Monday, July 16, 2012

We value authenticity (consistency, integrity, etc) in politics.

And abhor those without core.

But in intellectual / theoretical / critical circles, flexibility is generally a positive term;  open-mindedness and adaptability are deemed virtues and advantages.

And in pop music, all right-thinking people regard authenticity as an irrelevant concept and an obsolete criterion for judgement...  a quaint throwback thing to concern yourself with.

In pop, reinventing yourself is considered not just clever and artistic, but the essence of what pop is about.

Pop is the art of the "true lie". Even apparent real-ness is a pose and an act, to be judged according to how convincingly it's executed rather than whether it correlates with the artist's lived reality.

So how come there's this discrepancy, this fissure, between what's valued in politics and what's valued in culture?

I guess you could say that art/culture/pop is altogether less consequential; it doesn't matter if an artist or performer is pretending to be something they're not....

Still, it's quite a gulf...  I wonder how it came about.
(It's true that politics, or in political commentary at least, there's been a lot of pomo-tinged, Rorty-esque talk in recent years of "optics" and "narratives"...  even Obama talked openly last week about his having failed to "tell a story" to the American people about what's been going down these last three-four years... but generally that kind of thing is about the successful or not-so-successful presentation of what's essential and actual, as opposed to outright fiction...  overall, in the public political domain, people still tend to talk in the language of Truth and Right).