Monday, September 24, 2012

The Gruesome & Accurate Art of War

Then there's this gem I found on the internet. This seems to me like a perfect example of the power of pop-art that's carries much more cultural, historical and political significance than what Americans are accustomed to (Dancing with the Stars, Katie Perry's music, Russell Brand's latest blow job, etc.).

I could compare South Park to this thing, but that's satire. This Barefoot Gen cartoon is thoroughly based in comic-book realism and the reality (the tragedy) of war. South Park is a cartoon that rejects realism as superfluous to its comedic purpose, but one that also addresses serious ideas or dilemmas regarding human existence. It's also the best thing on television since 1997.

Yet I cringe at the idea of making art to make a point (especially a politically one). Such cringing compels me always to ask myself: What's the difference between art and propaganda?

It's a much more difficult question to answer when art is no longer made for its own sake. But then, what is Oscar Wilde's wonderful dictum mean in the first place? Do human beings create art from an inner-compulsion to reproduce nature and affirm life? To say "yes" to the universe? To capture beauty? Can one say "yes" to existence through creative, original means (thus, make art) while acknowledging ugliness? Painting or singing ugliness? Even if its inner (abstract) ugliness?

That seems plausible to me. Horror movies come to mind here (which is exactly what this youtube video is). As do James Joyce and Punk Rock music.

Another question: if political things (wars, laws, rulers & the ruled, useless institutions in need of vanquishing, oppression, criminality, carnivals, dance parties, strippers, decadence, resistance, rebellion, etc.) are ubiquitous, is it even possible to create art (whether literary or visual or auditory) that's void of at least some political meaning?  (Of course it is, as there are countless examples and infinite possibilities of apolitical art).

Okay. But is it really saying anything important? Like this cartoon, which draws a very disturbing sequence of pics showing what the US government did to millions of innocent Japanese people?

(No, dummy. Some art exists for its own sake! That's the point! That's its own affirmation. It doesn't need to be justified with any other message.)

Ah, fuck it. Just take the 9 minutes to watch the god-damn movie.

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