Fragmented

NOT A CHRISTMAS CACTUS

NOT A CHRISTMAS CACTUS, BALBOA PARK, SAN DIEGO 2014 (cell phone photo…not edited)

When I weighed myself this morning, I discovered I had lost the pound I gained while traveling in CA. This is good.  I fully expected to have gained another pound as I have been eating David’s Halloween candy. However, an Almond Joy candy bar is only 2 points and makes a nice breakfast or bedtime snack.

You can eat them anytime.  When I was in high school, I walked home after school (3 miles, no kidding) to save my bus fare money for something more interesting and fun.  To me fun was walking past the book store and buying the latest Michener and taking it to the local pharmacy where I bought a Cherry Coke and an Almond Joy candy bar, and sat at a table and read. Sometimes, I would call my Mom and ask her to come pick me up.  She almost always obliged. I’m at the drug store on Main Street, next to the railroad tracks I would tell her.  The tracks went through the center of our small town in the piedmont of the Great Smokey Mountains.

I also used the library in those days, which is how I discovered Zane Grey.  I first read the word ‘bosom’ in one of his books, Riders of the Purple Sage.  My Dad subscribed to Legion of Decency literature, so the word ‘bosom’ was not bandied about in our household. But that was then.

Today, I am reading Fractured Times by Eric Hobsbawm, a Marxist historian, and rediscovering the demise old European Bourgeois Society, which according to Hobsbawm, was the basis of “morality” during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The book, a collection of essays and talks by the Oxbridge professor, is readable in small chunks, and very interesting to any scholar of past times, especially me, who focused on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in my graduate work. However this provocative book should be read by any educated person interested in the culture of our times.

Hobsbawm makes what will be considered challenging comments in some circles, such as no good visual art produced since before WWI, no Operas of note since the 1920s, and so forth. He is very specific. For example, he asks, why are the WWI poets who protested The Great War the ones we read, when most of them did not protest the war?

As one who detests the James Joyce approach to “writing” and the Warhol approach to visual art, as well as disliking many other ‘modern artists’, and often finds deconstructed fiction irritating, I can see his point.  The other point he makes, of course is where do you go from here?  Much Modern Art appears to me as various forms of propaganda about social issues.  Most, if not all, of these issues..poverty, war, illness, etc…. have not and will not be solved in my lifetime, if ever.

Is protest propaganda all art is?  So what happens when protest art has run its course?  How deconstructed can we be? Don’t ask me.  I am merely an observer of human society.

12 thoughts on “Fragmented

  1. No, protest propaganda is certainly not all art is.
    I like the idea of art as stimulation, creativity and sometimes just plain beauty.

    Hobsbawn died recently, He lived not far from here. He too has his detractors, as do all artists, writers, etc.

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    • I knew Hobsbawm was in his eighties when he wrote Fractured Times so I am not surprised to hear he died. As a Marxist scholar and German Jew who escaped Naziism, he certainly had detractors, however, I found him great fun to read because he is so provocative. As you might imagine, one of his many books was assigned in almost every history class I took. He said it was the job of the modern historian to challenge the interpretation of past times.

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