A Lamentation of Art: An Old Romantic’s Longing for Depth

As I say elsewhere on this website, I’m an old-timey romantic. I dearly miss the old anthems and as a youth who drinks the pop culture, as I must, I miss the haunting spirituality, ethereal eternalism, and stalking timelessness of the fables and folktales of the older genres. The dubstep, mainstream hip-hop, and electronic pop of today with the topics being whatever hedonisms lend themselves to the most widespread and intense masturbation of the public lack much of any deep messaging and possess little truth. If not truth, they should, at least, be poetic. Yet, they forego poetry for the psychological realism that art is not supposed to be. Pop culture used to produce items that a literature analyst could spend days analyzing. Everything from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”  were all hits in their day and all brim with subtext and metaphor.

                As a poet, songwriter, and novelist, myself, I try to eschew psychological realism as much as I can in favor of surrealism and romanticism and gothic realism. Gothic realism has archetypes, stereotypes, themes, and settings that feel surreal, uncanny, and are poetic thus being like romanticism except romanticism is romantically grand whereas gothic realism lacks the trumpeting emotions, opulence, or classical epic qualities. As a romantic, too, I have those things in my work, as well. Art is not just meant to be comfort food but food for the soul. It is why I hate and loathe the Avant-Garde (as a class, not individuals), foaming with postmodernist literal sadists like Marco Evaristti, Patrick Süskind, and Michael Foucault. Postmodernist art (not to be confused with postmodern art which is an aesthetic movement) is, like Dada before it, meant to feel edgy by being nihilistic thus satisfying their psychological urge of reactance devoid of any true defiance or rebellion.

                Alas, as I alluded to in earlier articles, the idea that darkness equates to depth and that cynicism signifies higher intelligence is a cognitive negativity bias and objectively untrue. It isn’t long before death gets boring. Samsara and purgatory are much more fun because, despite their suffering, they are intensely meaningful, full of life, and ultimately redemptive. Which is what art is supposed to be. If not intensely meaningful, then, at least, uplifting and aesthetically tasteful. Yet, for all of the gains made on social issues and record-breaking support for democratic socialism and opposition to capital punishment, we have regressed on the issues of art. While attempts have been made at making non-hedonistic and somewhat deep artistic works, I was impressed with 1917, the bulk of mainstream art remains nutritionally anemic and the intellectual analogy to Cheetos.

                Attempts at depth are difficult since people don’t analyze the literature or media they consume. I write with much subtext but I drop hints more obvious than I would naturally since I am aware that if I don’t spell out some of the inner-meaning of my work, the audience will never know it’s there. It is difficult to write poetry to people who don’t understand metaphor or don’t try to. Not only does such a state detract from artistic quality, it makes the medium of art less useful in its foremost moral charge, to send the conscious, subconscious, and emotional psychological messages into the minds and souls of people to improve their characters, their dispositions, and their quality of life. One of the main purposes of metaphor in art is to communicate a higher volume of information in a lesser volume of space and resources. It is a way of budgeting one’s message. Thus, the reduction in the ability to use metaphor lowers the bandwidth of communication for artists.

                It results in people seeing the world as without meaning. As people are conditioned by their art, if they are not taught inner-meaning in art then they will be effectively postmodernist in many ways in their approach to the world and life since postmodernism is the position that value does not inherently exist and their morals will the Rawlsian minimalism that they are. That does not good people make. For the betterment of culture, art, and the characters of the souls who eat them a concerted effort need be made to revive the more poetic and deeper forms of art and bring them back into the mainstream. The world is a deeper and fuller place and people are better the deeper our aesthetic movements and items are. I hope this can happen while I am young enough to claim it is my generation.

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