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The Great Swindle

Roger Scruton asks how we ended up with so much fake culture:

Hence for a long time now, it has been assumed that there can be no authentic creation in high art which is not in some way a ‘challenge’ to public culture. Art must give offence, stepping out armed against the bourgeois taste for the conforming and the comfortable, which are simply other names for kitsch and cliché. The result of this is that offence itself becomes a cliché. If the public has become so immune to shock that only a dead shark in formaldehyde will awaken a brief spasm of outrage, then the artist must produce a dead shark in formaldehyde — this, at least, is an authentic gesture. In place of the late American art critic Harold Rosenberg’s ‘tradition of the new’, we have the ‘cliché of the transgressive’ — a repetition of the would-be unrepeatable.

I suppose if you’re going through cultural amnesia and a cultural decadence, then the only thing left to do is to fake it, but somehow I keep hoping we’ll find our way out of this dead end.  As usual with Scruton, read the whole thing, and prepare to be challenged.

Posted in Art, Culture.