A Mission Statement

All art is political. To make art is to remake the world, either as you envision the world to be, as you wish it to be, or as you wish it not to be — so making art is always a political act. The artist’s political statement may not be intentional or even conscious, but nonetheless, by making art, he or she is initiating a political conversation. And by interacting with and interpreting the art, the viewer is adding to the political conversation. That’s why the discourse over culture — between artist and viewer, between artist and critic and viewer, or among artists or critics or viewers — is so important to me.

How we talk to each other about culture — which ususally means, how we talk to each other about popular culture — is how we talk to each other about the world we live in, or the world we would like to live in. At this time of hyperpartisanship, we have few other ways of talking about such matters in a way that gives us all common ground. We can barely speak to each other directly about issues of criminal justice or torture or authoritarianism, but we can all talk about The Dark Knight, thereby addressing these issues without throttling each other. 

This blog will explore the intersection of politics and popular culture. This crossroads has always fascinated me, but it also seems to be of interest to many at a moment when conservatives gripe about positive portrayal of Barack Obama in a Spider-Man comic book,  or when Tina Fey’s lampooning of Sarah Palin may have helped decide the election. I’ll be writing about what our popular culture is really saying about us (however unwittingly), how partisans read (or misread) the culture and try to use it to their own ends, and how, in this age of niche politics and niche pop culture, we may yet find a measure of unity through the movies, TV shows, music, and books that speak to us of the world that is and the world that could be.



Filed under 2008 Election, Books, Comics, Movies, Saturday Night Live, TV

4 responses to “A Mission Statement

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
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  2. thomas

    I just read your piece posted on AOL’s home page about critics of Glenn Beck crossing the line? That is the among the most insane analyses of the Beck phenomenon I have ever read. While I am not a clinician, I do have a degree in Psychology. Beck appears to be an untreated Bipolar person who has serious issues with reality. I have seen outtakes from his show where he actually was punching a large screen TV with the president’s picture showing. He punched it and hit it several times. His behavior is erratic. He has lost sponsors because of his bizarre antics. Do you anything about his history on Shcok Jock Morning Zoo Radio when he was an ctive alcoholic and coke addict for years. He is a self-admitted pot smoker who himself stated he was high every day for fifteen years. I am astonished that a serious person would state that critics of Beck are crossing the line? Unbelievable.

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