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File: 1323bf8d99b13fd⋯.jpg (14.15 KB, 220x285, 44:57, 220px-Lustra_(private_prin….jpg)


I've been reading a lot of modernism recently and holy shit, like half of the modernist canon is fascist or otherwise very conservative (pic related is the biggest example, but also yeats, eliot (I was reading "The Waste Land" and it keeps referencing ancient writers and seemingly fetishising the "heritage" and "tradition" spooks), etc, who pound had close contact with. Im only really familiar with literature but I know many of the Italian futurists were self identified fascists too, even though their art was eventually declared as degenerate and banned lmao)

Is there a reason for this? I know there are reactionary artists in all time periods, but there is a saturation of them in the avant-garde of this period.

Is it something to do with a reaction the angst of the quickly industrialising society? (Is there any Marxist literature on said angst? I hear it talked about but have never read any of Marx's work that talks about this alienation, in regards of distance from artist to industrialising society)

Somewhat of a loaded OP, so sorry, but I'm drunk and think this is interesting. I'm not a student of this stuff or anything.


File: 717b49968c2359c⋯.pdf (178.23 KB, modernismmodernityarticlef….pdf)

There's a non-Marxist liberal scholar in England named Roger Griffin who wrote a heaping metric ton of books about fascism and modernism. This is a pretty good article that I think goes into it (politely overlook the jab at Mao): https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/1415/springtime-for-hitler

>So while the catalogue of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 2006 exhibition on modernism, “Designing a New World” singled out the Volkswagen as an outstanding specimen of modernist engineering and aesthetic principles, it still betrayed considerable uncertainty about how such an “advanced” and rationally beautiful piece of technology could emanate from a regime based on barbarity and the flight from modernity into rural idylls and fantasies of Aryan supremacy. The tendency has been to highlight the kitsch and vulgarly nostalgic aspects of Nazi art – symbolised by Hitler’s own dreary oeuvre – and separate out and deny the fascist origins of those modernist masterpieces we cherish.

>Given the crimes of the Nazis such a manoeuvre is tempting. Tempting, but historically tendentious. Fascist nationalisms like Nazism and Mussolini’s Italian Fascism were never simply about a return to the past, and their sense of culture, of art and of human destiny has far more in common with other forms of 20th-century modernism – modernism that is perpetually fêted and in vogue – than most would like to admit. As Gregory Maertz has written, “mainstream Modernism has been sealed off from ideological and aesthetic contamination by the Third Reich.”

>Is it something to do with a reaction the angst of the quickly industrialising society?

And here is where he really gets into this:

>Unlike “modernity”, the impact of new technology and social relations which has the tendency to destabilise traditional societies, “modernism” is a term usually applied to the arts that have broken with the formal conventions of the Renaissance. However, a number of historians extend its remit further. They see the tide of aesthetic innovation that flooded European society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bringing with it a tide of new “isms”, as symptomatic of a deeper impulse, namely the drive to formulate a new social order capable of redeeming humanity from the growing chaos and crisis resulting from modernity’s devastation of traditional securities.

>Seen in this way a major paradox lies at the heart of modernism: its emotional wellspring is not modern. Rather it lies in a primordial human drive to erect what sociologist Peter Berger called “a sacred canopy” to act as a shield against the terror of the void of chaos and death. Modernity, by tearing holes in that canopy, by threatening the cohesion of traditional culture and its capacity to absorb change, triggers an instinctive self-defensive reflex to repair it by reasserting “eternal” values and truths that transcend the ephemerality of individual existence. If the canopy is damaged beyond repair the conditions are created for what is known to anthropologists as a “revitalisation movement” that seeks to erect an entire new canopy, a new metaphysical sky to make the world anew.

>From this perspective modernism is a radical reaction *against* modernity. At its most programmatic and utopian, it is a bid to stem the tide of “decadence” by constructing an alternative modernity on the other side of contemporary society’s structural and moral self-destruction. It is against this background that racist variants of nationalism emerged. These sought to revitalise a decaying society by reconnecting modern citizens with their history, their culture, their ethnic roots and the soil, not in an anti-modern spirit but in order to establish a new future.



>fascism doesn’t really intend to go back to a glorious past

Pretty meh take. All conservativism post-1789 and arguably post 1649 for England recognizes that you can’t truly go back to the past and therefore aims to build an alternate future to those proposed by liberals (when they actually bother to propose one) and the Left



isn't that what he's saying? or is my reading comprehension shit



The author is saying this is a tendency of fascism whereas Corey Robin would say that it’s a tendency common to all conservativism in the modern world


File: 71fa0203d9ca51f⋯.jpg (5.63 KB, 225x225, 1:1, download (4).jpg)


>eliot (I was reading "The Waste Land" and it keeps referencing ancient writers and seemingly fetishising the "heritage" and "tradition" spooks)

quoting "tradition and the individual talent"

<the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order

I used to (before I was a Marxist) subscribe to this sort of theory of art creation - that the merit of artistic work based on how it develops the literary canon.

Now I think that judging the entire quality of work by this sort of metric is too dogmatic and fetishistic of 'tradition' in a way that's reactionary.

Plus, I think Eliot assigns himself too much authority over what and what is not canon. He tries to encompass the history of literature objectively, but in doing so, he is eating from the trashcan of ideology (muh patriarchal canon, etc).

That said, I guess you could also argue that such a view is dialectical. So idk. I'm still trying to get a grasp of this sort of stuff.

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