639. Development (XVII)
Crime against nature and New Yorker journalist, Jeet Heer, wonders why the great writers all end up “far-right”. The answer is simple: reality is right-wing, art is the mirror of reality; the more refined your mirror, the better your art, the more right-wing you are. Who objected to the idea that “art is the mirror of reality”? Lenin. Case closed.
If you set out to create “right-wing art” you will create left-wing art. Why? Because to go to reality with a prior constraint, even a right-wing constraint, such as “hierarchy is natural”, will tarnish your mirror and conceal reality—it is the left that conceals reality. You will produce didactic morality tales, just like those little homilies that were tagged on to GI Joe cartoons in the 1980s: “Knowing is half the battle.” Aw shucks. The left dominates Hollywood because Hollywood creates entertainment, not art—entertainment represents an escape from reality; it is only beautiful by accident—and it is also, even when it advocates perversity, moral.
So if you go to reality with a constraint, a constraint about hierarchy’s virtues, you will conceal the reality that some relationships are non-hierarchical. If you want to depict the Israel-Palestine conflict, you cannot have “all Jews are demons” and “all Palestinians are noble freedom fighters” or vice versa. The melodramatic lie is to take Samir and Solomon, playground friends separated by conflict, and depict their devotion to each other throughout Operation Iron Shield III. The relationship might be real, the lie comes when the voiceover says: “Their friendship, maintained down the years despite bitter conflict, provides a beacon of hope for a beleaguered Middle East.” Yet the conflict between Palestinians and Jews is intractable; it will never take on the characteristics of an individual friendship, no matter how touching.
Reality: a friend went to a multi-faith “conflict dialogue group” at some European social forum, a vogue in the 2000s. The event featured mostly Jews and Palestinians, with a few Irish scattered about. Everyone had to do a cringe-inducing corporate workshop-style introduction that expressed their inherent character through mime. So if you felt you were a dolphin inside you could move your hand up and down like a dolphin as it jumps through the waves. They even had a “facilitator”, not a “chair”—a chair would be too harsh. When it came to his turn, a Palestinian kid jumped up and did the Roman salute. “Oh, you mean like if you were waving to a friend over the street?” said the facilitator, hopefully. “No. Like Hitler,” the boy replied.
Inter-faith dialogue. The left can never capture reality because it must lie about it—not just about its inegalitarian nature but about its peculiarity and irrationality. Lionel Trilling observed that the left can never deal with the imagination because the imagination contains desires that are inegalitarian, violent, racial—say if I imagine a machine with thin aerial-like arms and crocodile clips on the end that twists a woman’s nipples until she is in constant orgasm, until she dies from it. “Don’t go there,” says the left—hence the left only has moralism, posters to extol Ukrainian wheat production.
I worked with a girl who went off to be married. Then we received an email, “barely coherent”, because her father hanged himself the day before the wedding. Kingsley Amis noted that the left fails to see “…how many of the evils of life—failure, loneliness, fear, boredom, failure to communicate—are ineradicable by political means, and that attempts so to eradicate them are disastrous.” You could put a feminist complexion on that event, but the left never does—they find something trivial to be hysterical about, because they cannot face reality. What was this situation? Greek. Only the Greeks, untouched by Christian sentimentalism, as tainted Shakespeare, could do it justice: “Gods often contradict our fondest expectations. What we anticipate does not come to pass. What we don't expect some god finds a way to make it happen. So with this story.”