The art we neither deserve nor need
Letter to the Editor | Monday, February 22, 2016
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter recently started a firestorm with her Super Bowl halftime performance. I mean my head is burning with anger. Good God, Bey! What are you thinking bringing politics and activism into the public domain? Don’t you know the role of the artist is to portray universal themes? As Albert Camus emphasized during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, artists must separate themselves from the community, live on a different level from everyone else and never take sides. Art rarely takes on serious issues experienced by societies. The Beyoncé critics are right: society does not need artists who actually portray the world in which we live.
Quite frankly, history supports this view. Many of the best-selling and most-respected literally pieces that make up the western anthology are neutral and simplistic. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” was a fun bedtime story about being tied up to a cave and had nothing to do with the philosopher’s search for knowledge. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” is historically misunderstood. It was really a lesson in fashion. Have you seen the outfits of that time? They needed it. Furthermore, I assume everyone knows that “The Great Gatsby” was a narrative of the partying culture of post-World War One America in which everyone partook.
This is the way we, as a society, like it. There should be no difference or creativity portrayed in art. That’s not the point of art, is it? Some people speak of “allegories” and such, but we all know that is simply liberal propaganda.
We don’t want works of art that divide us. Consider Uncle Tom’s Cabin, if you can call that literature! That was nothing short of an attempt to throw an otherwise civilized, united, and happy society into chaos. Indeed all it took was eight years after its publication for the nation to be ablaze.
Don’t we prefer the time when artists stayed out of public life? Let’s go back to that time! Or perhaps have them refrain from taking opinions and sides. I, for one, would have preferred a Super Bowl halftime in which Beyoncé sang the news to the country. Maybe I’m alone in that wish.
How about that performance by Kendrick Lamar at the Grammy’s? Deplorable and inartistic to say the least. Don’t you agree?
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.