Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Totalitarian" aesthetics

The thing is, the appeals of styles, forms and narratives are not universal. People are in different situations. White citizens of Empire (identifying themselves as "the West", "Western Civilisation" and "Modernity"), especially men produced by a violent patriarchal process of socialisation, can be comforted by the ubiquitous erections, the displays of power and authority of a ruling class and state they identify as more or less parental, the animating spirit of their patria. Visions of vast resources marshalled to fulfill design can seem beautiful to those who "belong" to the power manifested. Others - the victim populations, subjected to exploitation, expropriation, terror, torture and murder by the same dominant forces which the white citizens look to for security, provision and protection in exchange for collaboration - may find these same styles and forms and the concrete objects which embody them hideous, repellant and threatening. Expropriation underlies all these identifications and claims of cultural ownership/origins, and re-expropriation always remains an option, but not everyone will accept the same criteria for beauty, and those which are so evidently ideologically charged and propagandistic may be most widely rejected, loathed, and dismissed. There is no point (beyond the assertion of one's own superiority, and the reiteration of threat) in scolding those who are appalled by these forms and styles for their poor taste, their prejudices against the "universal" ideal of beauty, their insufficient appreciation for the erections of the barbaric white supremacist capitalist imperial powers; there is no point insisting they look upon themselves as white or potentially whitened after sufficient striving - potentially "westernised".

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