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/leftpol/ - Left Politics

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November 2018 - 8chan Transparency Report
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File: e45d2211aa70374⋯.jpeg (20.37 KB, 197x256, 197:256, 780CC983-BD66-418F-B013-F….jpeg)

 No.11775

In sum, what were Marx’s ideas about art? Did he deny that art could be anything but a reflection of base + superstructure? Did he prescribe an ideological role to art?

 No.11776

After posting this thread I found this passage by Marx, in a letter to a (presumably socialist) author:

“I am far from finding fault with your not having written a point-blank socialist novel, a “Tendenzroman” [social-problem novel. DM], as we Germans call it, to glorify the social and political views of the authors. This is not at all what I mean. The more the opinions of the author remain hidden, the better for the work of art.”

So perhaps socialist realism (distinguished from SOCIAL realism) would not have met with Marx’s approval. Apparently he liked Balzac, as do I.


 No.11777

Apparently this was Engels, not Marx.


 No.11779

>>11776

I agree with that in the sense that blatant pandering is often poorly executed and takes away from the work. This is why Ayn Rand is such a terrible author, because her fiction was just thinly veiled advocacy for her philosophy without much thought given to the plot.


 No.11782

>>11779

Ayn Rand was shit because her opinions were shit and her writing was shit. 1984 is pretty obvious as to what it's implying and Orwell was extremely open about his politics, but it's still extremely well held. All art is politics on some level. People just have this dumb belief that art should be made for the upper classes to ponder over and "unpack".


 No.11784

>>11782

The difference between 1984 and Rand's tripe is that there's no libsoc presence meant to be an obvious mouthpiece for the author's politics, which is the point I badly tried to make. It's an important distinction to consider, could you imagine how bad 1984 would have been if some infallible anarchists showed up and saved everyone through some dumb shit?

>People just have this dumb belief that art should be made for the upper classes to ponder over and "unpack".

Well it's hard to purge the deeply ingrained mindset of academia.


 No.11788

>>11784

Some of Vonnegut's books have obvious stand ins and I loved his stuff. I think it's really just that Rand is inherently unlikable and her politics are garbage and her writing is horrific. What you're saying would have been horrible, but I think Orwell was so beaten down that he never would have written himself in a happy ending or a hackneyed one. Self-awareness goes a long way, which I doubt Rand had much of.


 No.11793

>>11784

The fundamental difference between 1984 and Rand's novels is that Orwell was criticizing opposed politics while Rand was promoting her own. You could, in theory, promote your own ideology in a well-written work. The problem is that a character who is designated as correct is fucking boring. Someone who's always right and is dominant in the story is a mary sue. Someone who's always right but gets shit on comes across as whiny poor me garbage. If you want to promote your ideology through its inclusion in art, whoever you use as the vessel needs to be flawed. There's a few ways to do that off the top of my head.

>acknowledge the flaws of the ideology in the text or subtext

>have the character change over time so that they arrive at the conclusions you want to promote, i.e. make it the moral of the story

>give the character flaws independent of the ideology, especially if the flaws interact with the ideology, e.g. some identitarian bias conflicting with a principle

>make use of ambiguity, and present alternative interpretations with as little distortion as possible

Really it's about not fetishizing ideology, instead presenting it honestly for consideration by the audience.

>>11788

Vonnegut, unlike Rand, wrote believably human characters, not automatons who monologue for half a book.


 No.11795

>>11776

>So perhaps socialist realism (distinguished from SOCIAL realism) would not have met with Marx’s approval. Apparently he liked Balzac, as do I.

What's Balzac's works like in social terms? I know he wrote the human comedy but what does it tell?


 No.11801

File: 1814b9430b61d02⋯.jpg (193.16 KB, 1920x1080, 16:9, mpv-shot0025.jpg)

Marx wasn't that determinist brainlet that most of his followers try to sell him as. He talks about art in Grundrisse chapter 1. section 4., hopefully that helps you better understand him.


 No.11807

>>11782

Novels were associated with a literate middle class, but in any case your assertion that ‘all art is political’ (with the weasel qualifier ‘on some level’) is bullshit. There is a universal human condition that great literature deepens our understanding of, and I would argue a universal human need to experience catharsis and transcendence, be it through art or religion (which share a common lineage). I tremble at the notion that such a need could be obliterated by proper application of political science, which some of the more reductive marxists seem to believe.


 No.11808

>>11801

“According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. Other than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase. The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure — political forms of the class struggle and its results, to wit: constitutions established by the victorious class after a successful battle, etc., juridical forms, and even the reflexes of all these actual struggles in the brains of the participants, political, juristic, philosophical theories, religious views and their further development into systems of dogmas — also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form.”


 No.11809

>>11795

Balzac was a pessimist, and while this pessimism nudged him in the direction of reaction, it also immunized him against romantic idealism, even idealism of the endangered aristocracy which he allied himself with. This is why Engels appreciates him. To him, viewed at a distance, humanity is tragicomic and his work reflects this, showing the many contradictions and delusions that doom human affairs in an intimate and realistic way. Flaubert is similar, as is Chekhov and Flannery O’Connor. Contra the poster above I don’t think there are politics much to speak of in any of these authors works.


 No.11810

>>11779

Most dystopias are just reified projections of the authors ideological enemies. I can’t think of a single decent dystopian novel. Handmaidens tale is almost as egregious as atlas shrugged, even though I don’t have a problem with feminism like I do with objectivism.


 No.11812

>>11810

Brave new world wasn't, it was a critique of positivist ideology but huxley didn't think positivism was bad per se but that alone it wouldn't have freed humanity


 No.11815

>>11812

Brave New World is more subtle, but it is hard to identify anyone today who would advocate for anything like the dystopia depicted in that work, except perhaps deranged technocrats or some transhumanists (maybe nick land?)…ultimately it wasn’t even a criticism of positivism, as you mentioned, since huxley write a utopian novel in which he portrays a more enlightened version of brave new world.

I like canticle for liebowitz and hard to be a god as far as dystopian fiction goes, but those works succeed almost entirely on their own merits, not as critiques.


 No.11817

>>11782

1984 isn't really saying much though. It's not a treatise on why Stalinism is bad, it's just a story set in that kind of world from the perspective of someone who doesn't like it. It's political relevance is entirely people taking its elements and applying to the real world. If you knew nothing about politics of any kind, 1984 wouldn't change much.


 No.11820

>>11801

Introduction, section 2. page 33. 3¶

Introduction, section 4. page 50. 4¶, 5¶. and page 51 in its entirety.

Reminds me a bit of Alfred Gell's writing in Art and Agency, which I will recommend to the OP.


 No.11823

>>11815

Honestly, the thing that makes me most unconfortable is that there are people today that say they WOULD live in brave new world, imho it's something like when zizek talks about how we are re normalizing torture, even if these people are a minority the very fact that the discussion takes place is a red light on how far we have gone. Also one thing that riles me up is that these people always think of themselves as being the "A plus" of the book, it's like they take the selfish late capitalism meme so far they can't even understand the basic premise of the book


 No.11864

>>11775

i mean i totally get if you were just curious

but im gonna write this as if you were serious about it

marx was a fuckin economic genius

his problem was that he was not so much a politician

and most certainly he was no art critic

i believe marx himself would be opposed to the way some people worship him

its counter to his own ideas for his own opinions to outweigh the voice of the people

my point is that even if marx was alive ant personally told you his opinion of art

that that shouldnt be an opinion that you should believe to the point that you close your mind to new ideas

again if you were just curious you can ignore this

but remember a cult of personality is what let stalin turn the ussr into a defacto fascist state


 No.11871

>>11864

Awful, awful post. Also, read Marx.


 No.11886

>>11864

Are the period and shift keys on your keyboard broken?


 No.11904

File: d2a83f0c55298ed⋯.jpg (32.88 KB, 307x391, 307:391, 1329656822412.jpg)

>>11809

I see

I have to admit the sense of tragedy in a work of fiction helps to break the spectacle.

Now I have something to think about.

I saw *I was a fugitive from a chain gang* (1932) recently and its a tragedy about social injustices and if it had a happy ending it won't have the same impact and so it won't challenge the spectacle.


 No.11914

>>11775

Damn, what the hell happened to Emma Goldman?


 No.11925

>>11815

I’m not so sure that Huxley was criticizing any particular ideology, since I think the society in Brave New World is supposed to be a little mobe ambiguous. Mainly in the sense that it’s not uniformly bad, I mean people lack agency sure, but it doesn’t matter since everybody is happy, nobody feels trapped because they are engineered to fit perfectly into that society. The savage society is superior in that people have free will, but they also live in total squalor and mostly in misery.

I think it’s more an examination of the idea of utopia in general, and the contradictions between our desires for freedom and our desires for stability, happiness, and social cohesion. It’s more psychological than political imo.


 No.11943

>>11925

>everybody is happy

But this is not true, it is said very clearly that they take drugs because life fucking sucks. When they reduce work hours for gammas they feel like shit all day and just buy more drugs


 No.12183

Bump


 No.12208

File: ff8c30a02b0513e⋯.jpg (320.94 KB, 1200x1375, 48:55, gwfh.jpg)

You know who had a good theory of aesthetics?


 No.12314

>>11943

That’s not what happens at all. They literally sit around all day thinking about how happy they are that they were born an Alpha, Delta, etc. The Soma is just a contingency that they have in case they actually experience misery for whatever reason.


 No.12318

>>12314

>The Soma is just a contingency that they have in case they actually experience misery for whatever reason.

It is said in the book that they will never reduce work hours for inferior ones because they would do soma anyway, that they TRIED and that was what happened. And what is the moment where the inferiors fear the most? When the main characters almost take away their soma. Do you see what this means? The fact that they have to rely on the drug shows that it is indeed a shitty society for the majority of population. The last part where they all discuss and mustafa mond tries to frame it into "this is what you get for utopia dude!" Is exactly the ideology of the book society: it FRAMES it into this type of question, but the life for them it is indeed shitty, it just reproduces the old system disparity on steroids while selling stuff that eases pain and humiliation and tells it's happiness. The "savages" are obviously not living flower and roses but they are comfronting themselves with the reality of life and can be happy, while the people of brave new world are not allowed to be happy, the meaning is exactly that they are in a state of constant misery that makes them chase fake happiness that they repeat to themselves it is true happiness because the state apparatus told them so. This is the meaning behind the intelligent guy (I don't remember the name) breaking through the ideology, it is not that he somewhat percieves this "problem of beauty vs happiness etc etc" bullshit, he clearly realizes the horror and emptiness behind the state, this is why his poetry even before is dangerous, because it shows that the emperor is naked. At least, most on the episodes of the main character in the factory of inferiors and the explanation of why they never reduce work hours this is how I read the book, and I think that the fact that people usually frame it in the states book discourse ("we should consider that an utopia can have this dangerous side but it gives us happiness" etc etc bullshit) really shows how far down the technocratic-pseudospiritual-edonistic-autoritarian-populistic rabbit hole we have gone




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