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BACK-TALK

December 20, 2007

Kitsch

Rob Riemen defines Kitsch as “Beauty deprived of Truth.”
And contests that Kitsch will be/is the downfall of Western society.
And says scary things about the preponderance of Kitsch in totalitarianism.

[The Nexus Institute: KITSCH AND THE CRISIS OF THE WEST (pdf!) Also, Word for Word: The Good Society (audio recording.)]

Now there may well be some quibbles depending upon how you define Truth, and whether you think Beauty is even possible without adherence to certain philosophical Truths in the area of aesthetics (which your humble narrator isn’t at all qualified to discuss.)

Mr. Reiman seems to prescribe more support for the arts and more emphasis on creativity and the arts in education. An argument I can wholeheartedly embrace, (despite the disclosure I must make: that Mrs. Montag is an Art teacher.) It is an argument made quite eloquently and entertainingly by this guy (video.)

QUESTION: What is Kitsch, and how destructive is it?

Take this Blog. Because “everything that you read here is always the truth,” the very worst one might rightfully accuse us of is the peddling of ‘Truth deprived of Beauty.’ Kitsch?

And what about Gil Thorp? Can I avoid helping to bring about the destruction of Western liberal democracy if I continue to take (admittedly perverse) guilty pleasure from following this comic strip, deprived of both Beauty AND Truth?

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