art that captured

momentary, fleeting “impressions” received by the physical senses; to many impressionist artists, such impressions were the only reality. Trying to show the ever-changing reality of a particular moment, impressionist artists emphasized minute details through the effect of changing light

Astonishingly, the textbook doesn’t quite go so far as to condemn the Impressionists for relying on their human senses instead of the orderly artistic precepts contained in the Bible, possibly because there’s nothing about art in the Bible at all, excepting the ban on graven images. Even so, the editors do work up a good head of steam about those morally suspect cubists and their dangerously subjective versions of reality:

By the 20th century many artists had accepted the liberal philosophies of the age and rejected absolute values; and the works of such artists reflected their attitude. For example, in the style known as cubism, artists such as Spanish painter Pablo Picasso emphasized random geometric forms and perspectives in their works, hoping to create a new “reality” in the viewer’s mind.

Oh, but it gets much worse, children. There’s the craziness of abstract art, with all that chaos and emotion, and even worse!

The liberal philosophies of existentialism and Freudianism held a strong influence over modern art. For example, in the style known as dadaism, artists believed that the universe was controlled totally by chance. Thus, the Dadaists promoted paintings, sculptures, and poetry that delighted in the fantastic, the absurd, and the random; to the Dadaists, God, man, and reason are all dead.

Needless to say, the textbook includes no actual reprints of these decadent insults to order and good sense.

Happily, while Europeans were throwing toilets into art museums, good Protestants know what sells, and so we get this strange explanation of what really counts in aesthetic judgment:

In spite of the many movements in modern art, the general public has been the final judge in art, and the styles of art that have won a place in the hearts of most people have been the traditional forms to which people can easily relate.

Precious Moments™, anyone? Those little statues are just adorable! Strangely, when it comes to art, the book suggests that popularity is equal to decency and quality, a notion it happily abandons if Bad Things become popular, because man’s sinful nature often leads majorities to choose badly.

Illustrators have had an especially strong conservative influence in modern art. For example, British artist Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated the beloved Tale of Peter Rabbit, the first modern picture book….. French artist Jean de Brunhoff created the delightful “Babar the Elephant,” a character that has entertained children for decades.

World History sadly misses the opportunity to point out that the Babar books showed how beneficial and benign colonialism could be, taking those naked pagan elephants and giving them the delights of modern civilization.

The ultimate conservative artist, of course, was Norman Rockwell, whose

illustrations warmly portrayed those things that are often most dear to people: their homes, their children, their towns. His “homespun” characters and humorous scenes of American life appeared on over 300 Saturday Evening Post covers.

With the strange myopia typical of these guys, the editors make no mention of Rockwell’s dangerously progressive thoughts on race-mixing, or his near-treasonous suggestion that southern American conservatives were sometimes a bit less than Christ-like.

We get a brief discussion of 20th-Century music, learning that “the influence of liberal philosophies” led music to lose “beauty as well as form,” and that jazz, while rhythmically pleasing, also “became associated with those who revolted against traditional standards.” The text appears to consider “conservative” any 20th-century composer whose music sounds pretty — it lists Aaron Copland among “conservative” composers, even though he was gay and his politics were leftish enough that Joseph McCarthy investigated him in 1953. The title and themes of “Fanfare For the Common Man” were inspired by a 1942 speech by super-progressive Henry A. Wallace, who was endorsed by the CPUSA in his run for the presidency in 1948. But Copland’s music had recognizable melodies, so yeah, conservative.

And finally, on to literature. The section heading here describes “liberal” 20th Century writing as a “Flight From Reality,” which is an odd thing to say about fiction anyway. But they do manage to find sinfulness in the very stylistic choices of some writers, let alone the content:

Flight from reality. Like the liberal art and music of the first half of the 20th century, much of the literature of the same period also reflects modern man’s rebellion against God and absolutes and his flight from objective reality toward subjective relativism. For example, many 20th-century writers developed from the theories of Freud a writing technique called “stream of consciousness” — an attempt to forge a spontaneous flow of subconscious thoughts, memories, wishes, and impressions into a single narrative.

As examples, we get Proust and of course Joyce, so good Christian boys and girls will be dissuaded from reading a 7-volume novel or the pun-packed musings of a filthy Irish sex perv. But wait, there’s more!

Freudianism greatly influenced other modern writers, such as D. H. Lawrence of England and Franz Kafka of Germany; many of these writers demonstrated Freud’s influence by revolting against traditional values and writing novels that glorified immoral lifestyles.

Ah, yes, Kafka and his glorifying of immorality. How well we remember looking for all the dirty parts of The Trial with lust in our hearts. And with that, we’re largely finished with 20th Century fiction, apart from some fuming at Sinclair Lewis’s unjust suggestion that conservative religions leaders were ever hypocrites, and a brief mention of the writers who went to Paris out of an ungrateful rejection of “the ‘bourgeoisie’ [sic] morality” of England and America — here, the book redefines a basic term of the era, insisting that these writers

became known as the “Lost Generation” because of their restless rebellion against traditional morality.

How’s that for a flight from reality? The rest of the sins of literary liberals are mostly laid at the feet of early 20th Century writers who were blinded to the awfulness of Stalin, with no mention of any liberals who later changed their views or condemned him from the start, because apparently that never happened. We also get a brief slam of H.L. Mencken, of course, because he “attacked America’s cherished traditional morality” and mocked Christianity.

Among the conservative literary heroes who bravely “expressed the wisdom of maintaining traditional standards and morality,” we get G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, whose fantasy trilogy “taught people to long for truth and goodness;” the editors of World History seem not to share most modern Christianists’ fear that reading about a wizard will instantly lead young people to start summoning demons. Malcolm Muggeridge gets a whole sidebar of his own for renouncing his early socialist leanings and embracing Christianity.

And we learn that George Orwell must be ranked with conservative literary heroes because he “graphically portrayed the horrors of the totalitarian state in his novels Animal Farm and 1984,” so the conservative literary pantheon somehow manages to include a writer who fought in the Spanish Civil War with a communist (but anti-Stalinist) militia and remained a socialist all his life, although the book sends these inconvenient facts down the Memory Hole. Lucky for Orwell that he chose the right faction!

Next Week: The 20’s and the Great Depression. We bet all those soup lines resulted from a rejection of Biblical morality!

Check out Wonkette on Facebook and Twitter and even on Tumblr. And if you like doubleplusgood thoughtnuggets in 140 characters, Doktor Zoom is on Twitter, also, too.

About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom
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  1. AlterNewt

    Freudianism greatly influenced other modern writers, such as D. H. Lawrence of England and Franz Kafka of Germany; many of these writers demonstrated Freud’s influence by revolting against traditional values and writing novels that glorified immoral lifestyles.

    Yeah. Too bad about that.

    1. sullivanst

      I can certainly understand why they'd be hatin' on Kafka. After all, The Trial does indicate a certain distaste for an authoritarian system acting arbitrarily, whereas the Christianists absolutely need their little people to be accepting Because I Said So as a definitive answer.

      1. not that Dewey

        Goddammit. By the time I get here, all the good Duchamp jokes are taken. I was struggling with "Prudes Defending a Threadbare Case", or something along those lines, but it seems like kind of a reach.

    1. Lot_49

      Really! This is the art that sells, and must therefore be the best art. Like black-velvet depictions of Elvis, or Hummel figurines. Or The Da Vinci Code.

      Hey, wait a minute…

  2. Jimmyone

    Ya know Dok…you are incredibly smart and a wonderful writer…I just can't wrap my mind around your article today…what with these false christians spewing their twisted teachings and cruelty…The shootings….can't type through the tears….

    1. Mumbletypeg

      Today then might be a good time to take a moment here & there and go look at some fine art.
      Naturally there are views available online of the great artists but if you have access to a gallery, musuem, library w/ a gallery etc. I think that's a perfect Sunday avenue for quick escape. But like I observed; not all of us have that access within short drive (or restricted Sunday hours-of-operation for some of these places) — you are in good company here for sure, and you are not alone in what you're thinking.

      1. Jimmyone

        Thanks Dok and Mumbly…I've lost three children over my span as a parent…my 27 yr old daughter left us with a wonderful grandson…who is suffering some sort of depression…we just past THE anniversary on the 12th…it has been six years and it is NOT getting easier and when things like Ct. happen it just gets raw….I would like to point out too, that I hide out here at the Wonkette for the fact that there are quite a few smart and articulate folks here that help me sort through shit…with humor and votes…Mommy blogs have a function….

  3. eggsacklywright

    "Revolting against traditional values…" equals "not agreeing with what I believe."

    Charles Ives 4th Symphony would make these ignorant toads run screaming from the room.

    "Lord save us from 'difficult' music." — Laurie Anderson

    1. Lot_49

      That's the one with the competing bands at the 4th of July picnic, right? Gotta confess I find it a bit difficult myself.

      1. eggsacklywright

        Well, no, it's not exactly "easy listening", the layers and textures are a challenge, but a worthwhile one, to me. I find it haunting and beautiful. Not daily listening, certainly.

      1. eggsacklywright

        Favorite anecdote from Cage's Silence:

        When Vera Williams first noticed I was interested in wild mushrooms, she told her children not to touch any of them because they were all deadly poisonous. A few days late she bought a steak and decided to serve it smothered in mushrooms. When she started to cook, the children all stopped whatever they were doing and watched attentively. When she served dinner, they all burst into tears.

    1. eggsacklywright

      I hear Trump has an extensive collection. Black and gold go so well together, confirming his anal personality.

    2. Wile E. Quixote

      Which Elvis are we talking about here? Young, hot, pre-draft Elvis, young, hot post-draft Elvis who went to Hollywood or old fat, bloated and dying on a toilet Elvis.

    3. ButthurtWingers2012

      That one and the velvet paintings of Jesus carrying a sawed off shotgun to go take care of some unbelievers. Then of course there's Thomas Kincaid and the pinnacle of modern conservative art: Red Dawn. By the way, I noticed a distinct lack of bitching over graven images and iconography or that many Renaissance artists who started this whole sea of sin cut their teeth painting didactic Christian art…because there would be too much nuance to discuss Leonardo for instance…

    1. sewollef

      Part of the problem with art from mediaeval times is that was often the only way a struggling artist could earn a living, by taking religious commissions.

      Remember, the christian church back then had [and still does], obscene amounts of wealth to go along with the enormous amount of political and military power. If you wanted to eat and earn a living, you often had to bow to the church's will, although powerful families such as the Medici were big patrons of the arts too.

      That was partly true for Da Vinci, but certainly true for Michaelangelo, Donatello, Giotto and Brunelleschi and probably many other lesser names of that period.

      1. ButthurtWingers2012

        hah…yeah, I know…they probably do love that book given the themes of it including the killing of the "christ-like" child. What makes me laugh about conservative 'art' is how they grasp at straws to find such art…take Tolkein for instance. While his books are apparently Manichean in their depiction of a war between light and shadow the bad guys are all industrialists and the good guys are hippies who love nature. Not exactly the kind of work you'd see your average global warming denying, pollution ignoring, cheerleading whore for industry conservative would be reading, anyway…

    1. bikerlaureate

      When you put it that way…

      Smoking, drinking, fornication.
      The teachers probably have to explain what those things are to their students, who wouldn't encounter such behavior in conservative Pleasantville.

    1. glamourdammerung

      I always thought it was funny that the Nazis had the "approved" art and "degenerate" art displays and shut the latter down because no one was going to the former.

    1. Tommmcatt_Again

      So, off-thread but interesting: Do you consider the Obama Chia head racist? I'm very nonplussed on the subject.

      1. shelwood46

        I can't believe you made me look up the history of the Chia Thingies. I'd say it was a bit problematic, since prior to the Obama Chias (apparently, there were two), the only non-generic Chia Head was a Mr. T one. OTOH, it seems they had a Hillary head in the works, pending election results, and also went on to release Chia Heads for Washington, Lincoln, and later Romney, Gingrich and Paul. I kind of want a bunch of those last three for skeet shooting. And we're back to problematic.

          1. shelwood46

            It seems important (although it isn't) to note that the two Obama heads introduced in April 2009 were called Obama (Determined) and Obama (Happy). They dropped Obama (Happy) and now the only Chia Obama you can buy is Obama (Determined).

            Also too, they never planned a Chia McCain. Because he'd look silly with green or any hair, I'm guessing. I do mourn the fact that there were never any plans for a Chia Palin. Again, for skeet.

        1. kittensdontlie

          By putting Chia 'hair' on a variety of hairless heads, the Chia makers are more guilty of baldism. The bald head being the new Virgin Mary breast.

      2. Fare la Volpe

        Very racist.

        It's a well known fact that slaves in the old south had to grow all their vegetables out of their heads when times were tough.

          1. Doktor Zoom

            Which for some reason reminds me of a line in an Ed Abbey essay where he mentions sitting down during a river trip and just gnawing on a whole head of iceberg lettuce, "like Ugolino and Ruggieri."

  4. Goonemeritus

    I sit in my Eames chair, Miles Davis "Workin'" is on the stereo, several photos by Man Ray are on the walls and a Joseph Conrad novel is open on my knee. It occurs to me that the fact that I didn’t go to church this morning may prove his point.

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      Admit it, it was the Eames chair that led you away from God, wasn't it.? Charles and Ray Eames are going to have a lot to answer for in the afterlife, their modern, attractive, functional and understated designs have led more people into Satan's clutches than pornography, gay marriage and legalized weed combined.

    2. Wile E. Quixote

      And if you lived in Washington State you could be doing all of this and taking hits off of your vaporizer while your husband was in the kitchen preparing something fabulous for dinner.

  5. Rotundo_

    So, like so much covered in this "educational" work, art that makes you think is bad, art that makes you feel warm and squishy is good. Art that challenges you is bad, art that reinforces established (very conveniently so) belief systems is good. Next week will be Jesus bringing about the great depression to slap us for flappers and booze. Looking forward to it.

  6. Mumbletypeg

    In spite of the many movements in modern art, the general public has been the final judge in art, and the styles of art that have won a place in the hearts of most people have been the traditional forms to which people can easily relate.

    In spite of the many movements in modern Christianity, the general public has been the final judge in moralizing standards, and the styles of ministry that have won a place in dumbed down the wisdom of most people have been the traditional [read: cheapened] forms to which unfeeling automatons can easily relate.


    1. sewollef

      the styles of art that have won a place in the hearts of most people have been the traditional forms to which people can easily relate

      Taken literally, that would mean Thomas Kinkade's mass-produced shit masquerading as 'art' would be it since it sells by the bucketload.

      Of course, there are probably a million and one art historians who would laugh out loud at the thought.

      But for me the likes of a Vermeer, or an Ansel Adams, or a Monet, or a Doisneau, Brassai or Atget, or a Lichtenstein, or a Gaudí would be it.

      I guess that's differing taste for you.

      1. eggsacklywright

        I read somewhere years ago that Gaudí was a conservative Catholic fellow, not at all interested in mescalin. Weird.

  7. SexySmurf

    When it comes to art, I like that Georgia O'Keeffe. I don't know why I like her paintings. There's something about them, but I just can't put my finger in it.

    1. sewollef

      I had that conversation with the missus only this morning. We both came to the conclusion that art is a visceral thing. It's difficult to say why you like something, but you know it just speaks to you.

      I had an ex-girlfriend who while we visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam stopped and cried in front of one of his paintings. Literally cried at the beauty she found in it. She couldn't explain why.

      1. tessiee

        Years ago, I dragged my sister to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where they had "Starry Night" on display. The elevator door opened and there it was in front of us.
        Bessie [awe-stricken]: He painted that.
        Me [not getting what she meant]: Of course he did. God help the museum if he didn't.
        Bessie: No, he started with a blank page, and ended up with… [gestures] THAT!

        1. RadioBitchFace

          I <3 this story tessie.
          Especially considering he was in a insane asylum at the time.
          And here's my funny Van Gogh/museum story.
          We were in the National Gallery one day about twenty years ago in the Impressionistic Wing. And you know how you get in the same rhythm in viewing as another group of people? Well, there was this family in cadence with us. Future Föx viewers no doubt. Anyshizzle, we get to the Van Gogh and the dad says to the teenage boy, "they said he was a nut case."
          No further comment.

    2. Wile E. Quixote

      Not much of a Georgia O'Keeffe fan myself, it's the obvious phallic imagery that turns me off.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Anyone who can come up with a title like "The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit" is OK in my book, too. I'm sure a lot of the people they celebrate would be aghast at the thought that these jerks think they're on the same side.

    2. tessiee

      One of my favorite writers, Alison Lurie, has a book about children's literature called, "Don't Tell the Grownups!". It's a fascinating read about the books we all loved as children, and includes a chapter devoted to Beatrix Potter and her writing and illustrations. It's too long to go into any detail here, but I'll mention two things:

      1. Beatrix, a shy and plain girl, was interested in drawing and studying all aspects of nature — plants, animals, etc. Her Peter Rabbit books started out as drawings that she sent to children of friends and family, and then self-published, with the goal of having a children's book that most families could afford, and that a child could easily fit into a pocket.

      2. The author notes that "when I asked a class of students which character in the book they would have preferred to be, they voted unanimously for Peter, recognizing the concealed moral of the story: that disobedience and exploration are more fun than good behavior, and not really all that dangerous, whatever Mother may say".

        1. tessiee

          "I freakin' LOVE this book. Let's also add Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment to the list! "

          Yes! They're next to each other on one of the many bookshelves at Casa di Tessie.

          1. sewollef

            Last time I was in Oxford my wife [who's American] and I [a Brit], went on a Lewis Carroll hunt around the town. We're grown ups [biologically that is], but have Alice in Wonderland pop-up books and virtually every other thing written by Charles Dodgson under his pseudonym.

            Dodgson's work was or rather, IS spectacular and I wouldn't be surprised if I heard it was undertaken while on acid. His books might be for children, but wow, they are brilliant.

      1. Vecchiojohn

        Extra thumbs up for mentioning Alison Lurie. One of the most under-appreciated writers of our time. "The Language of Clothes" is great, too.

    3. HouseOfTheBlueLights

      These folks have apparently not read The Tale of Two Bad Mice, wherein a couple of landless peasant mice take over and destroy the home of the Master (i.e. the dolls' house)

  8. docterry6973

    You know, it actually is horrifying that children are being taught this stuff, and might actually grow up believing it.

  9. gullywompr

    In Doc's discussion of art, I can't help but feel like a particular type of imagery is missing…

    What could it be… what could it be…

  10. ttommyunger

    Art? A nice set of tits, well-turned ankles, shapely calves, full hips topped by a defined waist. I know all the art I ever need to know; others can get all excited about the rest.

      1. ttommyunger

        I've always preferred the real thing to graphic reproductions or fantasy. A woman, sunset, tree or hawk in flight.Sent from the Field, not in Garrison.

        1. Beowoof

          Always my sentiment, because Playboy models, don't look like Playboy model when you see them in real life.

          1. ttommyunger

            I would not have any way of knowing that, so I will take your word for it.Sent from the Field, not in Garrison.

          2. Beowoof

            I have seen one or two in real life bopping around Vegas and honestly they have all the same flaws as others air brushed away.

    1. fartknocker

      My favorite moment is when she's walking towards the sun wearing a thin skirt and the sunlight illuminates her legs and posterior.

      1. tessiee

        Roy Blount mentions a loose-fitting blouse, and he hopes that a parade will pass by, so the woman wearing it will salute the flag.

  11. PubOption

    What would they make of Evelyn Waugh? Outwardly a Conservative, religious (albeit Catholic), but fond of writing about the gays.

  12. Meathamper

    Wait till they find out about modern art. $$$ for a blank canvas and they call it "art"? Even God must be scratching his head at that one.

  13. not that Dewey

    Dok, there you go again with that whole "communist, but anti-Stalinist" distinction. Would Gen. Jack T Ripper make that kind of distinction? I think not.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Hank Hill on "Christian Rock":

      "You're not making Christianity better, you're making rock and roll worse!"

      1. tessiee

        One of my favorite Hank Hill quotes.
        Here's another one just for chuckles:
        Hank [barging into Luanne's room where she's in bed with her boyfriend]: Luanne! Buckley! Have you seen Bobby?
        Luanne and Buckley: EEEK! [then] No.
        Hank: Well, if you see him, tell him I'm looking for him and to come straight home. it's an emergency! [then, turning back to them with one hand on the door] Oh, and kick each other's asses for me, will you?

    1. Dr_Zoidberg

      Oh, I love Van Gogh. While 'Starry Night' is gorgeous, my personal favorite is 'Wheatfield with Crows' There is something so ominous about that painting.

  14. RadioBitchFace

    I'll take my McNaughton, Lawrence Welk and the Left Behind series any day over Van Gogh, Rock'n'Roll, and Twain.

  15. Doktor Zoom

    By the way, I am rather proud of my mad MS Paint skillz in that NR pic. As far as I can tell, nobody's thought to throw Beast Jesus into that particular work yet. I may need to go ahead and get some cheap downmarket version of Photoshop — there are some things that would be a lot easier to do with layers.

    (like keep on fucking that chicken…)

        1. not that Dewey

          Wait, so it's okay to say "gimp", but not those other words? I'll never understand how this thing works.

    1. GeneralLerong

      You did that in MS Paint? Jeezus. I'm impressed. And here I thought I'm a cheapass retrograde hold-out for doing technical drawings in PowerPoint.

      That's the trouble with mad skilz – they're hard to toss aside.

    2. Veritas78

      I was looking for a post to compliment both the concept and the execution. Both are beyond inspired: they're brilliant.

      And not a pony in sight! See what you can do when you let your fetishes go?

  16. Lucidamente1

    I would love to have the authors to listen to Stravinsky's Requiem Canticles, and then stand back and watch their heads explode.

  17. LibertyLover

    Hey, Hey, Hey… now you've gone too far and mocked my Precious Moments figurine. (Ok, so I only have one, but still.) They may not be the standard of drawings of pretty pink ponies, but just leave them alone, ok?

    1. Veritas78

      Oh, my—how DO they do that?

      And if he had picked either of the other Rockwell paintings she suggested, we all know she'd have found a reason to object.

  18. smitallica

    Yes, people certainly have rejected modern, non-traditional art. That's why no one ever pays millions of dollars for a single painting. Especially not Picasso, Van Gogh, or Basquiat. Sotheby's can't give that crap away.

    Also, Kafka was from Prague, not Germany, you fucking Bible-thumping idiots.

    1. tessiee

      All I know about Basquiat is that in the movie about him, Andy Warhol was played by David Bowie, which is just… so perfect.

  19. smitallica

    Also, the Lost Generation kinda rejected "traditional values" because the arbiters of "traditional values" had just uselessly scattered unidentifiable pieces of millions of their young men all over Flanders. For God, King and Country.
    Fuck these people and their ignorant horseshit.

  20. LibertyLover

    I am surprised that Thomas Kinkaid and Jon McNaughton weren't included as the newest warriors for conservative paintings at least in the latest edition of this "textbook."

  21. LibertyLover

    Even so, the editors do work up a good head of steam about those morally suspect cubists and their dangerously subjective versions of reality

    As if the Christianists don't have a subjective version of reality?

  22. sullivanst

    The rest of the sins of literary liberals are mostly laid at the feet of early 20th Century writers who were blinded to the awfulness of Stalin, with no mention of any liberals who later changed their views or condemned him from the start, because apparently that never happened.&lt;/blockquote

    What delicious irony that they attempt to flush 1984 down the memory hole.

    ETA: Bah, should've read the whole piece. I'm guessing The Road To Wigan Pier is not on their approved reading list.

  23. malsperanza

    Ah, I love it when the Christers and Teabaggers get confused about art styles. Abstraction = Radical Politics! Rockwell = Conservative! Fuckin illiterates.

    Norman Rockwell: lifelong, ardent progressive. Painted impassioned artworks about civil rights and racial equality when the aesthetic avant-garde was stone silent.

    Jackson Pollock: Created an art style that to the not-so-illiterate Cold Warriors handily embodies the concepts of freedom of expression, liberty, rejection of state authority over ideas, and other Things the Soviets Were Against.

  24. HouseOfTheBlueLights

    Back before reality came crashing down in the form of children and a mortgage, I was a working artist making abstract images based on the Bible. I used to have a lot of shows at small midwestern Christian college, where I would inevitably be attacked for my commie abstract art. At which point I would ask them what the heck they thought "make no graven images" meant, exactly. Blew a lot of little Christian minds.

  25. SayItWithWookies

    It's impressive how the writers of this text manage to cobble together doctrinally correct microrealities out of the constant swirl of complex themes that make up the larger whole, and take these littlte illusions whip each one into conformity with their idea that adhering to Christian doctrine is the sole historical force at work, ever. Marx, with his reductivist interpretation of history as class warfare would be impressed.

    But the really most starkly wrong feature of their interpretation is the literature bit — first of all, "flight from reality" is probably the poorest possible description of modernist literature — from Crane to Drieser to Erich Maria Remarque, the progression has been to embrace reality entirely, especially the ugly and the horrible that pollyanna morality play enthusiasts avoided.

    And nobody's fiction has come closer to reality than Joyce, who managed to depict an entire day in intimate and excruciating detail in Ulysses.

    The fortunate thing about this tome is that it's soooo wrong that students raised on it who get the slightest exposure to art history will have no choice but to wonder if everything they've learned up till that moment is wrong.

    1. tessiee

      "But the really most starkly wrong feature of their interpretation is the literature bit — first of all, "flight from reality" is probably the poorest possible description of modernist literature"

      Also, like fundie nutcakes are opposed to flight from reality.

    2. Doktor Zoom

      the writers of this text manage to cobble together doctrinally correct microrealities out of the constant swirl of complex themes that make up the larger whole, and take these littlte illusions whip each one into conformity

      It's really quite postmodern, isn't it?

      1. Alan

        wow; I can't believe you replied! I think you all need a tv show; Ana Marie as host, no? :) Your observations are so on point, i.e., the right combination of humor, snark, and ridicule.

      2. Alan

        btw, I am a retired legal editor with a JD [worked at Cal/Berkeley for 20 years] living in Bay Area [Oakland]; I would be more than happy to do some editing for you all, as they say, pro bono. Am a relatively happy [ I have, shall we say, first world problems] old hippy radical just chilling. Let me know if you all want some help as I have a small pension, health care, SS, and just listen to music, organize around various political issues, and read books all day–other than parental stuff with my kid a sophomore at a UC. If you want to see an example of the my skills, please forward me a piece to nosh on..:) ; but whatever, keep up the good work; you all crack me up…

  26. fartknocker

    This posting was enlightening. I now understand why my odd neighbor who advocates home skooling believes that a Paula Dean cookbook and the latest edition of Field and Stream constitutes her interpretation of coffee table books.

  27. Dashboard Buddha

    Wait a minute…wasn't dadaism a response to a war where Christians on both sides were ground to a powder while their Christian generals and politician declared god was on their side?

  28. tessiee

    "Precious Moments™, anyone? Those little statues are just adorable!"

    "You should read a cartoon called "Love Is…". It's about two naked children who are married." — Homer J. Simpson*

    *ps. If you've never seen this cartoon, it's at the perfect intersection of cutesie and mega-creepy.

    1. smokefilledroommate

      I was going to make a "love is.." reference earlier as it goes along with Precious Moments, Hummels, and beloved Christian garbage– as in, "those 'love is…' mofos are naked children and they don't have a problem with that!"

    2. SigDeFlyinMonky

      I drove my future spouse to distraction covering the refrigerator with "Love Is…." Everything from aroma therapy to chemotherapy!

    1. Doktor Zoom

      They're trying to stick to the early 20th Century in this section; doubt they actually mention the Beats, though, even when they get to the 50's…

  29. zedbot

    Today I am doing my part to bring down civilization by framing a dozen abstract mixed media drawings for an upcoming show. You are welcome. *holds out tip jar*

  30. SigDeFlyinMonky

    Shout out for Mikhail Bulgakov & Egon Schiele. Give the brains of these members of retrograde culture a charlie horse. "Heart of a Dog" is an all time favorite. They are just a different stripe (tripe?) of authoritarianism. Social realism was used in painting in the service of communist ideology. Just swap out the ideology and presto, social realism in the service of authoritarian fascist theocracy. Critical thinking bad… blind acceptance of dogma good.

  31. valthemus

    "… the editors of World History seem not to share most modern Christianists’ fear that reading about a wizard will instantly lead young people to start summoning demons."

    Every time I hear about a fundamentalist parent who won't let their children read Harry Potter, my inner child wants to pee on their food.

    And, yes, if you read the last two books, Dumbledore being gay totally makes sense.

  32. vulpes82

    A performance of 4′33″ would probably send these people into fits as the silence, THE SILENCE, drove them mad, unleashing the full force of their cognitive dissonance to wreak havoc on their psyches.

  33. TheGyrus

    Illustrators have had an especially strong conservative influence in modern art. For example, British artist Beatrix Potter…

    Ha! Beatrix Potter was a goddamn Unitarian!

  34. Negropolis

    It takes a really fucked up and frivilous person to try and criticize Impressionism through an inappropriate religious/moral lense.

  35. Negropolis

    Wait, I know that Kafka wrote in German, but wasn't he a Jewish Czech born in the Austria-Hungarian empire? Seems kind of weird to refer to him as "German" without any kind of qualification. Do the German's even claim him as one of their own?

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      You know who else was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and who the Germans don't claim as one of their own?

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