Thursday, April 02, 2009

Conservatives must care about art and entertainment

For at least the last 60 years conservatives have yielded too much cultural ground to the left. Though we have been sharply critical of our culture's relativism, we have been tentative about actually getting in there and reshaping it. Just as we readily concede huge swaths of the electorate to the left, we accept their determination that conservatives are, by definition, culturally impotent. We see ourselves as logical and not artistic, we stay in the comfort boxes of business and reason, stressing action over contemplation, athletic endeavor over drama and results over meaning. 'We excel at talk radio and Fox News, the left can have the culture,' is our default position.

"Default position". That's absolutely right.

I was once an aspiring poet. I never did make any inroads. There is good reason for that. I'm reasonably talented enough-- it doesn't take that much talent to get published. But if people don't like what you have to say, they won't publish you or make the effort to promote you.

I've thought about trying to change that. But I wonder: where are all the conservative poets and writers? I just don't know any near where I live.

But that's the thing. Perhaps we should encourage conservatives not just to consume the arts, but take it up.

I agree with the columnist that we shouldn't have to suffer bad art just because you agree with it. Because I wouldn't.

But art is not just about skill and message. It's also about coming together in a community. Gosh, it would be nice to get together with conservatives and invite friends and family to a poetry reading.

That's how you start. You build a network and an audience.

If there's no network or audience, conservative art and entertainment won't develop.

But for that to happen, conservatives should take it up. We tend to think of creating art in terms of creating something immortal. And that's well and good.

But in some sense, art is a way of life.

If you don't live that way of life, you can't be an artist.

Unfortunately (for our artistic pursuits), many conservatives are very much devoted to their jobs and families. That is to be expected. But if conservatives can't make time for art and creating and audience, the greater public will not make time for them.

That's the truth. We either become artists, or we remain dependent on liberals to vehicle our message.

H/T Kathy Shaidle