Authoritarian parents who monster their kids and so keep them in a state of infancy try to nullify any threat to their power and control. The arts are a threat! Like Stalin and many other dictators, they try to make all artistic effort conform to their own tunnel vision of control. Their house-holds are mini nations where their children are kept ignorant of thought producing material that might somehow challenge the iron-fist clasp over their children’s psyche. These people seek to reduce all artistic effort to harmless and meaningless entertainment. This makes for an uncomfortable legacy of the NAZI art attitudes and values.

CENSORSHIP TO PREVENT CHALLENGE

They censor all information that might challenge their children’s acceptance of their world view. They build their own Disney-like edifice that presents the world as a kind of static cartoon universe of sentimental simplistic good over-coming simplistic evil; a little-mermaid world where all is under-the-sea and everything will simply turn out right. It is a world where we celebrate the sacrifice of the wars’ soldier victims without any consideration of the heinous political acts which set them up as targets for mass murder and mutilation; political acts which used their mass murder as a means for identity and further political consolidation of cultural iconography. And so we have a view that theatre, which questions the conservative platform for indoctrination of students, is somehow giving negative messages. Rather, in such a viewpoint, theatre is seen as ideal when offering a true path extolling positive and affirming messages that we should be delivering our students. What utter tripe!

DARK PRECEDENTS IN MUSEUMS AND THE CHURCH

There are of course precedents to the kind of mentality seen in this “true path with positive messages” ideology. There was a period in history where museums were set up to prove the degenerate nature of art that didn’t conform. Note: http://web.nli.org.il/…/World-War…/Pages/Degenerate-art.aspx

Not many people see this legacy of NAZI art still existing today. It permeates fundamental attitudes in education and society. It is the idea that darker, alternative and more disturbing artistic expression is dangerous.

We also note the Church’s dealing with alternative views over history. Note:
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/sep/06-burned-at-the-stake-for-believing-in-science

SOCIETY’S ALL-LICENSED FOOL

Alternative, different, sometimes dark and often provocative art and expression has found itself at odds with the dominant passifying viewpoints and power enforcers of any era. Yet it is just such art and expression that justifies its existence. Art does not only need to affirm the dominant world view and religious hegemony of a set time period. It doesn’t have to affirm the sponsors and the corporate masters that financially support it. Neither does it have to affirm the particular ideology that it is in tune with. Art is also a devil’s advocate. And surprising as it might be for many in theatre, THEATRE IS ALSO AN ART. It is also society’s and culture’s “all licensed fool” with a licence to provoke thought while entertaining and making us laugh and cry.

Some thinking about its artistic responsibilities might draw it into a more acidic ocean to challenge the NAZI narcissism that still permeates so much of what passes as theatre arts.

… and so this is Christmas … and what have we done … another year over … a new one just begun … (JL)

Happy Christmas and think about our art … our responsibility … our work … our joy …